Friday, February 27, 2009

Peace Offering?

No, it's not what you think.

If you race in the Mid-Atlantic, you're probably familiar with racing in both Maryland, Northern Virginia and lower/central Pennsylvania (Lancaster/Philly area). If you've ever looked closely, you notice a major difference in the promotion of races in MD/NoVA versus central PA. In MABRAland races are put on by the clubs in the region not only for the sake of the sport, but to fulfill an obligation as a registered USCF cycling team, there is also the added fundraising component to putting on an event. Most teams do not actually make money on events, at least not a lot. Sometime we even lose money but it doesn't matter, that's not what's important. A lot of clubs in this area are dedicated to putting on great events like Poolesville, Giro di Coppi and our own Walkersville RR to name a few. Road race are expensive ventures, besides the basics like refs you also pay for a place to stage it, typically a school and police and EMT support. If you're lucky, they promoting club will have some form of wheel support, typically a volunteer driving his or her own car behing each race and then being reimbursed for gas. Let tell you, don't let your event run late because police overtime gets expensive.

In central PA however, the races are typically run by race promoters and not so much by clubs and is run as a business with intent to make money. The course a rather sub-par comparably and neutral wheel support, forget about it. I feel like I'm being treated as a comodity when I go there to race. If you've followed the race scene in PA long enough you've come to know two promoters, Rich Ruoff and David Butterworth of Red Rose Racing and Pro Am Cycling respectively. Over the years races have traded hands and sometimes a working business relationship but last year that finally came to a tumultuous end resulting in more than half of the usual race being canceled. In the end each had their own reasoning for the demise but as far as I can tell, the racing community has directed their angst at David, calling for a boycott of the races he did resurrect late in the season. All I can say to that is he scheduled a race the same day a Rich and his was canceled due to lack of registration. Well, I can tell you why I didn't register for any of his races, he didn't post a confirmed rider list, period. Why am I going to shell out $40 and not even know if there's anyone to race against then have to scramble to get to another race and hope I can get in?

So for 2009 both Rich and David are back promoting races (independently I should add) and looking to take advantage of me some more. My problem with both of these guys is they've raised their entry fees but I see no real "upgrade" to what they're giving me for my money, especially compared to a MABRA event. At least Rich isn't following suite and dropping his 3/4 and 35+ fields.

I guess in an effort to regain some support, David has sent out coupons to prior Pro-Am Cycling event participants labeled as "Travel Vouchers" offering you $10 off of your entry fee, good for the entire season. Well, considering he increased his entry fees I don't really see how he's helping me get to like him again.

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