I’ve entered 9 races this year. And I’ve paid a little over $425 entry fees. That is a little under $50 per race average. It seems to me that the entry fees for racing has escalated out of control.
The silliest entry fee is that of our National Championships. Bobby Lee told me what it was to enter Track Nationals, each event, and it was stupidly expensive, something like $75 a race. Back when I started, when I was a junior, we got paid a travel stipend to come race the Nationals if we were ranked in the top 10 of the country. No entry at all. And the stipend was pretty good, a couple hundred dollars. The entry later was something really small.
I’m not sure when the sport became bingo and the races are funded by the entries of the participates? It used to be funded by the sponsors and the local communities that wanted the event in their area. It amazes me when I only pay $36 for a race and I think that is a good deal.
I probably average around 80 race days a year now. So that would be close to $4000 in entries. That isn’t counting the $1000+ entry fee that many stage races are charging now for each team.
Everyone tells me that all these other sports, triathlons, running, ski races, etc. have much higher entries. But the difference here is the number of races that a bike racers attends. As a sport, we should want our riders to participate in as many events as he/or she can manage. That is one of the main ways for an athlete to excel and learn the sport. When each and every local event costs at least $25 to race at a minimum, that is over $50 for the weekend. That is too much for a college student, bike shop employee, etc. to be paying to learn how to race bikes. And that is what local events are mainly for, learning how to race bicycles.
I don’t really see a way to reverse this trend of escalating entries. It is the norm now. When something gets established, I’ve noticed it is nearly impossible to put it back on a correct course. I hate being so pessimistic here, but it is what it is.
Below is what the 2011 Junior Track Nationals Entry was. I don’t know how many events each rider competes in, but this isn’t something that we should allow. This isn’t a good way to develop the sport and encourage young riders to compete.
2011 Junior Track Nationals Entry Schedule
Entry Fees and Registration Timeline
May 10 — Registration opens. Cost per event: $60 for ages 10-14; $75 for ages 15-16; $45 for ages 17-18; $120 for the omnium
June 16 — Entry fees increase to $75 for ages 10-14; $90 for ages 15-16; $60 for ages 17-18; $150 for the omnium
June 30 — Online registration closes at 11:59 p.m. EDT
On-site registration will be available for $90 for ages 10-14; $105 for ages 15-16; $75 for ages 17-18; $175 for the omnium.