I’ve lost track on how much Stuff costs

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I really have. And it is starting to disturb me. I used to pride myself on knowing the prices and/or value of things. But now, the pot of money that people have is so giant, some stuff is just off the charts.

Part of the reason I live in Kansas, most of the time, is that real estate here is a fraction of the cost of most places I go. I was screwing around with Zillow.com. It a real estate website that covers the whole county. I’ve been kind of looking around for a building lot somewhere “super expensive”. Santa Barbara type expensive. There are some lots there, up on the hill, for around 300K. You can buy a unbelievably nice house in most places around here for way less than that. But, it seemed pretty cheap to me. But, there also was a house there listed for 61 million. Without that much land. 10 years ago, the most expensive house in the country was in Laguna Beach and it cost 25 million. I’m sure there were more expensive private listings, but that was advertised as the highest listed. Now, 25 million isn’t that much. I guess is just that much more money around nowadays. But, it blows me away.

I still have a long list of stuff that went wrong at Cyclo-X Nationals from my perspective. I know that Wayne Stetina and Steve Johnson are eagerly awaiting it. I think the entry fee rant I did kind of hit a sore spot. But entry fees seem nuts. $65 to race for no prize money. $105 if your late. It’s not like we’re only racing one or two races a year. Or a month. A lot of us race more that 8 times a month. Sometimes much more. Cycling is a blue collar sport. It’s not golf. It’s not polo. Let’s try to keep it that way and keep the costs to the participates down to a reasonable level.

Anyway, I finally got out and “shopped” yesterday. That is a couple days earlier than my normal Christmas shopping. I ended up buying only one thing, for me. But, I had no idea what seemed reasonable for most anything I looked at. We’ve been convinced that we need to spend $2000 on a TV, so when I see a really nice one for $800, it seemed like a deal. The same thing goes for cycling equipment. There are a ton of $8000 bikes out there. But, you can get a pretty raceable bicycle for less than $2000. And much less than that if you’re willing to buy something used. If I was racing on a budget, that is the only way I’d buy a bike. But, that’s just me.

Gas is getting expensive again. Oil is over $90 a barrel and going up. I own some oil stocks that kind ofstraddles the oil play. They go up when the gas prices are high and go down when it get cheaper. Kind of reassuring on your mind.

We’re driving to Chicago in a couple hours. I like the drive. I usually do all my Christmas shopping in a few hour spurt up there. I like the people watching. Lots of diversity in Chicago. Everyone seems in such a rush. It takes the pain out of the shopping watching everyone else stress. That is sort of strange.

I’m not sure where I was going with this. I guess I was trying to figure out, in my own mind, how to get a handle on this time of the year. A huge percentage of American’s spending will have occurred this past month. It was pretty enjoyable racing bikes and not thinking about it until now.

I had no idea that you could buy a mattress for 4K at Sears.

We got these pears from Kent and Katie Eriksen. They are from Harry and David. Thanks guys. They probably cost around $6 each. But, they are well worth it. Doesn't it seem like they should have been going the other way?

This is what I bought yesterday. If you're looking for a Christmas present for any cyclist, this would probably do it. It's $39 at Sears, but you still need to get the19.2V battery and charger.

This is the price check for 15th place at a UCI race. I'm not slamming JingleCross here. I'm slamming the UCI for making the mandatory prizelist so low it doesn't even cover entry fee for most of the places.

11 thoughts on “I’ve lost track on how much Stuff costs

  1. Cross Dude


    The reason the entry fee is so high, is that someone has to pay for Steve Johnson’s six figure salary, and it might as well be the riders!

    Some simple math says that a 100 rider field at $65 a pop is $ 6500 to our dear friends at USUC! Plus everyone in that group paid for a license for the year at another $65. That’s $13K sitting on the line, and there’s not one dime returned to the winners, top 5 , top 10 etc.
    It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs of cycling in the US!

    Wait, I did get a 10% coupon for my bike I had to ship at $175 bucks….thanks USUC!

  2. Rodney

    Hey Steve,

    I totally agree about the cost of entry for all national championship events. $65.00 per race for early entry is insane, its why most my friends and I have stopped going to nationals.

    But who knows, maybe the medals are real gold, silver, and bronze. NOT!

  3. dirtyworks

    Complaining does no one any good.

    Most of your money is being blown on Weisel’s search for the next Armstrong. The search is funded by USAC members and the potential profit goes to Weisel, not USAC. See Tailwind Sports.

    The USAC membership doesn’t seem to care. In return, USAC neglects the grass roots part of the sport. That’s a win-win for USAC!

    There are alternative federations out there. Colorado and Oregon bike racing is almost exclusively void of USAC licensees and yet competitive cycling is thriving in those States. Do you see the relationship there?

    Go to fiac.us to get a list of the independent american federations. Stop paying USAC and spend your money at independent federation races.

  4. Jim

    On a lighter note, I bought the inflator a couple of days ago and it is great. Takes tires to 110 psi with no problem and a digital read-out to boot.

  5. JC

    i know other sports have a high entry fee for their events, ironmans are pretty pricy i hear, i do a half a dozen ski races a year, most are above $60. it doesnt bother me so much because most races support high school nordic teams, and or some other charity, trail systems etc…. the Birkie is $100, somthing like 10,000 entrants, im not sure exactly what they do with that million, i think all those are great experiences, but im not doing 8 amonth for the spring, summer and fall either. i guess they all will keep doing it as long as they get their # entrants, if they need more folks then they might drop the price. i suppose its capitalism. ranting probably wont do much.

  6. H Luce

    Probably a fair amount of money goes for insurance for the promoters, you sign a disclaimer but if you die during the race or get maimed, it’s either a multimillion dollar wrongful death lawsuit or lots of $$$$ for continuing medical care… It’s a real risk to put on a bike race, especially a cyclocross race where people can get badly hurt and easily.

  7. Neil Kopitsky

    I bought an inflator, too. Pretty sweet. I think you have to over shoot the pre-set a percentage to get the desired pressure (according to the gauge, at least.) But it’s a great tool/toy. Steve, you should be getting commissions.

  8. DR

    @dirtyworks, your suggestion to join an alternate organization is great if you live in CO or OR, and only race there, but if you need to travel to various states, then a national license valid in many/all states is essential. USAC needs to at least try to keep racing fees in check somehow, but they don’t seem inclined to at all. Steve, bike racing might have been a “blue collar” sport once-upon-a-time, but, sadly, it’s too expensive to be called that now. $2,000 bikes, $150 outfits, and $25 entry fees = not too many clock-punchers on the starting line.

  9. F

    I agree that $65 entry fees are high but when compared to marathons, triathlons and ski races $65 is on the low side. $65 also does not seem like much when I hear that people are racing cyclocross on $130 tires that need to be sealed and apparently flat on a regular basis.

  10. Seis Pendejos

    In regard to the cost of entry fees, I agree completely with Steve. I believe you can still find races in Europe with an entry fee of ~$10.

    My short list of reasons:
    Masters, the dominant category of licensees, have more disposable income than the main pool of riders in the past.
    Costs of hiring off duty police
    Less volunteerism, more promoters trying to earn living off organizing events; not just cycling but many participant sports.

    Now for my lengthy opinion:
    I think most of the finger pointing comments at USAC are off target. I’m not defending them, I just don’t think they have as much culpability as the comments would lead you to believe.

    I think a significant part of the increase has to do with Masters. On one hand when approaching sponsors, we like to puff out our chests and point out that the bike racing fan base in the US has a far above average household income of more than $75k/year. What is not as emphasized is that most of that fan base is actually Masters participants. We all know it; just look at who is standing around the finish line watching the Pro, 1 race. And that base has been very good for the US cycling industry. Just look at all the high end bikes around you. When you have a stable of bikes and ancillary equipment that you paid upwards of $15k for, a $65 entry fee likely won’t faze you too much. I also think that many riders have come to the sport in the past decade are no aware of the history of entry fees, thus have less of a reason to find the increases objectionable.

    As a bit of information for some riders I am helping, I checked the USAC results page to see how many races the top Masters are riding. Admittedly the USAC page is probably not 100% accurate, but I sampled the top 5 Masters 50-55 and 55-50 from road nats and the median number of race days* per rider was 22-23 and for 2010. That’s a lot less than what Steve is racing and what most Pro, Cat 1 & 2s are racing. If you are racing 60 days during the year X $45/race (not an extraordinary amount), that’s $2700 in race fees.

    *I only counted race days, not total races. Masters riders and lower category riders can almost be guaranteed of multiple racing opportunities per race event if they so desire, giving them a much lower cost/race day when all race expenses are considered.

    Along those lines, there has been a shift in identity from clubs to _teams_. Mainly wannabe teams that are trying to emulate the pro peloton with matching team full kits, matching team bikes and in some cases even matching team vehicles. This is in no way limited the upper echelon of racers, but all the way down to Cat 4s. How many of us have heard a (usually young) cat 4 expect a team to cover his entry fees and sometimes even travel expenses. These people are lacking in self awareness, yet it happens year after year. Everybody wants to look Pro instead of spending their energy learning how to race a bike. (Yes, we also did this “back in the day”, but it was usually focused around how to wear your cycling cap.) In the shift from clubs to teams, there has been less emphasis on volunteering to coach development riders and more emphasis on continuing to race. And “professional” coaching. Perhaps it’s a reflection of society, I’m not sure. Regardless, it throws more money into the economy of cycling but going back to the cost of looking Pro thing, because people believe it is better this way.

    I do not believe that liability insurance or federation fees make up the bulk of entry fees. Towns have instituted a requirement of law enforcement present at events, even if it is a crit and not an open road race. At the same time, these law enforcement officers are no longer being paid by the town, but those costs have to be paid by the race organizer. For an all day long crit event, that can add up. It’s also a fixed cost, no matter how many or few riders sign up for the race. On the other hand, actual usage of public roads is frequently without cost to the promoter, unlike most other sports.

    As racers, do we generally have more and better run races due to the growth of “professional” race organizers? Yes, I believe so. But I also think that there has been an almost across the board increase in entry fees that mostly exceeds those benefits. There is a weekly summer training race near me that in ago charged $10 for the first race and $5 for subsequent races on the same evening. The organizer had no expenses except officials, race numbers, prize money, portapotty, and fees to USAC. In 2010, the number of races was doubled, and the cost per race went to $20/15. Rider participation was probably 50% greater. Still no costs for the organizer for law enforcement or road usage. People sucked it up because it was the only game in town.

    Maybe I am an anachronism, but that doesn’t explain why entry fees have escalated so greatly in the US compared to Europe.

    Mr. F who thinks you can’t race on a $2k bike? That’s part of the attitude that accepts a $65 entry fee without blinking.

    Al/carbon frame, good solid components, $1200 to your door

    50 mm carbon tubular wheels, $465, delivered

    105 cassette and 4 _good_ tubulars_ $300

    That’s less that $2k with a set of good race wheels. If you think that this bike will hold you back, then you had better be riding on a Pro-Continental team and less than 5% bodyfat. Otherwise you’re full of it.


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