Age Group Racing

The Localcycling.com news desk received this editorial. With an enthusiastic start to cyclocross season this makes some good points. Click 'Read More'.


 


"After comparing the results of the Kansas City Marathon with the results of some of the recent Kansas City cycling races, my disappointment with the promoters and sponsors of these cycling events grows.

There were 84 men and women recognized for their accomplishments in 3 different running events. The runners’ efforts in 11 to 13 age groups were rewarded. Why doesn’t this happen in cycling?

I’ve spoken to some promoters about this lack of incremental age groups and the response is usually along the lines of: “there are not enough competitors to justify those groupings”. Administratively and organizationally, there cannot be much additional work, if any, to add more groups. Entry fees should cover the extra expense of awards.

They tend to look at it as a “Chicken or Egg” issue where the competitors have to show up first. When in fact it is more of a “Field of Dreams” issue where if a real opportunity to compete is offered the competitors will come.

Currently cyclists generally older than 50 or so are relegated to competing against athletes more than 10 to 15 years younger. Given the decline in physical performance that comes with age it’s very rare for that older cyclist to feel they have a competitive chance in most races.

Just because an old furnace can’t put out as much heat as young one, does not mean the fire inside doesn't burn as bright.

No real competitor is ever happy being a backmarker. Nor do they like subsidizing rewards in an unfair competition, which the older competitor’s entry fees end up doing.

Sixty percent of the cycling population in the US is older than 35, thirty-three percent is older than 45, only twenty-two per cent is younger than 34.

Guess which end of that demographic has the most discretionary income to spend. Cyclists probably spend a couple of orders of magnitude on their sport than runners.

As it stands now, promoters could be fielding larger events but are missing out on entries and sponsors are not reaching all the customers they think they are or could.

The running community apparently “gets it”. Why can’t the cycling community?"


Chuck Procner

Mission, KS