NCNCA Pres Bill Nicely gets invested in youth
As many racers can attest, the price of admission to becoming and sustaining one’s self as a bike racer is pretty damn steep. I think we can all agree that this is a sport for those of a particular economic strata.
And if you’re a young woman or man trying to get through college, or working a full-time job at 20’something wage scales … there’s no amount of sacrifice to lifestyle that will allow you to race and train as much as required to chase dreams of going for a career on the bike.
And why would we want young people chasing those dreams?
It’s the mega-stars that bring in the marketing dollars … it’s the marketing dollars that get exposure for the sport in local, regional, and national press … igniting interest in our communities to engage more with the sport. With the bike. And it’s community interest that makes it easier for us to put on races, get better access to commuter trails, and have more visibility/safety for us all on the roads.
NCNCA Pres Nicely put out a call for input on the subject of reducing entry fees for u25 riders via an email to the NCNCA list serve :
“In our district we have many collegiate riders that do not participate because of the cost. I have spoken with U25 Cat 2’s that just can’t scrape money together for gas and entry fees and late fees. They do not always have the reserves to commit early. This is PART of the reason you see a lot of same day registration for those fields. Some younger racers depend on prize money and primes to finance next weekend’s races. Some folks will point to teams that support Under 25 racers and believe they are well-supported. While some teams can get sponsorship by way of products, cash is tight. What can we do? What if promoters gave discounts of 50% to U25 Cat 1’s and 2’s and NO late fees?”
I’ve already tossed down my many cents on this subject – in that I believe a reduced entry fee for u25 riders would take huge steps in opening up more racing opportunities for young, developing riders in our area. It’s up to promoters to consider if this is something worth investing in, I suppose.
Pres Nicely suggests adding a masters entry fee increase to subsidize youth discounts, however I’m of the opinion that prize money reductions for masters and lower category fields are the way to go to balance out a promoters revenue sheet. I’m of the mind that there should be limited, or no cash prize lists for fields other than women and men’s pro1/2. Event sponsor merchandise is how I would hope master and lower category fields would be rewarded for getting on a podium … or, even the return of small, but memorable trophies!
But – forward your opinion on the subject … comments here are great, or you can voice them to the yahoo list referred to above. Or better still – send your thoughts to promoters of events.
Thanks, Pres Nicely for starting the discussion.
Speaking of the youthful renaissance …
Obviously, the big story from the MERCO Stage Race this weekend is that we have a new legitimate player in the race promotion business in Norcal. Topsportcycling.com has reminded our region what a real stage race can look like. I mean, I love the Madera Stage Race … but it’s got the promotion quality of a girl scout cookie sale … without the hot mini-skirts and berets.
But the other big story (well, aside from the depth and strength showed by the Bissell Pro team), was the fantastic results of young riders. John Bennett is part of this new legion of CalGiant youth that are ripping legs apart in Norcal and beyond. Bennett, Evan Huffman, Nate Wilson, Tyler Brandt, Chris Stastny, Peter Taylor, Ben Swedberg, and Brandon Trafton are too young to frickin’ by beer … but they are crushing it out there in races.
But those are only some of the growing youth movement gaining power in our region. The Firefighters squad saw a massive performance put in by Sam Bassetti, and his teammate Daniel Farinha is going to be crushing it on the road and track this year.
The entire Specialized crew are to be watched and emulated, of course. But also put on the radar was the riding of Andy Goessling, Eric Riggs, and AJ Snovel. These men all finished the grueling 120-mile road race at MERCO and judging by their resulting thousand-yard stares … will be taking down targets all year long.
And of course, Logan Loader is a huge name to watch. But more on him another time.
And it’s not just young men gaining attention and gather results – Ruth Winder is still a junior racer, but is somehow showing even more improvement in her riding. It’s scary how much better this young woman has potential to become.
And it’s exciting to see the return of Lindsey Myers to our scene … coming back from injury and showing some renegade spark against the big professional teams at both Snelling and MERCO. It’s only a matter of time before a big squad sees the rising form of Myers again.
Another rider I’m happy to see showing fine form this year is Kim Fong for the new Michael David Winery squad. She has been aggressive, fast, and resilient in races this year and I think there will be a major result for her in 2011.
“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
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