Monday, February 20, 2006

The Future Of Endurance Racing: The Money $$

It is interesting to note that some of the comments recieved, and also some of the conversations I have had about the future of endurance racing have touched on the topic of the money. That is; if there is money to be made, then the corporate machine will rewrite the book on endurance racing, turning it into something that will kill the current spirit of the sport.

I'm sort of a skeptic when it comes to the intentions of a person or entity that wields large wads of cashola myself, so I think I can relate to this fear. It was something that happened to cross country racing. Although, to be fair, other things were as much to blame for the turn off that XC racing became as the way it was marketed. When it comes to the endurance racing scene, it would appear that there are a few things that alot of you appreciate that could possibly be ruined by the corporate marketing machine.

The whole spirit of the events, the vibe, if you will, for one thing. It can vary from event to event. Let's just say that the posturing and posing is somewhat subdued or absent altogether at most of these events. It's not like the "pack of wolves" pecking order kind of feeling that you might experience at an XC event. "Gee, isn't that last years dual suspension bike?" ........well, you know what I mean!

Then there is the cameraderie between event participants. You can actually walk up and talk to about anybody. Sure, there are looney people everywhere, but for the most part, just about anybody is approachable. I've said it before, but it bears repeating here. You can see the shared experience in the eyes of the people you talk to at an endurance event. It's a bond. It's not about who's better, but it's about who has overcome.

The last thing for today that I'll mention is the value. You get to go to a 24 hour race as a team member, or solo, and it's at least a weekend event, if not a mini-vacation. Sure, some of the entry fees can get up there, but if you get all the riding you can stomach at a cool course, then it's worth it. Add to that the cool people you share the experiences with, and it adds more value. Sometimes the roadie down or back can be worth something, especially if you add in some stops for sight seeing or riding. Now you are talking about an overall experience that has several facets and gives back in memories more than the money spent. Seems like a bit better deal than your typical XC outing. And then there are the ultra-endurance events, which up the ante even more.

Yeah, it's pretty cool the way things are now, but I sure hope that we do not see it all stripped away by some corporate, money making machine that cares only about selling a product and not an experience. Time will tell!

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