Friday, February 17, 2006

The Future Of Endurance Racing: Reactions

The reactions to what has been written here have been very interesting. Thank you for your comments. Some discussion has even been noted on other blogs! I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by that, as endurance racers tend to be a pretty passionate bunch.

As far as governing bodies for endurance racing goes, it would appear that the majority of comments that I have read would indicate a fatalistic viewpoint is widely held. You don't think that it would be good for the sport, but you expect that someday it will happen. This is an interesting and curious philosophy.

Could it be that many of you are remembering what happened in XC racing? Perhaps many of you just cannot believe that something so cool could last without somebody screwing it all up? I don't know for sure what exactly prompts this sort of reaction. I can say this; if there is money to be made, then the focus will come off of the ride and the riders, and it will instead be on the product. In otherwords, marketers will get ahold of this sport, legitimize it in the minds of the elite by imposing a governing body on it, and then tweak it so as to attract as many folks as possible to spend their money on it.

Sound far fetched? Take a look at what is starting to appear and is already here. One of the commenters to this site pointed out that the Granny Gear 24 hour races have their own governing body, which some other races have also subscribed to. The recent announcement of the "g4 Group", which is a company formed by four women formerly heavily involved in the promotion of the domestic road race scene at it's highest levels. They have formed this new promotional service as a way to build the value of the product and bring participants to spend their money on it. "so what?", you say? These gals promote their new venture as a service to the endurance community! There's money in them thar hills, boys, ( gals in this case) and we're gonna git it!

At least some of you out there have also commented that the smaller, grassroots events like Trans Iowa, GDR, Kokopelli Trail race, and the EnduroSnob Epic are events that you expect will survive. Well, as a promoter myself, I can say that it won't last because of the money! Most of these events are fueled by pure passion for the experience. Once that burns itself out, and inevitably it will, either some other passionate folks must pick up the batons, or these events will fade into history. Perhaps they will be replaced by other, more exciting, challenging, and nutty events, I don't know! All I can say is that I don't mean to sound like an alarmist, just a realist.

The endurance racing scene is still growing; however, and not shrinking. The grassroots races are popping up, and six, twelve, and 24 hour racing events are all over the map. There is alot of variety. Choice is good! In a future installment, I am going to explore the veiwpoints of a new endurance race promoter and a new participant in the sport of endurance racing to see what it might be that is motivating this new interest.

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