Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Hey everybody! I'm back from the Holiday and I hope all of you out there that had this holiday had a good one. Now, it's back to regular blogging!

I was reading with interest on Adam Lisonbee's blog about the feeling he had that the Solo category in 24 hour endurance events was dwindling and why he thought that might be so. I had done a little research into the team entries over the past six years or so from the top tier 24 hour races and found similar results to Adam's. Nothing concrete, but some lower numbers here and there.

The feeling is that with the increase in travel costs, the high entry fee prices for the top tier events, and the rise of local, smaller endurance races, that the endurance fields are going to be thinner. It's really a combination of all these influences that is going to make the "big time" events suffer numbers-wise in the future. Some will say that endurance racing is on the wane. I think that view is short sighted. The numbers of long distance, small, underground type of events is on the rise. That's automatically going to draw off a portion of the field right there. Add in travel expenses and you will see more folks staying closer to home. If there is a good local event, the choice is clear on where to go. Sometimes it's the cheaper entry prices that the smaller venues have that attracts riders. For instance; the Dirty Kanza was $40.00, and travel expenses don't look as bad when the entry is that low.

So, the times are changing and the endurance race landscape is going to be different. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, just different. The rise in numbers of smaller events that offer great riding and lots of it are helping out where the larger venues with their attendant travel fees and high entry costs are causing folks to reconsider their plans. Those big events will still be popular, I just don't see them "growing" anymore, and perhaps they will shrink somewhat. We'll see.

On a side note: It looks as though the Kokopelli Trail Race is a goner! I will reserve my personal comments here and only say that it is an event that will be missed. Especially under it's former guiding hand of Mike Curiak. Perhaps someone else will be moved to pick up where he left off?

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