We have removed the $5 late entry fee and lowered the P1/2/3 entry to $35 for the race on Sept. 12.
I probably made a mistake in adding a late fee for registration last year. A $5 increase was added 2 weeks before the race. This was done to encourage early registration which would hopefully build wider interest in the race, and to help make up for some increased expenditures. It did not work. We ended up with small fields in the P/1/2, Cat 3 and women’s races. Did the late fee affect turnout?
The attempt to get riders to sign up early did not work again this year for several fields.
CRCA’s interest is to put on the best possible race. We think putting on 2 races a year on a great course like Bear is a great service to the cycling community. We put these races on to serve the cycling community. Our goal is to get the best possible turnout without losing money. Since I started putting on the Bear Mtn. races our Park fees have gone up from $100 + 1% of revenue to $400 + 10% of revenue plus $1500 for the police. That’s approximately $300 to $4000. Despite that increase we have raised entry fees by only $5. In 2005 the P/1/2 was $35 and other races were $30.
This year we have cut some expenses and added a second Cat 5 field which filled so we do not have a monetary need for the late fee. Hopefully lowering the entry fee will increase rider turnout and increase revenue.
The Master’s field, the two Cat 5 fields and one Cat 4 field have filled. So there is some demand for a late season Bear Mtn race. Since 2005, the first year we held a Fall race since 2000, the P/1/2, Cat 3 and women’s races have not had good turnouts.
In 2005 the Fall race was conceived of as a Univest prep race and we had one of the best Bear Mtn P/1/2 fields ever. We even had 60 women. Univest moved their date up a week in 2006 and that cut the P/1/2 field in half. For some reason the W/1/2/3 field went from 35 to 13.
The race was canceled in 2007 and a time trial was held in 2008 because of road closures. The failure to hold the race regularly probably cut into turnout last year. We had only 30 riders in the P/1/2, 54 in the Cat 3 and 11 in the W/1/2/3.
With the conflict with Univest and the small turnout last year, I thought that a P/1/2/3 race made sense. The small turnout to date indicates otherwise. Either people are waiting until after Green Mtn to register or the 3’s and 1/2’s don’t want to race against each other. Hopefully we’ll end up with a good turnout. My thinking after last year was that a race of 100 riders was better than 2 races of 30 or 40 riders.
Anyway to boost registration and to make up for the combined 1/2/3 field, I have lowered the entry fee to $35. You are getting to do a 70 mile race at Bear with neutral support and more than double the prize money for the same price as a 44 mile Prospect Park race.
Watching women’s fields fill has been exasperating and after 6 years I have accepted that the women register late. I always thought seeing a large number of people register early would increase interest and registration. Some late changes in combining the two women’s races over the years have created some uncertainty with women riders. This has been bad. Let me state that no matter what the turnout this year’s race will have two separate women’s races.
That said going forward, it might not make sense to put on a race for 10 riders. From a racing standpoint it’s not very good. From a race promotion monetary standpoint it makes no sense. The goal and desire is to continue to put on two women’s races. Maybe the answer is to consistently hold the two races without changes but some more interest needs to be shone at some point. A better turnout for this year’s race will eliminate the question.
Future plans for P/1/2/3 riders also depend on turnout and feedback. It isbetter to have separate races if there are riders to fill the spots. Maybe Univest will move back a week and make our decision easy.
Does keeping entry fees low even matter? With Battenkill getting $80 and people paying $32 for weekly park races am I selling Bear short? For one, we’ll see if removing the late fee makes a difference.
Secondly I am not a big fan of making an expensive sport even more expensive. With the demand for Spring Bear we could raise entry fees to $50 but I hope whoever takes over the club next year does not do that.
Hope this explains some things and encourages some people to register.