Last week I got a somewhat confusing phone call from my buddy Travis. Travis, who is a cat 4 bike racer who would likely be a cat 3 (or higher) by now if he hadn't taken off the entirety of the 2009 season, a well as a chunk of the 2008 season to travel to France and China, was calling to express his dismay that it was going to cost him $75 to enter the 2010 Tour of the Battenkill. (It will cost elite men even more, but why split hairs?)
Trav's call was the first I heard about the rate going up from last year's $35. For whatever reason, Travis was the first of several people who reached out to me, knowing that I know promoter Dieter Drake, to inquire about the increased cost. Of course, I'm sure there are hundreds of others who saw the price, and though "Gee, that's kind of steep, but whatever." I don't think Dieter would ever have set the price that high, if he wasn't confident he'd get it. In fact, in 2009, many racers registering after online registration had closed, paid nearly the same amount -- $65.
Of course, I am in no way involved in promoting that race, and I was not privy to, or aware of discussions regarding the entry fee. But, since I do know Dieter, I didn't mind inquiring on behalf of friends.
So, I sent Dieter an email, and heard back from him the next day. The bottom line is that the Battenkill is a friggin' huge undertaking. A far cry from the usual road race, that might attract 300 athletes, the Battenkill requires Dieter to bring in 25 USAC officials, provide about 60 race vehicles, cover some costs for a small army of state and local cops, in addition to everything else a race promoter is expected to do.
The Battenkill is already one of the best races in the nation (maybe the best, but don't take my word for it), but Dieter is sweetening the pot a bit this year, giving away T-shirts, increasing the cash purse, and -- more importantly -- hiring a company that will do scoring based on timing chips. The biggest complaint after last year's race was that results were delayed, and contained some errors. The reason being, or course, that with nearly 2,000 athletes, the race had simply outgrown the traditional camera-based scoring system.
Chip timing is often used in running races and triathlons, which generally see more participants than bike races -- and sometimes cost more.
But, the bottom line is that the Battenkill is was the biggest single-day road race in the country in 2009, and is set to grow in 2010. You won't want to miss it, and it will be well-worth the price of admission.
In other news, I'm now on day two of my mandatory rest. So far, I've slept past wake up time, and still manged to get all of my non-work work done two hours earlier than usual. If I'm not careful, I might get used to this restful life style.