Ah, the good old days when racing was fun. Remember when races were made up of a bunch of the guys from the local trail that got together once or twice a year to put on a festival of fun all revolving around mountain bikes, trails, and maybe a little post ride refreshment? The fun days of racing may not be over yet!!
For a few years the fun seemed to be fading from the NORBA scene. The “festival” atmosphere seemed to be leaving the races and only pain and suffering remained. It was quickly becoming a show of the haves and have nots. Part timers felt “out equipped” and did not enjoy being drilled into the dirt by top-of-the-line equipped factory team riders. What reason did the newbie even have entering such a suffer-fest? There was no “fun” left in the sport. And besides, racing is only a small part of mountain biking. If it is no longer fun to race, why not just go hang with the gang at the local trails?
Jump ahead a few years and take a look at what we have now. Instead of just the spandex clad XC, we have options for downhill, 4 cross, short track, 12 to 24 hour races and other interesting events shaped for a variety of riders. The expansion of competition has allowed cyclists with varied interests a reason to race again.
The promoters have done their part too. Look at the “Otter“. There are activities and events through out the entire weekend. Its not just about the race, but the entire event.
This is just the schedule of events for Friday. Look at all the activities besides racing.
And how about grass roots support from companies like Evomo? They are making every racer feel like they are a World Cup champion. Evomo provided a great lounge area last year that allowed riders to relax and mingle. Evomo hospitality is reason enough to enter a race.
GT bicycles has started 2 grass roots efforts to promote racing. The GT Golden Race Series is described as:
Starting on April 19th, the Golden Bike will be up for grabs at races around the country. Win the race, win the bike. It’s that easy. But there’s a catch. Winning the Golden Bike means you have to defend it at the next Golden race. Don’t worry, we’ll cover your race fee, put you up in a hotel and fly you and a friend there. We’ll also give you a GT Golden Race jersey and a $250 Sugoi gift certificate. But you’d better win or you’ll surrender the Golden Bike and all its glory to whoever does.
Did I mention it involves cheerleaders?
The second GT promotion is the GT Dirt Coalition.
GT has picked +- 39 riders through out the US and sponsored them with pile of goodies. GT teamed up with IMBA on this one.
Its the support and facilities like these that make riders WANT to come back to races. Riders feel welcome regardless of their skills and feel like they belong at the races.
What makes you come back to the races?