Are we growing??? Even??
Are we growing? Such a seemingly simple question is actually very difficult to answer. “We” here means the NYC racing culture in general. Are we promoting our park series and FBF races to newcomers and juniors? How many new riders decide to take up racing and maybe someday they could contribute to our NYC racing culture? Is our NYC racing culture vibrant enough to attract more diversified sponsors to support more up and coming race series? Finally, are point series racing outdated and leading to more negative racing…when riders aren’t racing to win races? By no means I claim to have any insider knowledge. However, I have been “around.”
Back in the day, if you want to get your feet wet in bike racing, you have to either join the CRCA or the Kissena Cycling Club. Your decision would ultimately determine where you would be racing..CRCA in Central Park or Kissena in Prospect Park. You can pay your membership fee and to become a CRCA member. By no means you are on a team. You then have to work your ass off to proving yourself and in the hopes that one of the many, many sub teams would “sign you up.” Until then, you are pretty much racing for yourself. For Kissena, you are more or less in a team without the need to climb the “ladder.” I thought that model has always been very welcoming. Many local, notable riders were once a Kissena member. One thing that is lacking in this model is the “development path.”
Is obvious that these 2 models aren’t working as it should be anymore to attract new riders to take up racing in NYC. One approach I have noticed for the past few years is that new teams recruiting new riders straight out from the Cat5 field. I have couple of favorite Cat 5s I like to photograph during races and they are now Cat 4 and on a team. That’s couples I have met and noticed. There has to be a solid, reliable recruiting platform to attract more newcomers to take up racing in NYC. Otherwise, in few years time, all Cat 4 fields would become Masters….LOL I think is already happening now. Less riders racing, less exposure for sponsors. Less races being organized. Less profitable for promoters and sponsors.
It is not a good idea to have one predominant sponsor to provide financial supports for most of the race series in NYC. That’s because any potential competing new race series would not get much supports from them. Unfortunately, that’s the case in NYC. It only means less racing. If you are passionate about the sport, you can promote your own race series solely relying on your own budget and financing. That’s a huge price to pay for something that shouldn’t be happening…in my opinion. If the NYC racing culture is vibrant enough, sponsors should be flocking to promoters and to help them promote their new race series. This goes back to having more newcomers to take up racing in NYC.
I have been hearing from some riders that the ever point jersey race series aren’t good for racing in general because riders aren’t racing to win races anymore. Sometimes, behind my camera lens, I do notice that certain fields aren’t really racing. It looks and feels like a group ride. Winning moves would get shut down because a particular team is trying to secure enough points to win the overall jersey. I guess that's called negative racing...racing not to win...
Personally, I hope our HH Racing race series could change some of that. We have to see…