Fast Talk Episode 238: Potluck Discussion - Is It the End of the Road for the North American Racing Scene?

Have you had a similar experience? What did you learn? Feel free to share in this thread!

If you have not had a chance to listen to this episode yet, take a listen here!

Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but it was a brief discussion I had with @robpickels in a recent video call.

As part of a club that organises a road race (37th edition next weekend, 30th), we’ve seen the numbers drop from 10,000 (peak in the late 2000s) to currently only having 320 entries for 2022. We were always about the 3rd or 4th i.t.o. number of entries in our province (Gauteng, South Africa). Budget race entries fees are about R400 ($20) without traveling and race fuel costs.

Disposable income is one big reason, the cost of living being a big contributor, and perhaps the boring nature that are associated with road races. The gravel scene is small (less than 200 entries and only a handful of entries.

Safety on the road is a big thing (impatient/rude, phone users, drunken drivers, etc.) as well as safety from thieves (when riding in small numbers) is what keeps people off the road and mostly in the bush/trails.

I’ve proposed an inter-club racing category at events, but only a handful of people are interested. Plus, they are already taking part as individuals.

My A-event for the spring part of the summer racing season is in 4 weeks from now, and they used to get 20000 participants. An insider said they were struggling with 11,000 entries. This is a signature event that attracts the genuine fun rider that only enter this event, and perhaps train for a few weeks to 2-3 months before. Full road closure over the 96km event, 1200m elevation and usually quite hot.

This was a great show with some awesome topics and discussion. Great job to you all :smiley:

I have to put myself in the “CompuTrainer” bucket with Rob, as someone who actually enjoys Endurance rides on the trainer in ERG. I get a bunch of TV watching during those 2-4 hour rides every Sunday over the winter. It’s something of a treat and 2-for-1 getting some training time while also getting good entertainment. Crazy, I know, in the eyes of many, but it works for me :+1:


Loved this episode. The potlucks and QA are my favorites tbh. I am with @robpickels on ERG mode for the easy base rides. ERG mode helps reduce the mental fatigue and it is great for multitasking when you are trying to catch up on podcasts, bike races, TV shows, etc!


Here in Portland, Oregon - one of the most bike friendly cities in the country - local agencies have continually raised the permit fees to close roads for bike races. This has driven promoters to move to off road races, since a Forest Service permit is more affordable and they are more cooperative.

Interestingly, recently post-COVID the City of Portland has suddenly realized the power of bike racing to bring folks back downtown. A recent crit held in downtown Portland was subsidized by the City and brought large crowds back to an area that had been pretty empty for a number of years. The City even sponsored the prems.

Time will tell if this trend will continue. But the high cost of agency permitting has been the death knell for road racing here in Oregon. Hence the migration to off road. We have thousands of miles of trail and gravel here - and the cost to put on an event is far less, while participation is equal to or greater than a road race.

1 Like


Proud to be on Team Erg-Mode!