Ever rising racing costs... can it be slowed?

Today online entry into The Pioneer MTB stage race in New Zealand opened.

It is a qualifying event to the Cape Epic and is essentially a very similar event. Think 2 up stage race with camping, awesome single track, huge numbers of participants.

My gripe this year however is the enormous price hike in entry fees. Almost up $1000 from $2500 last year to $3400 per rider this year. That’s $6800 per team of two!

Does anyone else feel like the sport of MTB is selling out to big companies ( in this case “Ironman”) and racing bikes is becoming a pastime for dentists @Jonathan and sponsored professionals?

Interested to know if anyone has had similar concerns and what we might be able to do to keep a sport “grounded” and accessible to all people and not just the financially elite. @Nate_Pearson

The first and most important part is to avoid giving your money to races that are being run by huge multinational conglomerates or hedge funds. Their core mandate is not to provide the best racing experience possible, and it’s certainly not to provide racing that’s accessible to everyone.

Support local, independently run races whenever possible. It’s unfortunate when the mighty Mdot scoops up great races but that’s always going to create an opening for something more grassroots to scoop up all those who aren’t interested in paying ever rising fees for ever falling quality. I gave up on Ironman as a brand a long time ago, even before the hedge funders got involved.


Totally agree with you. Big multi-day races are just out of my budget these days.

Even events like Leadville ($450 I believe) have gotten too expensive as well. Park City P2P is $200 or so I think, and that is my absolute max, and that would be my racing budget for the whole season gone in one day.

Myself and two friends have booked a cabin for three nights in Tahoe for $660 total (i.e. $220 each for three nights). I see a trip like that as way better value than Leadville or BC Bike Race or any of the others. Even starting each day with a trip to CoffeeBar, and finishing and each day at a brew pub, we’ll still spend less than $400 each total. We’ll just be doing our own riding, and not participating in a race. Sure, if I were a dentist, then I’m sure the fancy events are amazing, but as I’m not a dentist.


Blimey. People in UK often moan about £10-£11 for a time trial!


While I think 1000’s of dollars, euros, pounds, etc. might be excessive for an event, there’s going to be a minimum per participant. Does anyone know what it takes to put on an event? Officials, nutrition, rest stops, recovery teams, trail repairs, land use, trophies, equipment and props, logistics, clean up…everything to the last small item.

We all know some of the events are about select individuals padding their wallets, others are not. Leadville events are said to be born out of a necessity to help a community that lost employers.

I always do a MS Bike Ride that has a minimum $200 fundraising requirement. The MS Society isn’t getting very much (if anything) out of those that raise the minimum amount after factoring in the cost to the society for that participant.


Hey, bro, how much does it cost to ride that single track the week after or the week before that event?

Price is the signal that supply sends to demand…and demand sends to supply. That’s how supply & demand communicate with each other. Value is what you get for price.

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Well I’m used to pricey triathlons but that’s just ridiculous

That is pretty crazy to spend that much on a race…Epic race here in Carson City is $135 if you sign up early…Leadville qualifier at Northstar is $160. But on the other hand you can sign up for road or mtb races at Sea Otter for $55-70.

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Do they throw in a bike for that price! Can’t quite get my head around those numbers.


Even allowing for currency conversion from NZD to USD that is still $2,323.83 a person :exploding_head::flushed: That is nuts.

I wanted to do the Belgian Waffle Ride in San Diego but the $180 entry was just too much for my budget. Too bad as it looks like a really fun race :disappointed:

As a student, (and not knocking TR for what they pay me :wink: :moneybag: ), I’ve been priced out of a lot of really cool events I’d love to participate in. TransNZ, Trans BC, BC Bike Race, and even the TransCR in my home country of Costa Rica are all outrageously expensive, costing around $2k without including travel to the race itself.

Additionally, some of the more local 2-day races and even 1 day races are getting prohibitively expensive. Some of the California Enduro Series races are pushing $200-$250, more than what you pay for an EWS. I have a hard time justifying anything over $100, and I better be getting shuttle service, a tshirt, and bottomless beers at the end. :beers:

It’s really been a bummer for me because I love racing, but it’s tough to fit into an everyday person’s budget! As a race organizer, I see the other side of it and rising costs of event insurance and logistics - hopefully you break even or make a little money. I just don’t understand where it all goes to (ahem, Vail…) in some of these exorbitantly priced races.

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Talk to your local race series and tell them to get in touch with the folks at Over the Hump down in orange country.

Great atmosphere, good prices, and the races are always packed and competitive.

They offer a “season pass” for $300 which covers 12 races, number plate with RFID tracking, free pint glasses for top finishers and other fun stuff.

I have no idea how they do it financially but if every city could do what they are doing, XC racing would be in a great spot.


On average road racing in Australia is heading towards $1.20-$1.50 per km on top of a 12 month governing body race licence which is marketed as providing year round insurance ( $ 250-360 per year depending on the club you join. In most cases stronger clubs feel the need to charge more).
Local club criterium are typicall $5 to enter but lack depth, challenge and distance.
At what point do most people get priced out of racing? And if this is increasingly common, where then does the relevance of platforms like TrainerRoad lie and begin to dwindle? I don’t need to get faster to enjoy my local bunch rideand when I’m priced out of racing I can’t imagine keeping up TR despite it being an awesome product.

My local MTB race series over the summer is $20 per race. Not big events, just low key local races.
On the other hand, I paid $450 for Leadville this year.

The cost of that race in NZ aboslutely staggers me but I am also aware of how much Ironman trithalons cost as well.

Ironman is becoming a very expensive sport to compete and hopefully bike events are not going the same way.

Haha, very true, there was me thinking £25 for the Scottish National 25 TT was ridiculous.


Just reading through these posts has hammered home to me why quality training is so important to so many TR users. If you’re laying down this kind of money, you want results, both from the training and the event itself!

Makes my British Cycling Licence and £17 crit fee seem like pocket money.

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Most of the races i do are around $100 for a triathlon. But they are usually well supported and have nice spreads of food to go around after the race is over. Been holding steady for most of the past decade as that is what most people will pay. Lots of xterra events are no longer being held because they were no longer financially feasible. Putting on a race is a pretty big undertaking.

Tell me about it, racing MTB here in SoCal is almost $70.

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This made me look at Reef to Reef for this year (4 day MTB stage race in North Queensland) also run by Ironman and a Cape Epic qualifier. It’s also gone up by about $100 to $525AUD for late entry (I can’t commit until a couple of months out). Not as bad as the Pioneer but still a hike. I’ve been quite shocked by the cost of racing in Australia compared to the UK where my British Cycling membership and race licence cost about £80 for the year plus club membership (normally about £20) and that covered me for all disciplines. Here I effectively make a choice between road and track or MTB and Cross as I can’t race off road on a Cycling Australia licence and can’t race on it with an MTB-A licence. If I were to do both I’d be looking at $500-ish for both memberships. Perhaps I should go back to racing on a British licence; I just wouldn’t be eligible for nationals.