Times are certainly changing for US cycling these days.
There has been a lot of commentary about bike racing being dead or dying in the US recently. I guess it’s all a matter of perception. For sure, in my life time, there have never been more people racing their bikes in my area than there are now.
I see a continual rise in mass start races where pros, weekend warriors, enthusiasts, etc. all race the same course and share a common experience. People really like the idea of an “epic day” versus a Saturday morning road race on country roads 45 minutes outside of town with no hype or appeal. People want a story and an experience. BWR, DK200, Leadville 100 and other races of the sort are only going to rise in popularity while standard road races lose numbers of racers.
Podcasts, articles, youtube videos… all the attention is going to these big day races where everyone & anyone can line up and give it a go.
It’s true those races are having a lot of success. And it’s ironic that Walmart is probably doing more to generate cycling interest in the US than USAC is.
But I’m not talking about the races everybody knows about. I’m talking about Texas Chainring Massacre, Cool Hand Luke, Rage Against the Chainring, Pony Express, Tour de Lyon County, (insert your local race here) and a bunch of other little races where 50 or 100 riders are showing up to race their bikes around the countryside. Every weekend almost.
I see what you’re saying. More people are riding bikes than ever before. Perhaps even higher numbers of racing participants than ever before.
But, are we seeing that represented in the “conventional” road race scene? Maybe in Gran Fondos but what about your crits and pure road races? Location is certainly a major factor but taking the nation as a whole into consideration – would you say racing specific to the road events is still growing?