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Racing on a budget

March 19, 2009

Bicycle racing has long known been an expensive hobby, and not for the folks with shallow pockets. That’s not to say I have deep pockets ( I certainly don’t), but I make other sacrifices instead. I don’t buy fancy clothes, don’t have internet at my house, don’t have cable, don’t have a cell phone, just generally don’t spend money on anything but food, bikes, and bills. Plus I have generous sponsors! I don’t like talking about how bad the economy is because I am an optimist, but I can’t deny the obvious effects its having on racers this season. Many are getting creative with travel and lodging, and making do with components from 5 years ago, while others are simply bowing out and saving the cycling expenses for more necessary living expenses. It saddens me to go to the Texas race forums and learn of another compadre who has lost his job. There is one member on the TXBRA forum who goes by Recession Racer. I get a lot of amusement reading his post. In a lot of ways, he is my kind of guy. He believes in doing less with more, camping instead of hoteling, carpoolling, etc, etc. Here is recent post that was well worth my time to read:

Recession Racer (RR) is Here

This Big ‘Ol Racin Weekend is Somethin
RR Awards Maybe Forthcomin
Lookin for a True Blue Penny Pinchin Racer
No Posers, Fiction Rides or Drama Chasers – Just a Placer
Just Smoke the $10K Fantasy League
On Something Resembling Battle Fatigue
Help RR Scan the Field – Blue Collars don’t Concealed
Bike Porn Blingsters Just Might be Revealed
Vote and Cheer the Underdog with Lowest Cost per Placing
Now That’s A Champ at Recession Racing

I recently acquired a 1991 Diamondback Centurion Momentum road bike. A nice classic ride. steel lugged frame, 14 speeds, downtube shifters, arraya rims, and biopace rings. A great example of early 90’s race bike. It doesn’t compare with my 2005 Trek Madone, but it’s really not a bad bike. I feel like I could totally race it against modern carbon frames and flashy uber light components. I plan to give it a try at the Tuesday nighters this year, and maybe even some thursday crits. If I even come close to a top 10 I should definitely get the lowest cost per placing award.

I also plan on doing a MTB race or two on the KHS singlespeed, completely stock! I won’t expect a top ten racing Pro/Cat 1 with that thing, but if my time is faster than the Cat 1 age groupers, then there is something to be said for that. Race entry fees and travel/lodging are costs to be paid for racing, but honestly, I think more people put more money into their machines and gears. If I can accomplish the same feat as you on $300 steel clunker rigid singlespeed vs. your $3000 super savvy carbon frame, well then, I’m actually accomplishing more than you, and at a fraction of the cost. I would even argue that I’m having more fun too! That’s what racing is supposed to be about, fun. Don’t forget that. If the racing cost do get too high for you to afford, just remember that racing is not life, but staying fit and having fun is! You don’t need a race to ride a bike fast.


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