5 days and $16,000 at the Bear Mountain Classic
It’s hard to believe after spending 12-odd hours in nearly non-stop rain at Sunday’s Zach Koop Memorial Crit at Orchard Beach, but there is another weekend of CRCA Open Racing looming on the calendar this weekend. This time it is of the road racing variety: the CRCA Bear Mountain Classic (Bikereg Link). As one of the last road races in the area, the Bear Mountain Classic holds a special place in our heart. Unfortunately as we have written about before (here and here), it is also the CRCA race that carries the greatest overhead costs and thus poses the greatest financial risk to the Club. In fact, as of Sunday morning we were sitting on a roughly $16,000 budget gap that we are hoping to close over the next five days — with just 272 registrants thus far we are only at 50% of last year’s turnout:
Of course, as has become a common refrain in our Race Director Diaries series, this is as much a function of late registration trends as anything. As the chart below indicates, this year’s Bear Mountain Classic (the blue line) is trending slightly ahead of last year’s numbers at this point in time. Which leaves us wondering the age old question: can we double our registration numbers in the final week? When the weather is in our favor, the answer is usually yes. When the weather goes against us (as was the case at this year’s Orchard Beach Criterium), it’s hard to say. And unfortunately with the overhead expenses associated with the Bear Mountain Classic, that creates the risk of potentially significant financial loses.
So, as we’re prone to do here on the TBD Journal, let’s take a look at registration trends for the Bear Mountain Classic to date. Broken out by field, nearly every race is trailing significantly behind our budgeted numbers (we budget each field based on turnout in prior years). There are some exceptions - for example the Men 3 field is filling nicely after some down numbers after that race was lengthened for the 2018 edition (the extra lap of racing for last year turned out to be an unpopular change). And the Elite Women’s field is already approaching it’s forecasted budget. But for fields like the Elite Men we’re hoping for another 40 registrants in the final week of registration - a figure that may prove to be a big ask. Numerically the Men 3, Men 4, and Men 5 fields are the biggest thus far, as you would expect, with our multitude of Masters fields trailing just behind.
That same chart mapped out as % of budget visualizes the to date a bid differently. Our juniors race has hit our targeted registrant number, which is awesome. But since that field is completely free to participants, it doesn’t move the needle much on race finances. Men 3 and Elite Women are next in line on budget performance, but the Elite Men are at just 1/3 of our targeted number while the Women’s 5 field has a lone registrant (we also offer a longer Women’s 4/5 field that seems to be a stronger draw). There is always as much art to science with forecasting registration, but hopefully we’ll get most of these fields up to at least 80% of our budgeted numbers in the coming days.
All of this certainly leaves us counting our pennies for the next several days, hoping we can close that big budget gap with a final registration push. But at least the weather forecast is shaping up in our favor at the moment. If you’re interested in joining us at Harriman State Park on Saturday, head over to Bikereg to sign up: https://www.bikereg.com/crcabearmountainclassic
Postscript: How did the Zach Koop Memorial Crit Turn out?
For those regular readers of the Race Director Diaries series who are curious on the final Zach Koop Memorial Crit at Orchard Beach numbers: despite a lackluster forecast that sadly proved to be accurate, we just barely snuck into breakeven territory on the finances as we ended at 528 riders, down approximately 3% from the 2018 edition of the race:
In absolute terms the Men 3/4 field, Elite Men, and Men 4/5 were the most popular fields on the day, just ahead of the Men 4 and Men 2/3. Of course, with near constant rain throughout the day the actual turnout was well short of these numbers - for most fields our DNS rate hovered in the 50% range.
Compared to 2018 our Juniors field was the standout, though just as with Bear Mountain, that field is free to all participants so it doesn’t move the needle on the Club’s ability to pay our event costs. In that sense it was the Elite Men and Men 5 that surpassed expectations, will most other fields were down anywhere from a handful of riders to ~25%. Our Women’s turnout was hardest hit, but with Woodstock overlapping with our Orchard Beach date that was somewhat inevitable.
As for the finances, with roughly $10,000 in expenses we just cracked breakeven on the race. The average registration fee per rider for this year was $28.70, with $24.78 per rider going to CRCA after USAC fees. The race was resource intensive - and not just in pure financial costs: our permit required us to use 40 club members as marshals throughout the day, in addition to all of the related team duties and planning resources that are done on a volunteer basis by club members. In the end we netted out to a slight profit that will be reinvested in Club operations, including the CRCA Club Series.