Ive recently discovered a very negative attitude towards racing on the roads in my local club which is based around the financial impacts of running races and pondered the question......
How important is it, for a cycling club, to promote racing on the open roads?
Finances always make running races an issue with varying degrees of sucess from club to club with many issues affecting this success ranging from location, race category, race route and permitted rider numbers to things like club marketing attitude and ability to attract sponsors.
All this aside though, is running sportives and closed road circuits enough to promote the sport in full, givin the recent high profile backing of securing the roads for the use of cyclists?
Ive no doubt that most people starting out, feel more comfortible off the roads and away from traffic especially those joing at a mature age. Parents also feel happier their children learn in this safe enviroment also. But when do you actually gain experience of riding on the roads to allow you benefit fully from the sport of cycling if even just to commute to work on open roads?
If every club used closed roads/racing tracks etc, how would future generations ever feel comfortible on the roads or gain that experience?
To me, its vital that clubs run open road events and sportives fulfil that role in part, at least in an organised and supported way.
Sportives attract possibly higher numbers than races and larger entry fees also especially with more commercial partners interested in backing an event than a road race as their product is directly linked.
Are Sportives now the future of club activities then and if so, what will happen to road racing, is it for the elite only and where will this elite come from in 10 years?