I have recently competed in my second cycling road race. As with the first race (Good Friday Road Race in the spring of 2009), I was overwhelmed by the incredible, non-professional talent that showed up to the event but was puzzled by the lack of average to beginner riders?
I guess, coming from the world of triathlon and duathlon, I am use to seeing many athletes in all shapes, sizes, sexes and abilities. In my two adventures in strictly cycling events, I noticed a lack of hobbyists, first timers and a major shortage of women racers. I am not sure why these people do not come out for these races because I am positive that there are plenty of these cyclists in the region from my experiences in club and everyday riding.
What is it about the Ontario Cycling Association races that draw the top riders, usually associated with a competitive team, but not the “weekend warriors”? These participants make up a great deal of the fields in the running and triathlon contests that I frequent and they are the driving force allowing these competitions to strive, giving many of us older athletes a reason to stay active and healthy.
Is the lack of these racers a concern to the governing body in our Province? Will it affect the growth of the sport in the future? Are there plans to increase the numbers of participants at the races approved by the OCA? Are there other races out there that I have not seen that attract the regular cyclist, like myself?
If anyone has some thoughts on this topic it would be very interesting to hear your opinion!