Saturday, April 4, 2009


The other day I got inspired and had a few minutes to spare.....this letter to the organizer of Granny Gear Productions was the result.....
I was thinking that if anyone checking in on this blog feels the same, now might be a good time to speak up. Others have emailed in their thoughts and feedback has been forthcoming.....enjoy

(email sent to

HEY Laird,

Rebecca here. You know, I haven't raced a granny gear event since 06 or so because the entry fee was so high. It takes a lot of energy and time to race solo as it is, without paying out the waz for the ride.
I am bummed that Nationals is now under the gg jurisdiction, and therefore, pricing schedule. That means that the National title I raced for last year cost me at least $200 less than this coming year, and I'm not sure why. I asked you about the high entry fee for gg events years ago in Conyers. You told me the money went toward making the event extra special and having super great swag to give out. I guess I wasn't able to partake in the extra special parts, being on my bike and all, and I left with a $45 Camelback that I could have bought at cost for ~$20. When I race, the aspects of the event that affect me and are worth my money are the timing systems, pit layout, and transition area. I use my own nutrition and the only other thing I am able to see is the trail, which is free.

It would be nice if USA Cycling sanctioned, National events were held to a consistent standard regarding registration fees and operations. If the cash purse is significant, it would be appropriate to post how that prize money will be allocated.....will top 5 get cash? top 3?? single speeds? single speed ladies???
If I podium, will I at least get my entry fee back??? "$20,000 in cold cash prizes" doesn't translate to very much when you have over 5000 participants.
These may seem like nit-picky details but the athletes and racers who take the sport seriously and give mountain bike racing it's image are either living on ridiculously low budgets and riding all the time, or are working and maintaining amazingly disciplined training schedules to make the dream work....and their dream is also yours.
Seeing as this is a national championship race, I think you need to consider this population of racers and promote accordingly. I KNOW that if entry fees are lower, registration will go up- and that is what we all want- MORE participants at events, MORE people on their bikes, MORE people smiling and wanting to come back again.

I hope this gives you something to think about- please do not take it as a personal attack, but do consider reducing the cost of entry fees, at least for championship participants. All of the 12 and 24 hour events that I typically participate in cost $125-$150 or less....and almost all have cash payouts as well. One of my favorite 24's of all costs $80 per person. I don't think the promoter is walking away with the bank, but people far and wide have heard of his event and come because they love what he stands for.

Thanks for listening,

Rebecca Tomaszewski
2008 USA Cycling National Champion- 24 Hour Duo Mixed and
- Women's D2 Collegiate XC


Jason Hilimire said...

Right on, completely agree with everything you wrote. My favorite 24 hour race costs $85, I stopped going to them because they take so much time, effort, training and most importantly money!

Tomi said...


Shredder said...

I did the GG 24 hrs of Canaan in 93 and 94, and I was appalled by the $35 per racer in 93, especially since we didn't get a tee shirt. In 94 it went up to $50, and still no tee shirt. We got some cool glow in the dark frisbees though. I shared many of your same concerns with Laird back then, and got the same response. That was enough for me, and I haven't been back. I reminded him of his exorbitant fees on the line at Mt. Snow in 96, and he basically told me to eff off, so we proceeded to put a 2 wheel beat down on him, which made me feel better. He's a deebag for sure.

Wicki said...

I have been AMAZED at how many folks have spoken similar words to Laird and expressed frustration at his response (or lack thereof). I'll keep trying and encouraging others to do the same. The rational mountain biker in me can't help but think he's got to listen to reason- and a whole boatload of racers who won't participate due to price....