Money! Photo via flickr by AMagill

Money! Photo via flickr by AMagill

by Jamie Mack

Cyclocross is not an inexpensive endeavor. And while these may not be the worst of times, for a lot of us they are not the best of times either. After our recent story about indoor cross and promoters thinking outside of the box, I started to think that racers need to apply that same strategy to get the most out of their limited ‘cross budgets. So I’m going to let our readers in on a secret.

I didn’t pay an entry fee all last year. Now, before I hear the chorus of folks hollering that this must be a “magazine thing,” let me clarify my intentions here. First off, yes, my name has been in print and online a couple of times. But in all fairness, yours could be here just as easily – we’re all about community-contributed content. And before you make the assumption that I’m some hot shot racer, I urge you to check out my results on crossresults.com or USA Cycling. Seeing my level of success will bolster your racing confidence, I assure you. If you race in the mid-Atlantic, feel free to wave as you pass by me next season.

So, what’s the secret to my ‘cross financial success?  No secrets really, just a little time, some effort and a few simple ideas.

Be a Team Player – Join a club, a team or simply find a group of like-minded folks. There is strength in numbers, and that strength can lead to shop sponsorships, product discounts and other savings. Not to mention countless training partners who will take pleasure in nothing more than breaking you down. Clubs and teams all have their own structures and benefits, but race reimbursement is often one of them which removes one of the hurdles that we need to clear off the track.

Volunteer – You’re racing anyway, why not hang around a little while longer, or show up a little earlier, and work off your registration fee. Promoters are an energetic enthusiastic group, but they can’t do it alone. The key to any successful event is the people behind it, and many of those are often working for the good of the community. Sit in the registration tent (Hint – the good ones are heated!), police the course tape that you had a hand in pulling down earlier or perform any of the other boring, thankless tasks that put you right in the center of the action.

Speak Up and Be Heard – Getting involved in the community can take another form. Blogs, youtube videos and low-budget films have all been used to further individual goals with great success. This isn’t to say that picking up a second-hand DSLR is going to make you the next Bart Hazen or Joe Sales, but you never know until you try, right?

Next season still seems as though it’s an eternity away, but promoters are already working through the logistics of events that are still months in the future. As race organizers travel non-traditional routes to put more people in the starting grids, now is a good time for those racers to consider the roads they will take to get there.

And if you want to really get involved, you can also contribute to the cyclocross community by helping out with Cyclocross Magazine. Just email jointhefun <at> cxmagazine.com.

Have any ideas to add to our list?  Drop a comment below if there is something we missed.