The Zipp OVCX Cyclocross Tour already appears to be headed toward record-busting attendance numbers for the 2010 season. Despite a nationwide trend of competitors waiting later to preregister, promoters for September’s two-day Kings Cross CX Weekend and October’s three-day Cincinnati UCI Festival report that pre-registration statistics for their events continue to show a 100% increase in entries over the same time period last year.
The early and dramatic increase in early registrations bucks a national trend. Pre-registration for bike races throughout the economic recovery of 2010 has been skewing later than previous years, with many events reportedly receiving 80% or more of their pre-entries during the final 72 hours. According to Ross Krause of BikeReg.com, “We certainly see events, mostly road races, where people are not worried about their category filling and they are registering much later. Quick-filling fields such as Men’s 4 and 5 are still filling up quite quickly, but others have seemed to lag this year then pick up just before registration closes.” It’s a trend that’s also being reported to varying degrees in running races and other forms of entertainment. Lou Casper, the Outdoor Entertainment Manager of the New Jersey State Fair, said recently, “Early ticket sales are reported down for concerts all over the country. We’re hosting country music and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs at the New Jersey State Fair this year, and early ticket sales were easily 40% below projections. I just think we’re victims of the economy. People are waiting to the last possible second to spend their money this year.”
The doubling of the early pre-registration numbers for the King’s Cross CX Weekend and the Cincinnati UCI3 Festival, despite the state of the economy, likely reflects on both the excitement created by the awarding of the World Championships to a local venue and the exploding popularity and continuing growth of cyclocross in the Ohio Valley region of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Even before the stunning announcement that Louisville would be hosting the 2013 UCI World Cyclocross Championships, Zipp OVCX Tour cyclocross races were already boasting of the largest average event entry of any cycling discipline in the region. Last year’s season-opening King’s Cross stunned local observers with an entry list for the Cat 4 race alone that was larger than the total combined entry at most mountain bike and road races in the area. The Ohio Valley, which encompasses a land area roughly equivalent to Italy, is also home to two of the nation’s permanent cyclocross facilities: in Covington, Kentucky, overlooking downtown Cincinnati, and the World Championship venue at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville.
Whatever the reasons for the sustained increase in early registrations through the first month, the Zipp OVCX Tour may be headed toward some very crowded fields, or even sold-out races at some events if the trend toward last-minute purchases continues into the autumn. At the current rate, racers who have grown accustomed to waiting until the final week to register for races may end up either be sitting on the sidelines or scrambling for last-second license upgrades when cyclocross season starts in the Midwest.
For more information on the Zipp OVCX Tour, including Kings Cross CX Weekend and Cincinnati UCI3 Festival see www.OVCX.com.