Cost of Racing

article016Adventure racing demands more than just the time and energy you put into your training and those couple of days you take off work traveling to and from events. Adventure racing is an expensive sport – one that requires a substantial amount of financing, especially if you take part regularly in long distance events.

While expenses like entry fees, transport and food are costs incurred with each event, once you’ve purchased your clothing and equipment you’ve won’t need to spend any more money until the items need to be replaced or upgraded.

Let’s look at what’s involved…

Entry Fee
For a Short Course (65km – 100km) event you’re looking at R180 to R280 per person. Classic (200km – 250km) events will cost you R500 to R600 per person and for Expedition events (400km to 500km) you’re looking at R3500 – R7000 per 4-person team.

This rate is obviously dependant on the distance travelled. Bear in mind that for a 4-person team with 2 seconds, two vehicles will need to be driven to the event – one or both to be used as seconding vehicles. You’ll probably be towing a trailer and could have boats on the roof – both of which affect fuel consumption. Toll fees should also be taken into account.

For 2 vehicles you should budget the following:
Short course events, R2500; Classic, R2500 and Expedition, R4000.

Flights may need to be added to this equation if your team-mates are spread around the country.

In some cases you will camp at the start venue. Sometimes you will have to pay for this and occasionally there are no extra charges. Chalets are sometimes available – at an additional cost. You may need to book accommodation after the event too.

When you’ve got 4 hungry racers and 2 seconds to feed, the cost of food is not insignificant. The more days, the more food and snacks. You can budget on R1000 for a 2-day Classic and up to R3500 for Expedition events.

Image is everything… If you want to look like a team, you’ve got to dress as a team. For the basics – short & long sleeve tops, cycle shorts, shorts and long lycra leggings.
4 x short sleeved tops @ R130 = R520
4 x long sleeved tops @ R160 = R640
4 x Cycle shorts @ R250 = R1000
4 x shorts @ R140 = R560
4 x long leggings @ R200 = R800
4 x wind proof, water resistant shell @ R350 = R1400

TOTAL = R4920 (R1230 per person)

It is also a good idea to have 2 thermal long sleeve tops, not just one (add on R640) and it is also good to have 2 short sleeve tops (add on R520). Total = R6080 (R1520 each). Then there is the personal stuff like socks, beanies, caps, gloves etc.

Trail shoes
This is one item of personal equipment that certainly deserves its own heading. I asked around to gauge how often experienced racers are replacing their shoes. The average seems to be 3 – 5 months. So if you race regularly and use your shoes a lot in training, then you’ll need to budget for 3 pairs a year at R700 – R1200 per pair.

All your clothing should be branded with your team name and sponsors name/logo. Add on another R500 to R600 for printing.

These are things each person will need… backpack (~R500), mountain bike (R7000+), helmet (R300+), hydration bladder (~R230 for a 2l), front and back bike lights (R200+), carabiner (R100) and headlamp (R250+). Again, once you’ve got this stuff, you’ve got it – and for a long time. Add to this things you may need… climbing harness (~R500+), PFD (R500) and trekking poles (R350).

For now I’ll ignore boats. If you’ve got to provide them for the event, you either need to own your own doubles or hire them.

Let’s say that you’ve got your clothing and equipment, then considering only your recurring expenses – entry, transport, accommodation and food for 4 x racers and 2 x seconds, you’re not likely to be looking at less than R5000 for a short course event; R7000 for a classic and R12000 for an expedition event.

Mountain out of a molehill?
These expenses may look high but consider the following…

  • All expenses are divided by 4.
  • If you’ve got a new team and are just getting into the sport, you really don’t need to look like clones by splurging on new clothing and gear. You can get away with stuff you already have.
  • If you’re selective about events and only take part in longer events every 2-3 months, then you’ve got the time to put aside a few extra $’s for racing.

Author: Lisa de Speville [Note: article written in 2003/2004 – costs have changed…]