Monday, September 15, 2008

Show me the Tour of Missouri

We made the trip downtown after the hurricane. Pretty disappointing turnout if you ask me and wonder if the promoters might have thought the same thing. Granted, it rained for 7 hours prior to the start of what was a shortened version of the original course, a 7 mile circuit race going up to forest park and around in a figure eight. The Expo Center was cancelled so there wasn't much of a reason to hang out at the Pfoodman/Trailnet tent, because their wasn't one. I invited a bunch of folks down to enjoy the day, most of them bailed for various reasons, hey, it was a pretty lame day for bike racing. What was cool was the VIP tent, great food, done up right by a local caterer.

I wonder a bit about the Tour of Missouri. There are some very significant corporate dollars floating into that machine. And at the risk of pissing everyone off in the cycling community, it seems a bit indulgent. I mean, they really have their hand out looking for corporate donations, volunteer hours, special event support. Pfoodman was asked to support too. We fed the volunteers. In return we got free expo entrance space for the expo center, a tent that we were to share with Trailnet. I suppose our in kind donation wrapped up at around two grand. That is what it cost us to produce the 600 box lunches for the volunteers that day. So arriving at the tour, no expo center, rain, a piece mealed shortened course and lackluster crowds, was a bit of a disappointment. Especially if it cost me two "big" bills. I wonder what the tours margin looks like and how the corporate sponsorships filter in to the margins of the promoter? I wonder what portion of the funding might have made it in to the budgets of local charities, should these dollars have gone unsolicited by the Tour of Missouri? I like the idea of the tour and certainly understand the template by which they manage their business. I even wrote Nixon a letter, assuming he was a shew in for Gov. at the time, when Blunt backed away, encouraging him to support the Tour of Missouri, a long with a check for 500 bucks for his continued support of small business.

I wonder if this is truly that big of return on investment, the Tour? While I am definitely a cycling enthusiast, an occasional race promoter and supporter of lots of events cycling (I still race bicycles and plan on doing it for a couple more years). I can't help but wonder if this is really what is in the best interest of these businesses, spending the big bucks for a slice of the fitness culture. After all the face time in St. Louis was limited due to the weather.

I have already told you what I don't like about the concept, I should also mention what I do like about it. The tour does indeed provide advocacy in regard to active lifestyle. It is enormous, the lifestyle display. The message is simple: "Get out on your freaking bikes folks, spend time outdoors, off the couch, out of the drive through at K-fry" I say. This is a good thing. The corporate sponsors must be "down" with the statewide traveling display of health and wellness that the tour provides. I guess I buy that as many other regional companies have. Where else can you find a couple thousand people looking to purchase a slice of rockstar status in a healthy forum other than the Tour of Missouri? Well, there are really quite a lot, with charitable interests.

So, If I change it up a bit with due to all of the pageantry, it would come out something like this: "Get out on your CC and purchase a freaking 6000 dollar Pinarello Folks, take another 6000 and follow the stages while taking pictures with a 3000 Nikon, geta couples massage between meals, eat tenderloin and drink Missouri wine at the VIP tent donated by hard working local business people who likely won't see dollar one back on their investment".

Nope, a lot of folks won't like this post, ifyouknowhatimtalkingbout.


Casey Ryback said...

Yeah, I was a *little* dissapointed with the crowds downtown. There were all those terrible storms to deal with, and I wonder had they not been a factor, would there have been a significantly better turn-out? I would like to think that the die hards who realize how big of a deal this race is would show up regardless. I know I would.

Zak said...

no show for herman cyclocross


It was a great race man, under the lights, the mud, the steps, the cowbell, the glory.

You missed out.

see you at bubba #1?