A few weeks ago I reported on an adventure race that organizers called a "non-race," explaining that they would have to get permits and insurance if it was actually a race. Instead, they called it a training event. "It's no different from going on a group ride with your friends," organizers said.
After the story ran, a local mountain bike race organizer wrote a letter to the editor saying these "non-races" would spoil the chances of being able to run real races. Meanwhile, he hasn't been able to successfully plan a real race in years because of all the money it takes to get permits, insurance, etc.
So many bureaucratic barriers have been thrown up in the course of races that unofficial races, spread mostly by word of mouth, have been popping up more and more in the region.
Jason Blevins, the Denver Post outdoor sports writer has an interesting story yesterday about the same phenomenon. This time in Fruita. And this time, the BLM (which, in Fruita, ironically, doesn't have the greatest relationship with bikers) showed up and issued citations.
It's a interesting issue: is it right to regulate group events to the point where they are very difficult to put on? And if so, how are you going to stop people from gathering informally? For example, is there a legal way to sanction 50 people who get together to race in Cheyenne Canyon, when hundreds of people do it individually every day?