I have some unfortunate news. We are making a call today on the 2012 Ruapehu Cycle Classic, and due to a low number of entries, the event will not be taking place this year.
While entries are up 20% on 2011, based on previous years' experience, we are only likely to have 250 entries (350 riders) for 2012, something which would see us fall short on the event budget by around $15K. For Tania and me, that is a big chunk of cash for us to contemplate 'investing' in the future of the Ruapehu Cycle Classic - something we have already done for each of the last 5 years - and with other organisations and businesses in the greater Ruapehu District not yet sharing the same vision or ability/willingness to invest in the future of the event, we are questioning whether there is a long term future for this bike race around the Central Plateau.
There is no doubt that road cycling events in destination towns are struggling at present. People are choosing to ride from home and spend $4 on a coffee, rather than the petrol, food, accommodation and entry fee costs associated with travelling from Auckland or Wellington to somewhere like Ohakune.
What those who do travel to our event each year understand, is that on its day (and we have had stunning weather for the last 4 years), the Central Plateau is one of the best places in the country to ride your bike and spend the weekend. I spent a lot of great weekends in Ohakune as a kid - both in summer and winter - and I believe it is a great place to visit at any time of the year.
Unfortunately we have come to the realisation that while Tania and I are both passionate about the race, and a growing number of locals are also enthusiastic about its future, it doesn't make financial sense for us to continue to invest money and struggle to grow the event without local financial support.
With our extra investment in the profile and format of the Ruapehu Cycle Classic this year, it is right at the tipping point for success, and the really disappointing thing is that by cancelling it this year, it is basically a start-up from square one should we secure funding for 2013.
I am sorry that we find ourselves having to make this difficult decision, as 'Ruapehu' is one the events we love putting on, and coming back to visit each year, but despite our best efforts, it won't be happening this year.
Thank you all for your ongoing support, for entering the race, and coming back year after year. Thanks also to the handful of locals in Ohakune who realise what great potential the event has, and a huge thank you to the team at BikeNZ who are doing such a great job driving the future of cycling in New Zealand, and who have supported and promoted the Ruapehu Cycle Classic for 2012. I am sorry we couldn't repay the faith.
Everyone will receive a full refund - details to follow in separate email.
Ruapehu Cycle Classic