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Notes from the road: VIP, BC and EBAY

By now, most of you know the way this column works. Something comes acrossmy desk, and I write about it. Well, the latest tidbit to come in acrossthe vast Internet was a press release from Threshold Sports, trumpetingthe availability of VIP tickets for the upcoming New York City CyclingChampionship for the low, low price of, take a deep breath now … $125.U.S. Now, if you’re like me, this sort of item raises all sorts of questions:Are people actually buying these tickets? What do you get for you $125?Who’s buying these tickets? A quick read of the press release answers a few questions.

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By now, most of you know the way this column works. Something comes acrossmy desk, and I write about it. Well, the latest tidbit to come in acrossthe vast Internet was a press release from Threshold Sports, trumpetingthe availability of VIP tickets for the upcoming New York City CyclingChampionship for the low, low price of, take a deep breath now … $125.U.S. Now, if you’re like me, this sort of item raises all sorts of questions:Are people actually buying these tickets? What do you get for you $125?Who’s buying these tickets?

A quick read of the press release answers a few questions. “Usuallyreserved for major sponsors, television and event executives … [t]he benefitsinclude access to the catered VIP area, live coverage on closed circuitTV monitors, elevated viewing areas and complimentary food and beveragethroughout the day.”

About a month ago, a friend of ours invited my wife and me out to aballgame at Coors Field in Denver. Little did any of us know, but our seatswere in the special “Colorado Clubhouse” section of the stadium, directlybehind home plate, and with access to the under-the-stadium bar and restaurantarea. Available to us that day were a catered buffet lunch before the game(which we passed on) and complimentary at-your-seat snack service (whichwe took advantage of). We had scored the tickets through connections, butthe face price was right there on the ticket: $135.

Late in the game, as we sat in the air-conditioned indoor area to escapethe day’s sweltering heat, I commented to my wife on how much our toddlerwas enjoying his unique experience at the ballpark, adding “and he’ll probablynever see this again in his life.”

Sure enough, when we returned to Coors a few weeks later, we were about450 feet away, in our $7 right-field grandstand seats.

Now, I love watching the bike races as much as the next guy, but somethingtells me that even your biggest bike geeks might shy away from a VIP ticketcarrying a $125 price tag. Because at the core, cyclists, no matter whatthe demographics might say, are a bunch of cheapskates and schwag hounds.Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a masters racer on a $4000 bike queuingup like an eight-year-old to get a free PowerBar sample at the local bike-raceexpo. So the thought of ponying up 125 for prime seats at a U.S. criteriumsomehow goes against the genetic code.

All I know is that you can buy a lot of hot dogs on the streets of NewYork for $125 ($500 for a family of four?). And I have a feeling that theVIP area will still be largely populated by major sponsors, televisionand event executives.

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Race organizers in British Columbia have worked hard to prop up theirthree July events, the Tour de Delta, the Tour de Gastown and Tour de WhiteRock, and its paid dividends, as they’ve attracted top-notch fields to“B.C. Super Cycling Week.” On Wednesday night, Health Net’s Gord Frasertook the sprint win ahead of Prime Alliance’s Alex Candelario at Gastownin Vancouver, while Ina Teutenberg (Saturn) soloed to the win in the women’srace. Earlier in the week, Will Frischkorn (Saturn) won the overall omniumtitle at Tour de Delta and Teutenberg won the women’s overall.

The racing’s not over yet, though. The week concludes this weekend withthe Tour de White Rock in Vancouver. It’s a similar format to the Tourde Delta: hillclimb, criterium and road race. Fraser said the road raceis “probably the hardest single day race in North America,” adding, “Itcouldbe a world championships course.”

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Currently up for bid on eBay is the chance to coverNASCAR’s Pennsylvania 500 for FoxSports.com. Also up for bid is thechance to cover the Brickyard 400. As of this morning, bidding for thePennsylvania 500 was up to $205.50. Sports Illustrated reportsthat the winning bid for covering last weekend’s NASCAR race was $310 froma man in Seattle.

Heck, I’d be willing to let my column go for half that. If anybody outthere wants to write a future column for $150, just drop a note to VN.com.Ride your bike to the NYC race and watch it from the curb, and you canthink of $150 as what you saved on a cab ride and a VIP ticket.