Ever signed up to do a cyclocross race advertised at $20 and somehow it ended up costing you $25? Yeah, us too, and it’s freaking annoying.
The service is disguised as a free social network for athletes, with some cool features. It allows you to connect with others signed up for the same events, share photos and training plans and even link up your own training efforts through MapMyFitness. That brings your training progress into view as the event looms, and lets others encourage, fear or mock you depending on how well you’ve prepared.
For promoters, it lets you create an event, share updates via push notifications to mobile devices and even send results to participants and their fans in near real time. And all of the event management tools are available on mobile devices, making it easy to keep things running smooth without being tethered to a laptop.
For athletes, you can see how you and others finished (with your friends’ times being highlighted), give kudos and message other participants and keep up to date on post-race happenings.
But we think the real magic is in the elimination of “processing” fees that often jack up the entry price by as much as 20 percent…
Since registration is online, that means credit cards, which have inescapable merchant fees inherent in their use. Athletepath charges a flat 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction, which is an amount easily absorbed by the promoter and doesn’t have to be outwardly passed on to the athlete. They claim that reduces the costs to the promoter by as much as 70%, too, so everyone wins. Now a $20 race actually does cost $20. Brilliant.
Now, if only we could convince promoters to drop the USA Cycling sanctioning, we’d be entering a glorious era of truly fee-free racing!