In a previous post, I brought forward my costs over the last couple of years of participating in ski and bike racing. Here are some strategies to keep costs down.
Limit the driving: Turns out, I had spent a lot of money on fuel and repairs for my vehicle. I've switched to a newer and more fuel efficient vehicle, and I'm hoping the fuel and repair savings will pay off that purchase soon. Additionally, I could carpool more, though it can be difficult to play by someone's schedule. Finding effective ways to train in the city right from the door of my house is something that I've gotten better at over the last year. I picked the location of my house so that I could bike to work and was close to the places where I train.
With this in mind, don't forget that the main reason we mountain bike and ski is to play in the mountains; don't be afraid to treat yourself. But try to make those weekend trips worth it by looking for good weather and maximising quality activity time.
It's not a deal if it doesn't fit: The sale rack can be tempting, but it's only worth buying something that is EXACTLY what you wanted before. Otherwise you will have to suffer with an ill fitting product, or take the loss when you eventually buy what you wanted in the first place. Buy it right, don't buy it twice.
Camp: Stop staying at hotels in the summer. I once raced with Catharine Pendrel (multiple World Champion Mountain biker, Olympic medalist). She sleeps in her van in parking lots. She got into mountain bike racing because it meant she got to go camping with her family. In the winter, look for friend's couches, hostels, or airbnb.
Don't stock up: Stocking up makes sense for food, and some "timeless" wear items like gloves and socks. Stuff goes obsolete. Bike technology advances, rules change. Don't get left with obsolete stuff that you will eventually have to sell for a loss.
Don't race more than you have to: I get it, I was young once and believed that I deserved to be in a better category than I was at the current time and I chased points. Now, I can tell you after 5 or so seasons of racing elite, I could care less when I upgraded. I wish I had won more podium prizes rather than accumulating points with 8th place finishes. Race only when you are feeling good and when course conditions are good. Think of the cost of racing being not just the entry fee, but the gas, food, and hotel stay required as well.
Don't ride or race in the rain or mud: Increased risk of crashing and breaking stuff, increased wear and tear on bike parts plus additional clothing requirements. Stick to the road if you must.
Cross train: While there is some benefit to specificity, even from a performance standpoint, I believe it is impossible to replicate the demands of mountain bike racing by just going for a mountain bike ride. Long climbs can seem uncomfortable after only mountain biking on the short, punchy climbs found in Edmonton. You wont be breaking bike parts in the gym or out on your running shoes!