Since the start of the year, I've been 100% committed to racing bikes. I waffled a bit on whether I should get a job--and even tried a bit--but in the end I know that not having a job outside of racing helped my racing immensely. Recovery is every bit as important as the training, so being able to just sleep for 3 days after a stage-race trip, and getting 9 hours of sleep nightly, has made a huge impact on my racing. In school, I was ecstatic to get 6-7 hours of sleep after a weekend of racing, and my "off" days usually included 2 hurried trips to and from campus on my fixie. So yeah, proper rest has made a huge difference in my ability to stay on form.
But rest ain't cheap.
Since I moved to Colorado, I've been logging all of my expenses, whether cash or otherwise, so that I can track expenditures on various items. Now is a great time to do this breakdown, as today marks 8 months that I've been living here. 35 weeks.
So here it is, in descending order:
Rent. I moved into a great location for a great price. $3200
Food. Gotta eat! My diet has been 80-85% good for you food, 15-20% good for my wallet food. $2800. That's about $350/mo, or about $80 per week. This would be a bit lower, but you've gotta eat out a lot on race trips. It's also consistent with food costs at school, which were about $75/week.
Gas. $1150. 2/3 of that is from my 2 trips home for races and to see friends and family. The rest is driving to/from local races. Aside from going home or to races, I've driven maybe 400 miles in the last 8 months. My truck spends a lot of time not moving, and it's great.
Bike stuff. I'm so glad I've reached the point in racing where I don't have to buy everything myself. Excluding the $1500 for my time trial bike that carried me to 2 top-10's in NRC TT's and a top-10 at nationals, and several other smaller wins, I've only spent $200 on bike stuff, and that's mostly chamois cream. Also, I've spent $400 on entry fees to races that aren't official "team" races.
Entertainment. I don't go out a lot, because I can't afford to. Over 8 months, I've spent $211 on movies/music/bowling/golf/etc. And half of that was birthday money from my parents. Books are much cheaper than movies, by the way.
Now, then, how about income?
I've been selling a lot of my stuff on ebay--predominantly sunglasses and helmets that I don't use any more. I've also been selling a lot of stuff for friends on ebay for commission. Also, I continue to make money off of the job I once had over 2 years ago, thanks to income tax returns, profit-sharing, and vacation time cash-outs....
All those combined account for about 40% of my income this year. The rest is race winnings. All said and done, this year I made about $4000. And I didn't start the year with a ton of money in the bank.
It doesn't take much math to figure out that I couldn't have survived this year--or at least been nearly as successful at it--without the support of my parents. And thanks to them, next year I'll be paid to race my bike; next year's financial wrap-up will be much more cheerful!
So, to all the aspiring bike racers out there, be prepared to live frugally and still run out of money. But as I've told everyone this year, there's no more enjoyable way to slowly run out of money than to do it racing your bike around the country and [next year] the world.