>>1189383>Road racing requires roads to be closed down and you have to pay stupid amounts of money to participate.
I've been in road races where the roads were not closed; there's a centerline rule in effect in that case, which sucks, but you deal with it.
One of the things that race organizers pay for is for the CHP to provide safety personnel on the course. They station officers at intersections to direct motor vehicle traffic and advise drivers that there is a bicycle race in progress and that they have to be careful. They use CHP so people will actually listen. Traffic in the opposite direction of the race on the same roads isn't affected.
Race entry fees cover the costs of CHP support, county permits, insurance for the event, rental of any space that requires it, etc, some to cover miscellaneous costs and salaries of the staff, and of course to provide cash prizes for the winners and others who place high enough. If you can't afford $40 for a race I understand, I'm not exactly flush with cash either, but it is what it is. If you can't afford it then I guess you can 'compete' on Strava instead for free, which isn't even close to the same thing but that also is what it is. Save up your money instead of paying hundreds of dollars to shave a few grams off your bike instead and maybe you can compete in a real race.