Cycling is big business now. Not only the bikes, but there are a lot of spinoff industries that are doing well ("coaching" included?). Marketing and money has taken over the sport. In the affluent West L.A. area, I see new riders on bikes that are easily ten times more expensive than my trusty Centurion pro. And they will buy any new wheelset or gadget that comes along.....lighter, heavier, does not matter.
I am torn on the toe clip issue, as far as it being more efficient/better. I know most track sprinters still use them. I think clipless may give a rider a false sense of security, in that by being able to put one's foot down (and save yourself), it does not force the rider to constantly think ahead.
Locally, most races are flat crits and a couple of pounds does not make a difference. Try explaining that to a new junior kid though. It's tough to get new racers thinking about the engine, with all the advertising hype. Carbon saddle with absolutely no padding? We got 'em. I have a couple of riders on custom geometry steel bikes and I'm suddenly Mr Retro. I guess I am. But you should see the eyes light when I hand over my Fiamme Ergal front 36H front wheel to some techno weenie. I could not give away a front Mavic GL 330 laced to a DA hubset to any of the local racers.
Where was I? I want to go back to the 70's when racing was slower and sane. When racers "used their brakes a bit more" like Lance says racing is like in Europe (unlike the Tour de Georgia).