Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Elephant In The Room

Avoid large gatherings, they are telling us. Hmm..... what about....?
Okay, it's time to talk turkey about this COVID-19 thing and events. Specifically, gravel events. Should the big ones be postponed, or cancelled? Sound nutty? Well, consider the following.....
  • Here in Iowa the big three universities, Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI, are closing up shop for two weeks after spring break. Total of three weeks. 
  • Grinnell College is sending all their students home when spring break starts and conducting classes via on-line for the remainder of the semester. 
  • Waterloo Iowa cancelled the annual Irish Fest which takes place the first week of August. 
And I could go on, but the point is, obvious large gatherings of people are being frowned upon as officials try to manage the spread of this virus. Therefore it is not a far fetched idea that, say, a city like Emporia, Kansas might advise that the Dirty Kanza modify its practices, postpone the event, or even cancel it altogether.

I'm not going to take sides here on the veracity of the reasons for all of this, but all I do know is that there are actions being taken to reduce large gatherings of people, and some big gravel events have just that. I also know that ideas from colleges holding basketball games with no audiences, having auto and moto racing events postponed and cancelled, and that reduced media contact with athletes are all real things or considered for reality. The NBA suspended the remainder of the 2020 season just last night. Heck, even Sea Otter, the cycling festival, got pushed off until October. But I'm not hearing or seeing anything about the big gravel events. This seems......odd. 

These are strange times folks. I have no answers, but I think its high time we start looking at what might be best practice for something like a gravel event where people from all over the U.S. and abroad are gathering in one place within close proximity of each other. Is it a problem, or are we just overreacting?

Whichever way it is, I think the conversation needs to be started.


Admin said...

Hi GT, reading your doubts about the Corona from Europe, where Italy is completely closed and other countries will follow soon, i think you are understimating the impact that all this will have in the US too... the most plausible thing is that in 2 weeks also in Iowa people will be discouraged (or even proibited) to get out of home, no way for big gatherings of people.

graveldoc said...

Common sense best practices to thwart the spread of viral illness have been learned from diseases such as influenza. Good hand washing, contain your cough: cough into your flexed elbow. Avoid crowds if you're ill wih fever, cough, and ypical symptoms. Aovid close contact such as hugging, kissing, and hand shaking.

Ben said...

Last week if asked if I though DK would be canceled I'd have said no way. This week...who knows! The World Cup Nordic Ski Race in Minneapolis this weekend was just canceled! An outdoor event! With Life Time being the owner of DK they have a lot to think about.

teamdarb said...

This is being done. I have run across a number of events cancelled or reduced to local riders only. I think why it may not be in the news is so that cycling specific media can use the reports as a way to drive periodical sales later. I do not have an avid social media presence, but I have out and about run ins with folks who are more worried about if they will be refunded, postponed, and/or how will the qualify for fall events. I have met a few randonneurs .... you know the cyclist sitting at the coffee house with all their bikes on the sidewalk ala BMW adventure motorcycle riders..... since the weather has played off and on chatted of PNW events having been postponed. Heck, family reunions are being pushed pass August. It is happening to the gravel scene. Someone has put an embargo on reporting it. Bike sales, investors, manufactoring.

Anon said...

I agree with the first comment from Europe. Our country has been slow to respond and until last night it was actively dismissing the severity of the disease. We need to take this very seriously. And we need to stop comparing it to the flu. It is not the flu. The flu never shut entire countries down in less than three weeks. We are at the very beginning of this illness and failing to act now will result in a much greater problem in a very short amount of time.

nellborg said...

Tough to know how serious this virus will be to the general US population and when the worst will be over. As a physician, I know that some precautions are smart and responsible, but I'm not overly concerned at this point.

In any case, I'm glad that the DK and other gravel events haven't over-reacted and jumped on the panic bandwagon because doing so and cancelling their event seems like a pointless thing to do this early - with the emphasis on "this early". All the entrants are going to be out training for the whole season, anyway, so it's not like we don't know whether or not we should be out training or not. We've all got our DK reservations/plans - at least those that are driving there. We all have allotted time off of work. The domestic airlines will likely be running normal or near normal schedules. Nothing to lose if the organizers wait until a couple / few weeks before the events to make the call unless there are large expenses on their end.

Plus, with gravel events being outside, and on bikes, probably the highest chance of viral transmission would be by pen sharing at the registration table when we fill out forms, getting caught in a snot blast from the rider in front of you, and around post event shared food, and hand shaking. Those things seem to be easy to find workarounds.