|The Gent's Race has been postponed to an as yet undetermined date|
Well, that's totally wrong thinking, and it smacks of selfishness and denial. Sorry.....not sorry. Here's why......
First off, the authorities in matters regarding this pandemic all say that we must maintain a distance of six feet or more from each other. Thinking that any gravel event start, just as one example, is going to be maintained in that sort of fashion- distancing each other at a start line- is unrealistic thinking. Not to mention packet pick-up, or registration practices, which could be side-stepped, but at great effort and expense. Probably not practical at any rate. And remember, this virus lives on surfaces for long periods of time. What event can guarantee all surfaces will be sanitized with up to hundreds of participants showing up? An event like my beloved Gent's Race, with well over 150 riders, just couldn't happen under such circumstances. So that event has been postponed.
Then you have food and drink. Let's say that you have a self-supported ethos for your event. Well, how about all those chances to pick up a virus at the local convenience store? Or share what you unwittingly have with a local Grandma or Grandpa? Okay- let's say you have fully stocked aid stations. How do you insure a safe food and drink supply? That's an extra wrinkle. Could be done, but again- not every event can do this.
|How would you enforce a six foot separation rule? Image by Jon Duke.|
These issues get bigger and exponentially harder to control as field sizes get bigger. Is your event 20-50 people? Well, maybe you could pull it off. Try doing this with 250 people. Much, much more difficult. Now try it with 1000 people. Yeah......impossible. This alone is reason number one why events have to reschedule or cancel due to this virus. We just cannot take chances like that.
This leads me to what the events in the near future should be considering, and what the difficulties in postponing or cancelling are for the big events. In my opinion, no one knows when we will get an "all clear" on the COVID-19 virus restrictions. I've been trying to read any expert opinions that I can find, and most say that we are in for a long haul in regard to this pandemic. Estimates now are in the six month area. SIX MONTHS! You know that is now pushing on toward October? In my opinion, it doesn't make any sense to hold any gravel event if this is the case until October at the earliest. Why? Why take the risk and maybe make it so this pandemic has to last longer? That's why.
We also do not know what medical science may do to mitigate any long term concerns. If we get some sort of vaccine, and it can be administered to all the population (unlikely in a very short period of time, but still...), then maybe we "get out of jail" before October, but you have to figure, "what are the chances of that?"
Again- no one knows.
And what if you are a bigger event with registration already sewn up and you have $$$$'s invested which cannot be liquidated? What if your host city has a big stake in benefits from your potential event? Well, then you have a very difficult decision to make. I do not envy you, if you are event directors of such events. But.....please do the right thing sooner than later. In my view, it would be better to not have the events, lose money, and be wrong about the danger than to forge ahead and expose folks to this virus. And by the way, this goes for group rides as well. But yeah, I get it. Guitar Ted can say whatever the hell he wants and he doesn't have any skin in the game.
Right. But you'll have to make up your own mind and remember- It won't only be you that will have to live with your consequences. It will be your community, and the communities of the participants in your event. The bigger that event is, the more influence you have. That's a BIG responsibility. Wouldn't it make more sense to make a decision based on an overabundance of caution?
Tell me I'm wrong.......