Tuesday, January 04, 2022

The State Of The Gravel Scene 2022: Crashing The Party - Part 3

 With the start of each New Year I have taken the opportunity to speak out my opinions about the condition of gravel cycling in the USA. This started as a series I posted in 2018. I've added to this ever since. 

This will mark my fifth year of offering my opinions on things. Keep in mind- these are only my thoughts and they may not reflect those of yours or many involved in gravel cycling. 

There are two previous posts in this series. You can see the first HERE and the second one HERE.  Today's post marks the last in this series for 2022.

Welcome to what I call "Registration Season". If you haven't noticed, a LOT of gravel events seem to choose the time of the New Year holiday to open registration for their particular event. Why it is this way may have something to do with New Year's resolutions or just that people often set goals around this time of the year for themselves. Maybe it is because we have nothing better to do, seeing how it is cold and events are pretty sparse during the Winter months in terms of gravel. 

But for whatever reason this is, I have noted that this hasn't really been such a big deal due to COVID since January 2020. Last year events were very cautious concerning their messaging, saying that COVID may impact their event status, and that any plans made in January 2021 may not come to fruition later on depending upon the status of the pandemic. 

Are the signs pointing to the end of the pandemic, or are we still in the midst of it?
But curiously, even though I would submit that our situation is as tenuous as ever concerning the pandemic, you don't hear or read a pip about pandemic protocols, cautionary statements about possible postponements or cancellations, or any sort of 'wait and see' event status statements. Nope! It's all "we're wide open for business here!' with no apparent nod to what is going on this Winter. 

Take for instance the situation in Europe where UCI World Cup cyclo cross races have been prohibited from having spectators and some events have been cancelled. Or how about the professional sports scene where NFL and NBA games have had to be rescheduled due to many players being put on COVID protocol status. Did you hear that the NHL hockey leaders have suggested that athletes not attend the Winter Olympics? 

Yet we hear no cautionary tales from the cycling scene. Hmm.....

They say 'Patience is a virtue", but I guess we ran out of that as a society and in particular, as cyclists. "The Show Must Go On!", but at what expense? There are conflicting reports, misunderstood information, and maybe most importantly- much we need to learn yet about COVID-19. And of course, we don't want to be all fearful and pull back so hard that we cause more damage in that way than we are trying to avoid. 

Balance is hard, but with a pandemic still crashing the gravel party, I think it might be prudent to at least acknowledge the fact that this thing is not over yet with regard to promoting events. Certainly, I am with those who are hopeful we can all put this behind us and that we can enjoy our activities again without this pandemic hanging over our heads like a black cloud. But that isn't reality right now. 

A little levity, a little injection of the current realities, might prove to be wise later on in making better decisions for ourselves and those around us. 


The morning this posted I received an email from our local hospital pleading with us to have some compassion on the local healthcare providers. Why? Because they are being overwhelmed with COVID patients and most of these are not vaccinated at all. 

The situation remains tenuous, and again- Why don't we see any recognition of this in the gravel scene now (January 2022) ?

So, just another bleak reminder that we aren't out of the woods yet, but for some reason, the gravel events being promoted now seem to be turning a blind eye to this.

That's the end of this series for '22. Tomorrow I'll be back on the regular blog schedule. Thanks again for reading "Guitar Ted Productions".

1 comment:

onoffrhodes.com said...

I won't be attending any "large" (or small) events, free or fee based, for the third straight year now. I will continue to ride by myself or with a small group of my friends. Just my 2 cents.