It appears bike racing — even mass start events — can happen safely despite the lingering presence of Covid-19 and its variants.
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association announced this week that after hosting four large bike races so far this year, they’ve had zero reported cases of the virus.
“It has been inspiring to see how much work our professional race promoters put into their events to make them safe while maintaining the raw excitement and energy we all feel at a bike race,” OBRA Executive Director Chuck Kenlan said in a statement Thursday.
It was just 13 months ago when OBRA feared the worst. At the start of a busy racing season, the organization that relies on racing fees and licenses to pay their bills laid off staff and dozens of events were slashed from the calendar.
A few months later they came up with a way to address concerns: Race organizers would be required to submit a comprehensive race-day plan that would be vetted by a special team of racing and medical officials.
Despite having protocols in place, virus fears were so strong that only one race took place for an entire year between March 7th 2020 and March 6th, 2021.
In the past two months, things have gotten much better and it appears that race promoters and participants have adjusted very well to new safety protocols.
OBRA says there have been a total of 1,192 racers in the four events held since the first week of March. Each event was extremely popular and several of them sold out. The best news? No reported cases of Covid.
Race-day adjustments include: no on-site registration, mandatory masks and social distancing, solo or small group starts, limited/no spectators, no-contact feedzones.
If all goes well, more normal racing could return later in the summer. But even with current rules, it looks like lots of folks are having a great time racing their bikes.
Check out the upcoming schedule. And have fun!
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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