There maybe light at the end of the tunnel for amateur cyclists hoping for a return of gran fondo racing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Next weekend gran fondo racing resumes for the first time anywhere in the world after 3 months of lockdown due to COVID-19.
The 7th edition of Ride The Gap gran fondo in the Southwestern region of the United States is taking place as scheduled on Saturday 6 June in Enoch, Utah, where local officials feel the spread of COVID-19 is under control.
Ride The Gap promoter, Red Rock Bicycle Company, is hosting the mass gathering sporting event and offering 100, 75, 55 and 30 mile routes on roads used in the Tour of Utah professional race.
Over 225 amateur cyclists are registered for the event, with the majority traveling from the Salt Lake City metropolitan area which is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Riders from as far away as Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Kansas and California are also registered.
Ride The Gap has issued the following “New Normal” COVID-19 procedures and guidelines for riders to adhere to on race day:
- We plan to adhere to all state and local guidelines for mass gathering numbers. We are also flexible and willing to adhere to any regulations that each venue may have.
- All riders are encouraged to bring their own hydration and nutrition, but we will have rest stops and both nutrition and hydration available, but no self serve. We will have volunteers to help you with both.
- We plan to do rolling starts according to mileage options and we will send out an email on Thursday, June 4th with more details. No mass starts.
- We will separate the starts for each mileage option by 15 minutes. This will help to reduce traffic and reduce grouping and passing.
- No on-site registration at all (just numbers pick up). Online registration will close Thursday, June 4th at 12pm MST or when we hit our cap.
- After finishing, riders can pick up their medals at the finish line. We will rely on riders to social distance and be mindful of other riders.
- Post-meal will be a boxed lunch with drinks.
- No Questions Asked Cancellation Policy. If you don’t feel well, please stay home and we will refund your money.
The event has not release guidelines on how riders should practice social distancing while on the bike during the race, but the State of Utah recommends riders stay at least 6 feet apart and USA Cycling does not currently recommend riding in large groups with people that you don’t know.
Race details and registration available here.