Do you feel lucky?
Better bring your lucky rabbit’s foot if planning to attend the only surviving 2020 Belgian Waffle Ride gravel event in the United States, BWR Cedar City Utah, on 17 October.
The State of Utah is in the midst of a pandemic storm, a record setting surge of COVID19 cases in the United States. New cases have been spiking for over a month in the sparsely populated state and now average over 1000 per day with no statewide requirements to wear face masks or social distance.
13.7% of all COVID19 tests in the state are coming back positive, double what the Federal White House Task Force set as the “Red Zone” threshold.
“Our hospitals are full, and we don’t see things changing at the government level, or at the local level,” said Dr. Eddie Stenehjem, an infectious diseases physician for Intermountain Healthcare, the largest operator of hospitals in Utah.
Roughly one out of every 160 Utahns is infected with the virus right now. And they’re spreading at an alarmingly high rate, with every two infected people on average infecting three more.
USA Cycling, the national governing body for cycling, already cancelled the 2020 Masters National Road Championship scheduled for August in Cedar City due to the virus.
Belgian Waffle Ride organizer, Monuments of Cycling, is committed to hold the event and says it has a strong blueprint for safety that includes: 1) Not hosting any indoor gatherings. 2) Touchless and socially distanced registration/check-in. 3) Socially distanced start in groups smaller than fifty. 4) Everyone must wear masks through the initial neutral zone, at all feed zones and post event. 5) Body temperature will be checked at registration and contact tracing data logged. 6) Food will be individually packaged and feed zones will have self-serve options for hydration.
Basically, the organizer is doing everything within their power to keep riders safe during the event.
Unfortunately, the organizer cannot keep riders safe off the bike in Cedar City, know as “Festival City USA.”
As a major tourism gateway and college town the city has a track record during the pandemic of putting personal freedom and profit above public safety. They have held numerous mass attendance events – concerts, parades, sports, theater and even Oktoberfest, all without facemask or social distancing requirements.
As the first major gravel event in the USA since March, cyclists are pumped up and enthusiastic about racing through Utah’s famous red rock landscape. Based on past BWR events, they can expect BWR Cedar City to be epic, epically hard, though dodging the virus might prove to be even harder.
Good luck and remember to bring a mask and rabbit’s foot.