It was never going to be easy to run a race series in 2020. Everyone who overcame this summer’s challenges to race their bikes with the ACC deserves an award, but only a few have earned the title of series individual winners. Congratulations to those who completed all the qualifications for series points and especially those fastest few men, women, juniors, and masters. Here are your 2020 series champions!
The Aspen Cycling Club (ACC) is permitted to run mountain and road bike races within Pitkin, Eagle, and Garfield counties. We will only run races on trails and roads for which we are permitted. We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for volunteers and racers. To ensure our events are safe and healthy we have developed the following COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Race Directors are responsible for implementing this plan. Our goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 at our events and in our community, and that requires full cooperation among our board, staff, volunteers, and racers.
Only through this cooperative effort can we establish and maintain the safety and health of staff, participants, and the community.
Race Directors are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Race Directors have our full support in enforcing the provisions of this policy.
Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Colorado Department of Health, and Pitkin County guidelines related to COVID-19 and addresses:
- limits to gathering size;
- controls for social distancing;
- hygiene and respiratory etiquette;
- cleaning and disinfecting;
- communications and
Gatherings at races are limited to fifty people or less. Race entries are capped at 50 participants and there will be no friends, family, parents, or spectators allowed.
To limit the gathering size in start and finish areas all races are run as time trials, with racer start times spaced apart by 60 seconds. With start times spaced apart by 60 seconds and finish times anticipated under 50 minutes for each racer, no more than 50 riders will be racing at any given moment. Start lists are posted by 10:00pm the night before and racers are asked to show up at their assigned start time. Racers who show up early are sent away and asked to return at their assigned time. No more than ten racers are in the start or finish area at any one time.
Staff and volunteers will be limited to only those essential to run the race and manage the safety of racers.
Social distancing of six feet will be implemented and maintained between volunteers and racers. All staff and volunteers are provided with masks and gloves to wear while working. Racers are instructed to wear a mask when approaching staff and volunteers.
There are no race-day / on-site registration and race entry – no exceptions. Racers must register and pay online. ACC retains participant information for 30 days so that information can be used if contact tracing is necessary. In order to limit social contact for our staff and volunteers racers receive their race numbers at their first race and keep their race numbers for all races for the entire season.
Signage, barriers, and markings indicate where racers are to line up and maintain six feet of distance between racers in the start area.
Riders will be spread out across miles of road or trail, thus limiting mid-race contact between riders. In order to limit passing on the course racers are grouped by category and the categories will go out in order of anticipated fastest to slowest category. Racers are instructed that they must announce and provide space when overtaking a rider ahead of them, and the overtaken rider must also accommodate to the extent possible.
Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
Hand-sanitizer dispensers are available to volunteers and racers at every start and finish location so they can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water. Race Directors monitor and replenish as needed.
Volunteers and racers are being instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching their face, in particular their mouth, nose and eyes, with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in provided trash receptacles and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward. Respiratory etiquette is supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available.
Staff and volunteers must check for symptoms at home and report symptoms immediately to Race Directors via email. Race Directors document all symptoms. Staff and volunteers exhibiting symptoms must stay home and seek testing. High-risk individuals are discouraged from participating. Individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are instructed not to participate and to stay home.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Regular housekeeping practices are being implemented, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces and equipment. All equipment including tables, chairs, timing equipment, and signage is wiped down and disinfected after every race.
Communications and Training
This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan was communicated to Race Directors June 16, 2020 and necessary training was provided. Additional communication will be ongoing. Training will be provided to volunteers at each race. Instructions will be communicated to racers and the community the ACC website and posted signage at races.
The Board of Directors is to monitor how effectively the plan has been implemented. Race Directors are to work through this new plan, recommend changes, and update the training as necessary. This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan has been certified by ACC and was posted on June 16, 2020. It will be updated as necessary.
ACC permits include course options for both time trials and mass start races. In order to comply with current reopening guidelines we will run all races as time trials with a maximum of 50 racers. In the event that social distancing guidelines are relaxed we will amend our plan to run mass start races with additional racers.
In response to the COVID-19 situation, the Aspen Cycling Club is offering two membership options in 2020.
Because many of us in our community have lost their jobs, had their businesses closed, or simply have no work available at the moment, we are losing a significant amount of club sponsorship income for the 2020 season. In response, we are opening up membership registration at this time for folks who want to become members for the 2020 season regardless of whether or not we are able to put on any races. We hope and plan to offer a slightly shortened season, but situation continues to change rapidly and we can’t guarantee that we will be able to race.
Member-sponsorship will be the same cost as last season at $135, and it is an opportunity to support the ACC and help ensure our financial health for those of you who have the means to do so. Please understand that in this particular round of membership registration, the fees are non-refundable and will be regarded as donations to the club if we are unable to provide any races for this season. If we do race this season, your member-sponsor payment would cover all 2020 race entry fees, and we will recognize your donation on our website and in advertisements.
We thank you in advance for these generous actions and are grateful to have folks like you in our community.
For racers who cannot or are not interested in purchasing a member-sponsorship, we will offer a reduced-rate membership option the week before racing begins. We will wait until the last minute to publish this option in order to adjust the membership cost based on the number of races we know we’ll be able to run.
2020 Season Update
On behalf of the ACC Board of Directors, I would like to thank you for your patience as we revise our plans for the 2020 season.
Over the past two months, the ACC Board has put together multiple season calendars, only to run up against road blocks that have forced us to start over. Needless to say, we had hoped to have greater clarity for our upcoming season by this point in time, but the complexity of the public health situation has required us to implement more substantial changes than anticipated.
We will send out further correspondence and announcements in the coming days, but in the meantime, here is a quick update.
Public Health Situation
Although the state of Colorado has instituted a “Safer at Home” order, which relaxes the “Stay at Home” order, Pitkin County remains under a “Stay at Home” order until May 9. Even under “Safer at Home” guidelines, state and county health officials are still mandating that public gatherings must be limited to ten or fewer people for at least the next four to six weeks.
Gatherings, even at limited sizes, will require social distancing protocols, which are incompatible with mass-start bike races. According to Pitkin County and Eagle County, we should expect to be under social distancing orders for the entire summer, even as gathering-size limitations are hopefully made more relaxed.
Our plan at this time is to offer a series of time trials — both road and mountain — to get back to racing while also practicing social distancing.
To meet social distancing requirements, we are updating our registration systems to allow for 100% online registration, pre-assigned time trial start times, and registration caps. This is being done in an effort to avoid race-day contact between racers and our staff.
We do not yet know when we will be able to begin time trials, but we are finalizing permits for race options every Wednesday beginning in June. As public health guidelines are updated throughout the summer, we will adjust the schedule accordingly by either canceling or running races.
In the meantime, we are working on virtual challenges in the month of May to get people moving, motivated, and competing from afar on their own.
As soon as our new registration pages are live, we will send another update with a tentative race calendar, updated policies, and membership/registration instructions.
Many thanks to the cycling community for your continued support. Stay on the lookout for more information in the coming days.
Board President, Aspen Cycling Club
These are stressful times for the Roaring Fork Valley, and on behalf of the Aspen Cycling Club board of directors, I hope you are all finding some joy in the outdoors. I’m impressed and inspired by the number of people remaining active (with social distance!) on the roads, trails, and skin track.
In a typical year, we would be ramping up to release our season calendar and open registration at the beginning of April, but we have chosen to delay that this year, hopefully only for a couple weeks.
As the COVID-19 situation rapidly changes, we’ve been in contact with local officials. Currently, here is where we stand:
The latest Pitkin County Public Health guidelines limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer (including staff and participants) until April 17, with the possibility of this timeline being extended. We also received direction from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that we should plan to adhere to a maximum gathering size of 50 people (including racers, staff, volunteers, and spectators) until at least May 10. Our first race was slated to occur on May 6, so our season is already impacted. Even within the 50-person limit, social distancing would be required, including six feet of space between race attendees, as well as a requirement for hand-washing stations at every event. Under these recommendations, we would also have to restrict attendance of higher-risk groups, meaning racers over the age of 60 would be discouraged from participating.
A major concern for Pitkin County is also the current strain on our local medical system. While crashes requiring medical attention are very rare at ACC events, the potential for such an incident is worrisome. Most medical resources in our valley are currently being devoted to fighting COVID-19, and it is critical that the infrastructures of our health care and first responders are not overburdened. Additionally, there would be the potential for first responders to become infected if they were to provide hands-on treatment to an infected-but-not-symptomatic rider.
As we assess these restrictions, we also have to keep in mind our financial resources, liability issues, and ethical considerations.
While we hope our network of sponsors and donors will continue to support us despite the impacts of COVID-19, we anticipate losses due to the challenging economic situation. As many of you know, the majority of our financing comes from sponsorships, so we may need to consider reductions to the 2020 season if our sponsorship revenue decreases past a certain level. We are also considering our options for membership discounts or refunds in case either becomes necessary.
Finally, we believe the cycling community in our valley should lead by example, and we, among other local organizations, have a responsibility to set the tone as we navigate our way through this outbreak. If limiting group rides to a couple of your best friends and remaining six feet apart—or eliminating group rides altogether—continues to be the most effective way to combat COVID-19, we will follow the rules and encourage all of you to do the same.
We are not calling off any events or modifying our season just yet, but we are looking at options for a variety of scenarios, including alternative race formats, a delayed season, and—worst-case scenario—virtual challenges. We love our race series and know that Wednesday-night racing is one of the things that makes our community so special, so we’re doing all we can to make this summer as exciting as years past.
The next ACC board meeting is scheduled for April 6, and we will share another update shortly thereafter, hopefully with a more solidified plan for the summer. Until then, stay safe, stay active, and keep training for warmer, virus-free months!
Board President, Aspen Cycling Club