Across the region, events of all shapes and sizes are facing an incredible test. Some of the biggest cycling events in the world, in the country, and in our great state, on ice.
Right now, the real world is splashing a sense of perspective on daily life. It’s a jarring thing to see schools closed, our restaurants and our coffee shops shut or to-go only. For plenty of us, working from home has offered new challenges and a sense of isolation that, while necessary, makes for a very changing experience. Races like the Barry-Roubaix have long served as something to look forward to in the middle of a busy Monday afternoon. Now, canceled and postponed events add to the growing sense of alarm.
It’s going to be okay. While frustrating, disappointing, and inconvenient, it’s more important than ever to sign up for races and events, even with the full knowledge that they either have been or could be rescheduled. We need these races not to see who is the fastest or toughest; we need them to bring together our mountain biking and cycling community, to highlight the gravel roads and incredible trail systems in West Michigan, and to bring in cyclists from around the state to experience our singletrack, our bike shops, and our local businesses.
Race organizers don’t tend to drive Lamborghinis. For many promoters, a bike race of any size is often a second or third job that pays in passion more than anything. They operate on shoestring budgets, reliant on small sponsors and often in-kind donations to make it all happen. There are plenty of races that rely on early registration fees just to commit to being able to afford a timing company, a website, even pay for insurance or permits.
Right now, uncertainty is going to change a lot of our daily habits, but it could also affect which events happen in 2020 at all. With some races already canceled, it may come down to registrations to decide if races can survive a postponement, or return next season. If it makes financial sense for you and your family, consider picking one race on the calendar in west Michigan and sign up. It could be the difference to seeing events like the Yankee Springs Time Trial, Luton Park Time Trial, and other races on the road, gravel, or dirt being around to enjoy.
There’s nothing WMMBA hates more than being forced to wait-and-see, but like everyone, that’s where we’re at. Right now, look out for each other, be safe, and make sure you get out for some fresh air and a nice, long pedal whenever you can. Ride on!