The pressing question is, what’s to happen to our brevet season in light of the uncontrolled spread of a debilitating and perhaps fatal pandemic, especially to the largest demographic in our state? The answer is this: The upcoming UAF 400K (March 28), ACP 600K (April 4), and flèche (April 17) will not be held on those dates and are postponed. It is possible that some or all of these rides may be rescheduled later in the year. Simply put, we’ll have to wait and see. If they can be held, they will be, but they will not be held on the calendared dates.
What about our other events — the 600K audax, the two juniors’ audax series, the June 100K and the July 200K night ride? On those, we’ll wait and see how things play out in the next few weeks before deciding to postpone or cancel them. The registrations are not posted for those event brevets, and they won’t be until we have a better sense of what we’re dealing with in combating this virus. So for now, stay tuned for further.
The Cracker Swamp remains on and I hope — for a lot of reasons, most of them having nothing to do with riding bikes — that it remains that way.
I know this news will be disappointing, and some will question the decision. Brevets are not Major League Baseball or the Rolling Stones, and they’re not even quite like UCI or even USAC races (where there’s a lot of contact). We could take steps to mitigate risk — staggering starts, using info controls — but it’s just not worth it in the grand scheme of things. There’s a lot — A LOT — more important in this world than brevets and right now is a time when we need to take a long view and make a shared sacrifice so that we can reduce not only our own risk, but the risk to everyone we come in contact with every time we leave the house. Safety is the number one priority in organizing a cycling event and, sadly, right now that means not organizing any events so long as the weight of credible, science-based evidence tells us to practice social distancing and radically reduce, and preferably eliminate, nonessential trips outside the home. Brevets are not essential and, thus, the postponement.
This was a tough decision to make and I made it after consulting the recommendations of the CDC, the much-touted Imperial College report and modeling, and the increasing frequency with which communities are legally banning non-essential travel outside the home. I also consulted history. I have a 600-page book, in French, on the history of the first 100 years of audax cycling that for the time periods I was interested in, the First and Second World Wars, also covers the history of the ACP. Brevets were not held for six years during and following the Great War. Six years; think about that. There were a few, literally just several, brevets in Occupied France but, for the most part, randonneuring ceased for a decade during and after the Second War. PBP was not held between 1931 and 1948. What we’re dealing with now is a global emergency, but it is unlikely of the magnitude of disruption our forefathers — and mothers; women participated in the first brevet held after the Great War, 100 years ago — experienced during the first half of the last century. We will get through this, just as they did. Because we’re tough, just like they were. We’re randonneurs. And there will be a second century of brevets with many tales of glory and perseverance and I’ll be there, with you, to continue building our excellent community and write that history. Until then, be safe, be well, take care of yourself and yours, and we’ll ride again together soon.