Bunch racing is back in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, with the pandemic-delayed return of Jeremy’s Roubaix and Rock the Ridge events.
Jeremy’s Roubaix will return on the new Paris Roubaix Sunday of Oct. 25, with the Rock the Ridge gravel race on Nov. 1.
The COVID-19 pandemic has halted most organized sports in Canada, with cycling not being immune. With the opening of Phase 3 Return to Sport, organizing a bike race with the many stakeholders involved such as Cycling BC and the Cities of Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge, still proved to be very complex, according to organizer Barry Lyster.
However, Local Ride Racing persevered and will be the first to offer bunch racing in B.C. since the pandemic began.
“I was not willing to give up the fight as I really wanted to have a bike race happen in 2020. Done properly, bike racing can be held in a Covid-19 responsible format,” said Lyster.
“We hope that these bike races will be a template that will open the door for ongoing races throughout the pandemic. Even with limited entry, these races will still provide the full-on racing experience, complete with a sprint finish and a socially distanced podium for the winners.”
There have been many disappointments for competitive cyclists, especially for aspiring juniors who are aging out and were unable to compete nationally or internationally, and yet have continued patiently training for races that never made it to the calendar.
“We hope that this regional race will help kindle the spirit of cycling in B.C.,” said Lyster.
The events will be run under specific COVID-19 rules. There will be two cohorts of 50 riders each running at two-separate start times. Each cohort will contain two race categories. Masks will be mandatory at all times except while racing, and riders will be required to carry their masks with them in case they require outside assistance.
The races are offered as a two-pack to establish a stronger cohort of riders between races. If there are open spots after Oct. 11, single race entries will be open to fill these spots.
Support from these races will go towards Local Ride Racing’s female under-21 high performance race team, debuting in 2021. To help support this project, please go to support.bcamateursportfund.org/P0433