Last Saturday, race organizer Tobin Behling became a pioneer for mountain bike events in this new era of COVID-19. Fans of the sport were watching closely and hopefully, as so many other events have fallen, or fallen out of favor. With few surviving and a limited calendar remaining for 2020, we were all rooting for the Telluride 100 to pull off a safe and fun event.
Since we will be facing the same challenges, we were paying close attention Saturday. The Telluride 100 serves as a precursor to The APEX and gives us a glimpse of what to expect in September. VeloNews featured Behling's COVID-19 safety plan in an article last Friday. It illustrates his plan to keep riders, volunteers and the community safe, while showing racing is possible amid the pandemic. It also illustrates the void in competition caused by the pandemic and the tremendous desire for safe events. The race had a sold out field.
Participants in The Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox can expect to see many of the Behling's safety measures from this weekend used in Colorado Springs this September. Feedback from participants in the Telluride 100 was positive. Feelings were it went smoothly despite the muddy conditions that forced Behling to shorten the course slightly. Riders started out in groups of 10 and physical distancing at the start spread the field out substantially on the course. Distancing protocols were carried out at packet pickup and the finish line as well.
In the men’s race, APEX ambassadors Keegan Swenson and Russell Finsterwald went 1-2 respectively, both finishing in under 7 hours.
Finsterwald was excited to be back to top-tier racing in Colorado.
Racing in Telluride this past weekend was an exciting opportunity to see how races were able to safely operate in times of COVID. I feel the promoters created an effective safety protocol that began at packet pickup, all the way to the finish line. Racing in waves of 10 created enough spacing between riders and allowed us to never be in close proximity to a large crowd. Thank you to Tobin and the organizers of the Telluride 100 for leading the charge and showing how races can safely move forward in light of the current health situation across the country. I’m even more excited for the Pikes Peak APEX now!
PinkBike shared some great photos of the muddy mess on their site. Check them out!