SBT GRVL gets canceled but offers virtual option
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The second annual Steamboat Springs gravel bike race, known as SBT GRVL, has been canceled due to COVID-19.
The event’s directors announced it a news release Wednesday that they felt they couldn’t guarantee everyone’s safety and health and felt it best to cancel the event scheduled for Aug. 16, automatically deferring all 2,500 registered riders to 2021.
The team met frequently and thought about what the event would look like if they were to still hold it while following local and state level health guidelines. The expo held the day before would have to be canceled, as well as the post-race party, among other massive changes on race day.
“We built this race as something all of us would want to do. It’s something that’s really fun. Our values are fun and safety, and we thought we wouldn’t be living to our values,” said SBT GRVL media liaison Amy Charity. “It wouldn’t be fun if everyone had to have a temperature check. It wouldn’t be fun if we had to cancel the expo and the party after the race. It certainly would not be fun to wear a mask while racing.”
They decided the compromises and the changes would be too much and would take away from the experience, so the 2020 race will not go on. The pair of pre-race camps planned for June are also canceled.
The race featured 1,500 cyclists in 2019, its inaugural year. When registration opened for the 2020 race, the 2,500 slots were filled in just 25 minutes. All registrants are automatically deferred to the 2021 race, which will be held on Aug. 15, 2021. However, if someone wishes to have a refund rather than defer, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org before Aug. 1, and a refund will be granted.
More information on deferment can be found at sbtgrvl.com.
“It’s going to be a pretty big financial hit, but it’s important to us that we’re looking out for the racers who make this all possible,” Charity said.
There will still be an event on Aug. 16, though, it just won’t look anything like last year’s SBT GRVL. Instead, there will be a SBT VRTL, or Steamboat Virtual.
SBT GRVL has partnered with communities across the country that have a large number of registered racers. On Aug. 16, each city will have a designated route that cyclists can ride. After completing the equivalent of their desired SBT GRVL race, they can post their ride and photos on the website for all to see, using the hashtag #SBTVRTL.
Cyclists don’t need to be registered for SBT GRVL to participate in the virtual ride. Participants are also able to order shirts that say SBT VRTL and the name of the city they participated in.
The Steamboat Springs Running Series announced on the evening of Tuesday, May 12 that the Spirit Challenge Run for Autism scheduled for May 23, and the Howelsen Hill Trail Run scheduled for June 20 have both been canceled. The series is continuing to evaluate on a monthly basis and will keep registration open for the remaining 2020 events, but as wait-list only.
Without Limits Productions, which produces triathlons around Colorado, including a few in Routt County, has suspended registration for all 2020 events and will keep the public informed about any cancellations.
“We think this is a safe, fun, good alternative to keep people motivated, to keep them engaged and to have the gravel community stick together through all of this,” Charity said. “Also, to really acknowledge Aug. 16 as the day that SBT would have happened and keep everyone really enthusiastic about the race for next year.”
Registration for the virtual race will open in late May, and while signing up for the free event, people can donate to the one of three advocacy partners of SBT GRVL, including the Community Ag Alliance, the Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Colorado and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cycling program.
“We’re definitely sad about it. This is all of our livelihoods and our passion and what we do, but I think in light of the situation, this is the right decision,” Charity said. “We want to keep people engaged and motivated and the gravel community is a really strong community. We think we found a way to make the best of it.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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