Originally scheduled for March 29, the Natchaug Epic will be re-booted to run on Sunday, Aug. 9. Out of respect for concerns over the COVID 19 virus we are introducing a new “Friendly Format” that will integrate social distancing guidelines into the conduct of this event, both on and off the bike. We appreciate the patience of our riders, volunteers, staff and host communities during these historically challenging times.
We do not make this proposal lightly. We recognize and appreciate the gravity of the Coronavirus. We realize there may still be considerable public health concerns over any social interaction. There is considerable evidence that outdoor cycling is considered to present a low risk of infectious transmission. And the bulk of our activity is a rural bicycle tour of Windham County roads during which participants have minimal contact with each other in a highly ventilated, outdoor activity in a rural environment.
But that logic is of nominal value if our riders, our staff, our volunteers and our host communities do not FEEL safe. Respectful of that we will spread out registration outdoors, soften the start between 8 and 11 a.m., create an outdoor post-ride beer garden, offer grab-and-go food, and move to an online awards ceremony.
We will introduce a modified version of what had been dubbed in the 20th Century as a “Gentlemen’s Race” that we will call a “Friendly Format.” We will score riders as teams and start them in intervals much like a time trial. Teams are all scored based on times posted by their slowest rider. Hence teams are discouraged from working with other teams or forming a peloton. Unaffiliated riders are still welcome to ride, starting at the end of each category start time in small waves subject to public health guidelines and personal discretion. Out of courtesy, all riders are asked to respect the expressed social distancing requests of other riders.
The specifics of scoring and timing may be found in our event notes. https://www.bikereg.com/natchaug-epic-20