The spread of coronavirus has caused race cancellations around the world but, in Oregon, one town is taking steps to keep their event going, safely.
Echo Red to Red has taken place in Echo, Ore. for the past 11 years. With up to 400 riders expected to show up in the small town of 700 people, the cross country mountain bike race has become an economic boost for the town.
With COVID-19 causing the race’s cancellation for 2020, the town decided to do what it could to keep its mountain bike race going. The town is going virtual.
While advocating for all riders to respect the health of its residents, and taking steps to ensure riders can maintain safe social distancing, organizers are encouraging racers to ride the course during a set window of time. Racers can then submit that effort via e-mail to Scotts Cycle and Sports, the local bike shop that runs the race.
From those ride records, category prizes will be awarded and mailed out to racers. Winners will no longer earn series points for their efforts, but organizers wanted to make sure riders had the chance to ride the course, which takes place on private land that is closed to riders most of the year.
“Echo Red to Red is very important to the City of Echo,” Scott Cycle and Sports employee Brian Cimmiyotti told Bike Portland. “It brings a lot excitement to the town and local community groups always are extra motivated to help make riders feel at home.”
A large part of the course takes place on Sno Road Winery property. Part of the race’s tradition is for riders to purchase bottles of wine from Sno Road to bring back home. To keep that going without creating unnecessary health risks, the winery is offering car delivery, reports Bike Portland, if riders call in advance.
Echo Red to Red was scheduled to run Saturday, March 21. Riders now have from March 21 – 25, 2020 to complete the race route and submit it to organizers.
Learn more about the virtual Echo Red to Red at the event website.
While Echo is welcoming riders, as long as they take proper precautions to respect the communities health, other small communities are requesting riders to stay at home. Visiting small communities can put extra pressure on the limited and already stressed health resources of these towns. If you are able to ride, it is recommended you ride in your home town trails instead.