The Fédération Québecoise des Sports Cyclistes (FQSC) was one of the first provincial cycling organizations to publish its extensive re-opening guidebook. The 47-page detailed plan for group rides, cycling clubs and racing covers every detail of how the sport will resume in the province.
On July 1, the province’s first in-person race event took place in Stoneham (half an hour outside of Quebec city) and participants had the chance to experience the new protocols. Organized by Claude Garon of l’Association des cyclistes maîtres du Québec (ACMQ), the event—the first of an ongoing series—has individual participants race a 10.5km time trial. Racers competed in their standard category, and raced on either time trial bikes or road bikes.
The ‘New Normal’
Raphael Auclair of Pivot Cycles-OTE took first place in the men’s ITT, and he says that the event felt very safe. All the commissaries and volunteers wore face shields and masks, there were signs asking participants to leave after their race, each cyclist had a separate waiting area and the ITT started with one foot on the ground, as opposed to having the bike held.
“It was different,” says Auclair, “but it was definitely safe. Everyone was staying apart even though it had been awhile since they’d seen each other.”
Auclair mostly races mtb, but he got out his TT bike for the first time in a number of years and did some training rides when he heard there would be an event. “I knew it was starting to happen,” he says “I didn’t know it would be this early but I knew people were trying to get races organized.”
Although it’s not his standard race format, he was just happy to compete. “It was super fun to have a race.” says Auclair, who was surprised by his win. “Mountain bike racing is starting up again soon and it’s gonna be an adjustment for everyone. It’s different but I think we’ll get used to it. Everyone wants race days, and if this is what it takes to have them people will be down for it.”