When I wrote in January, the season ahead looked full of wonderful racing opportunities. Also on the horizon were several initiatives aimed at attracting a more diverse membership and making WUCA more valuable to its members. Then, less than a month later, the cancellations began. Suddenly, just being able to do an outdoor ride was a privilege, one that we were cautioned (or legislated) to avoid. Almost all of us have spent far more time on the indoor trainer than expected. Some of us have taken to virtual racing. And quite a few have gotten creative about pursuing record rides that allowed them to test their fitness without exposure to travel or large groups. Keep an eye on our Facebook group, UltraCycling (WUCA), for news on upcoming record attempts and new records when they are set. There are several exciting attempts happening soon, both track and road, over distances from 100km to 1,000 miles.
Regarding the pandemic, my sympathies go out to those who have been stricken by Covid. As the saying goes, “when you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything!” The rest of us have been inconvenienced to varying degrees, but we DO have our health. A particular regret is shared with event organizers who invest so much time to create opportunities for the community of ultra-distance racers to come together and compete. Their efforts have been, in many cases, frustrated by a need to cancel in the interest of public health. If you’re an event organizer, I THANK YOU and will do what I can to help you recover and build a successful event in 2021. If you’re a racer, I encourage you to support your favorite race – even if it’s been cancelled! Write to the organizer and tell them you appreciate what they do and that you’re looking forward to seeing them next year. Offer to support the charity their event benefits anyway.
On a positive note, the cancellations have not slowed the pace of WUCA’s other initiatives and I’m happy to share a few of those with you here. For more details you can visit the website or write to me directly with feedback or with ideas of your own. We are, after all, here to serve you – our members.
RECORD ATTEMPTS ARE GETTING EASIER TO PURSUE – Though the bar only gets higher with regard to capturing a record, the path to the starting line can get easier. The instructions and rules on our website have been streamlined. The restrictions of an official’s duties have been modified to enable overlap with other crew roles and reduce headcount. We’ll soon be rolling out a new way to certify distances using GPS data, eliminating the expense of a course survey. Also on the way are two new types of records: a high-mileage record for one week (similar to the HAMR year or month) and a circumnavigation record that can be structured around states, provinces, or entire countries. We will be rolling out rules for those new records soon to enable attempts within this summer.
ULTRA-CYCLING IS GOING VIRTUAL – Since so many of us are doing our training indoors, why not test our fitness with some races indoors as well? WUCA is in discussion with the leading software platforms and is looking at possibilities for races, records, and even annual series. True to our mission, we’ll stay focused on ultra-distances or durations and will be keeping these separate from the current records and series.
CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS – While many events have been cancelled, there are still race opportunities on the horizon. The North American 12-hour championship has been reassigned to the Mid-Atlantic 12/24 Ultra (AUG 15). If you’ve never done this race, it is well organized and perhaps the fastest course around! A great opportunity to set a personal best. Both the North American and European 24 hour championships remain on the calendar (National 24-hour Challenge in Michigan and the 24 hours del Montello in Montello, Italy), as does the 500-mile championship (Silver State 508). If you had your training locked in on one of the championship events that has been cancelled, you can look forward to that selection likely being rolled over to 2021.
Once again, if you have ideas for ways in which WUCA can better serve the sport and the community that constitutes it, please write to me at email@example.com, or to our board at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc Poland, President