Prognosis for the season 2021
We have just finished the 2020 season and have brought our equipment back into shape over the past few weeks and stored it for the winter. Even if the season was anything but ordinary, in the end it felt a bit like normal, after all we were able to hold a few smaller races, which, however, required a little more effort due to the changed situation. As in every year, the planning for the coming season is now on our agenda and since we expect that 2021 will not be so normal either, we would like to explain what our thoughts are at this point.
After the experiences of the last months it is now a little easier to make a cautious forecast for the future, even if this is of course still fraught with some uncertainties. In order to better understand why we now dare to make a prediction; we would like to briefly describe what we have learned from the past months and our activities.
Basically, of course, you must start by saying that at the present time the general assessment and handling of the new type of corona virus is based on significantly more experience than was the case at the beginning of the pandemic. With the current knowledge regarding the spread and the risk of infection, it is easier to develop functioning hygiene concepts, especially in the outdoor area. The most fundamental problem, why events were and are only allowed to a limited extent, is the avoidance of a meeting of many people. Thus, the biggest problems arise at major events, such as the festivals in Winterberg and Willingen. An explicit advantage of our events is that they are outdoor events that take place in a relatively large space without physical contact.
Looking back, it can be said that the normal bike park openings are a good comparison, as there are hardly any other conditions in a single race. The superficial measure of the distance requirement can be implemented similarly in a race. With a few minor changes in the schedule and a few adjustments in the set of rules, it is possible to minimize the formation of groups of people. Hygiene measures are just as applicable as in normal everyday life. The two races of the Specialized RockShox Rookies Cup and the German Championship as part of the iXS Downhill Cup in Steinach, Thuringia, can serve as a blueprint for further events. The concepts agreed with the authorities worked and can also be used in other places. We think that the uncertainty that triggered the cancellation of most event organizers has now been minimized. The talks with some official bodies, which are to be considered regionally differentiated, were definitely encouraging.
Smaller races with limited numbers of participants and spectators are currently quite feasible or, if necessary, can also be approved. At large events, such as festivals or races with many spectators, things are a little more complicated. In Germany, for example, major events are still banned until the end of the year, but a working group will submit a proposal by the end of October on how to deal with spectators at national sporting events. In Switzerland, major events have been permitted again since October 1, although permission from the canton is required for 1,000 or more people involved. Events are also possible in Austria, whereby (as in almost all countries) a functioning hygiene concept is necessary. The Austrian Red Cross has drawn up a template for a prevention concept. So you can see that events can currently be held with some additional effort.
Our forecast for the coming season is that at least spring might not be much different from the current status quo. As has been seen, however, the summer seems much more relaxed, not least because people are not forbidden to take vacation and travel is accepted anyway. We are pretty sure that cycling events are possible under certain conditions at least in the months of the middle of the year. This assumption is a minimum expectation. Of course, we hope that the situation will continue to improve over the next few months and that things will tend to return to normal due to different framework conditions. The reason for this could be that a vaccine will be approved, that the treatments for severe courses can be significantly improved or that the general handling changes.
We are currently planning a relatively normal season based on the above assumptions, although we are well aware that changes are possible. At one point or another we have already planned alternative dates in order to be able to postpone it to a later date if the situation is still tensed in spring. However, it could be that we will not publish the calendar 2021 in November as usual, because of course the planning is even more difficult this year, so it has always been anyway. The World Cup dates only came out a few days ago, so we had to wait to determine our races as well. We will certainly make some adjustments to the process, for example we will not open the series registration so early. However, we will only publish the details when it is necessary in terms of time and can then be better assessed.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank once again the organizers of the races, who acted very responsibly during these difficult times. In particular, the repayment of the entry fee was solved very unbureaucratically, so that, unlike in other industries, the sometimes financially tense situation was carried out on the back of the customers (in our case participants). Of course, we also hope that this will be honored by the athletes and that the manner of communication and reversal has also brought the trust that next year, even with minor uncertainties, they will decide to race again and thus this piece of sports culture supports and thus contributes to conservation.
As always at the current time, we say, keep your ears stiff and stay healthy