Area cycling community slowed down by COVID-19 restrictions
Mason City cycling groups had been holding out hope that they would be able to compete sometime this spring.
For the Mohawk Mountain Bike Club, those hopes were dashed on Friday after the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association announced that all prep sports would be canceled for the remainder of the school year.
Early season events for junior cycling teams, such as Mason City’s SPIN DEVO, had already been canceled through its governing body, USA Cycling, through at least May 31.
As the coaches for both teams, Steve and Brooke Bailey could only wait and help their riders train.
Practicing as groups had been restricted by both team’s governing bodies, so they had to be creative in how they trained.
With safety guidelines in place, riders have only been able to train on their own or with family, Steve Bailey said.
“We’re just encouraging the kids to get out and ride their bikes as much as possible,” he said.
Riding on their own has been especially hard for SPIN DEVO members Kenadie Pearce, 11, and her brother, Brayden, 12, who rode together through Mason City on Friday.
“It’s kind of rough because you can’t be with your friends,” said Kenadie.
“We don’t really train by ourselves, usually,” Brayden said. “I really like having someone to talk to. Sometimes, on longer rides, it gets really boring, so you just have people try to keep you entertained.”
Many on the team are turning to a training app called Zwift, which creates a virtual space where people can train together in a simulated user interface.
“They’re able to do rides together and you can actually do a race on there if you wanted to,” Bailey said. “It’s really neat.”
In the meantime, Bailey said the Mohawk Mountain Bike Club as an organization is trying to change the sport from being a spring season to a fall season.
With the status of larger upcoming cycling events – such as RAGBRAI and Iowa’s Ride – still unknown, the north Iowa cycling community as a whole could see cancellations stretch into the summer months.
Iowa’s Ride organizers say they are still monitoring safety guidelines from state and federal agencies on whether or not to proceed with its first-ever cross-state ride.
RAGBRAI organizers announced on its website this week that they would make a decision by Monday on whether or not to proceed.
Wayne’s Ski & Cycle, which sees an uptick in sales in the weeks leading up to RAGBRAI, could also feel the effect from those cancellations.
However, manager Chad Colby says it would be the right decision to cancel.
“USA Cycling has postponed or canceled a lot of events, the Perry Roubaix race got put off and so did Tour de France,” Colby said. “With all the uncertainty, it’s probably in the best interest to postpone.”
For now, Bailey said he looks toward the fall season with optimism. SPIN DEVO hopes to host its annual Cannonball Cross at East Park on Labor Day weekend to help kick off its Cyclocross season.
“We’re really keeping our fingers crossed on that one,” he said.