This is Firecracker 50 Update #2. The first update was sent on May 4 to this same list and all registered riders. If you haven’t read Update 1, or you’ve forgotten what it said, please take a moment to check it out. I appreciate all the comments in response to Update 1. It was really nice that so many of you took the time to reply.

THE NEWS-straight to the point
The 2020 Firecracker 50 has been canceled. (Man, it really bums me out to write that and I’m not ashamed to admit I just got a bit emotional).

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve gone through many machinations, gyrations, and ideas. We’ve conceptualized the Firecracker as a Time Trial, a 250-max-no-spectator event, start at the Ice Rink, limited gathering at Carter Park all with adherence to Physical Distancing Protocols. You name it we’ve considered it.  Even (gulp) a Virtual Format (more on this below). I’ve bounced back and forth from “we are absolutely going to have it come hell or high water” to “man, I don’t think it’s going to be a Firecracker-worthy experience”.

And that’s not really even the meat of it. Allow me to digress.

In 2015 Glenn Peoples died of cardiac arrest in the middle of one of our local Summit Mt. Challenge races. The community was devastated. I felt responsible. I know that sounds illogical. It was a hard one; an experience I will never forget and hope to never go through again. If you’ve ever been responsible for others (every parent reading this) you know what I’m talking about.

And that brings me to the punchline.

What if someone at the Firecracker 50 were to contract COVID-19 at the event? When I say “someone” I mean anyone and everyone; not only the Athlete. It’s everyone; Racer, Staff, Volunteer, Spectator, Passerby. What if an asymptomatic carrier were to ignite an outbreak?

What if people died? How could I live with that?

It was hard enough reconciling Glen’s incident. How could I live with myself? The answer is: I couldn’t. So, that has become the litmus test.

And that’s how we’ve based our decision.

It’s a moral issue, not logistical.

The only way the Firecracker was going to happen on July 4th was if we could 100% guarantee everyone’s safety from COVID-19 while maintaining most of the elements that make it the “Firecracker”; PDP requirements and all. And you know what? I can’t make that promise .
Look, I know I can’t protect everyone from everything that can happen out there in the world. I get it. But these are high stakes we’re dealing with..

So that’s it. That’s what it came down to.

But wait there’s more…

We then considered Option 2; to re-schedule later this year. And the short answer is no…not gonna happen. We feel the date of July 4 is so germane that it’s best to wait until next year. No parade? No July 4? Would it really be the same? Would it be “The Firecracker”?
Maybe yes, maybe no. We think no.
Add to that the ongoing uncertainty regarding COVID-19, and the prospect of stringing this out for months, and Option 2 was crossed off the list.

So Option 3 it is…Cancellation.

As a registered rider, you have a couple of choices:
1. DEFER TO 2021. If you choose this option you have our sincere thanks. There are many sunk costs in the event biz and your deferral helps us keep the lights on. We’ve already registered all 2020 riders for 2021 – if this is your option, you don’t have to do a thing!
2. REFUND: Times are tight. We get it. If you’d like a refund, just fill out this form by June 1st. We’ll credit the card you used to register minus the Bikereg service fee. FULL REFUNDS MUST BE REQUESTED BY JUNE 1st.
3. HYBRIDFill out this form to transfer your entry to the Virtual F50 (VF50). Price difference (about 50%) will be refunded. (This option available until VF50 Reg closes, date TBD)

Are you rolling your eyes and groaning about the Virtual concept? Believe me, I know. That’s how I used to be! And then I really started thinking about it. Look gang, nothing will ever replace head to head racing in a traditional format. Platforms like Strava have tried and done a pretty good job. Traditional events will be back because nothing will ever replace that experience. Meanwhile, the Virtual concept is an opportunity to “compete” in a different way. There will be swag, results, and trash talk. Just different that’s all.
I’m not prepared to announce the nitty gritty details today, but there will be a VF50. Those details will be published soon.
Price will be less than a regular entry so anyone requesting a transfer will be refunded the difference.

Please know how much we value you and respect every athlete that enters the competitive arena. It takes guts, commitment and perseverance.
Your support of the Firecracker 50 is very much appreciated. That can not be overstated.

Thank you for your time reading this and I wish you all good health.

Jeff Westcott