Bad news up front: Don’t expect a 2021 Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Nothing’s been officially announced — yet. It’s probably coming. Hoping that, somehow, the event gets saved for next April. A Thursday night executive board meeting, along with members of the race classic committee, was on tap.
How can anyone expect this cycling event to come off with so many question marks? President Marc Shaw will tell anyone within listening distance, “It’s not a bike race. It’s a community event.”
To have a community event, well, there has to be community involvement. All of that could be on tentative grounds for one reason: COVID-19.
Here’s some evidence:
Racers show up at Redlands early enough to make visits to area elementary schools. Since that event is sponsored by Stater Bros., which has a strong community reputation, such a matchup of school visits and sponsorship might best wait until 2022.
In recent years, Dan Rendler and his wife Michele have doubled from 20 to 40 the number of school visits. (More on Dan Rendler a little later.)
The schools race? Saturday kids racing downtown. It would take an act of elementary humanitarianism to get that one rolling.
What if there’s still no school attendance? It would be nearly impossible to reach out for students to get signed up for that event.
As we said, it’s a community event. That’s just one part of it.
Redlands could run a pro cycling event. Easily. They have it down. All the connections. Expertise is there. Where this event committee makes its mark is the non-professional events.
We could go on.
Sponsors probably couldn’t tell you the difference between Cadel Evans and Brian McCullough, Jeanne Longo or Mara Abbott.
But they’ll spot the number of participants in all those other events.
Redlands Classic has to protect their sponsors.
Beaver Medical Clinic has been a keynote sponsor for years.
How would it look in these pandemic times for a health provider to be sponsoring a race while largely ignoring COVID-19 health hazards?
Yeah, right. I can’t see it, either.
The city’s relationship with the bike race has largely been amicable.
For years, the city has waived fees anywhere between $50,000 and $70,000 to pull off this community event-backed cycling race. The city has announced it is no long waiving fees for community events.
Take a deep breath. Cynics balk at public money being spent on events like this. You want to run a public event? You’ll want fee waivers, too. Except your event won’t bring enough people to this city — hotels, motels, restaurants, stores and other businesses — that replenishes tax money back into city treasury accounts to pay back those fee waivers.
Permits? Any road used in the course of this race needs to pull permits — from city, county and state. Costly?
Will sponsors step up? Can they?
Can spectators converge on downtown? To watch. To circulate around the Expo. To spend money, evening out those fee waivers. If there’s a pandemic still in effect, we’d be certain to claim a hefty health hazard in all that midst.
Hefty health hazards? Try this one: One of Redlands’ well-known treasures to the cycling world was its home stay benefit. Does anyone want strangers sharing their homes with possible COVID-19 threats in the air?
That could get shaky.
Cycling teams on short money could save a few hundred dollars alone in home stays. Redlands has always been excellent on that.
Speaking of cycling teams? How are sponsorships going?
On the pro cycling scene, yes, they pulled off a 2020 Tour de France — better late than never, one supposes — but Paris-Roubaix 2020 was ultimately canceled.
Originally slated for April, Paris-Roubaix was re-scheduled for October because of the pandemic. The cobbled classic was set for Oct. 25 from its April 12 start date — gone.
Just like the 2020 Redlands Classic. The current committee probably needs to start thinking of 2022.
Speaking of Dan Rendler, consider that he’s apparently recovering nicely from a serious bicycle crash along San Bernardino Avenue, close to the Loma Linda/Redlands border.
Rendler is a former Classic president. To hear other members of the committee share memories and stories about Rendler, you get the impression he’s as special to this race as anyone.
“He is, Obrey,” said Craig Kundig, a past race director in his own right, told me.
Since the Classic has a Carole King Sportsmanship Award plus a Legends Award — annual honors bestowed on a contributor and a cyclist — it’s a quick reminder to anyone that they’ve got their next nominee.
Something good has to come out of all this.
* * *
A couple football notes — one college, one pro. Both are connected to former Redlands East Valley stud defenders.
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence got sacked once against Miami last week, but it did not damage the top-ranked Tigers in their 42-17 win over Hurricanes.
It was former REV defender Jaelan Phillips who got the sack early in the second quarter, eventually forcing a Clemson punt. Miami (3-1) was already trailing, 14-0.
Lawrence, who threw three TD passes, was only sacked the one time.
Kylie Fitts, playing behind Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end Chandler Jones, made three tackles when the All-Pro came up injured in a 30-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday.
While most of the highlights revolved on Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray against the Jets’ defense, it was the Cardinals’ defense that took part New York. The Jets were led by QB Joe Flacco, who completed 18 passes for 188 yards.
In reality, it’s Dennis Gardeck who serves as Jones’ backup, though the ex-REV star, Fitts, is listed on the depth chart in that role. Gardeck came up with two sacks on Flacco.
There’s a chance that Jones might miss the remainder of the season with a torn biceps injury, according to reports.
The Cardinals were already dealing with starting linebacker Devon Kennard’s calf injury.
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