While there are far bigger concerns for most than cycling events during this pandemic, the bummer news for some readers is that the event cancelations due to COVID-19 keep piling up. First, it was the 2020 Lost and Found gravel race, now it’s the 2020 Steamboat Gravel (SBT GRVL) race in Colorado.

The event was still 94 days away, but without a vaccine in place, promoters did not see a realistic way of holding the event expected to draw thousands. While the team looked at ways to implement social distancing, it concluded, “With these potential adjustments and being unsure of what the future holds, we still don’t believe that we could responsibly and respectfully guarantee everyone’s safety.”

Promoters sent an email to registered racers this morning. You can see the full email below.

We hope this email finds you and your family well and hopefully are all safe and healthy.

As we absorbed the magnitude of the global pandemic over the past few months, we discussed, analyzed and planned out every possible scenario that would enable us to have SBT GRVL in 2020. We must think of every rider, spectator, volunteer, sponsor, vendor and the members of our local community and ensure that they will be confident and safe during their visit to Steamboat Springs. Based on guidelines from the CDC, the Federal government, state, county and the local authorities of Steamboat, we examined what a realistic version of SBT GRVL might look like during Covid-19.

Some of the considerations that we have entertained and vetted:

  • Cancel the expo completely
  • Cancel post-race after-party, meal and awards celebrations
  • Eliminate podium celebrations
  • Check the temperature of all athletes, vendors, sponsors, volunteers and even spectators
  • Modify aid stations to prepackaged food only and go to hands-free water stations
  • Require mandatory hydration packs to eliminate certain aid stations
  • Shorten races or reduce total number of race options
  • Evolve mass start to wave starts and 6 ft spacing protocol
  • Require masks all weekend and potentially while racing

These precautions and changes would only represent a handful of tradeoffs that would be necessary to be considered for hosting a safe mass gathering in 2020. With these potential adjustments and being unsure of what the future holds, we still don’t believe that we could responsibly and respectfully guarantee everyone’s safety.

It’s become clear that these required changes would result in a significantly compromised version of the SBT GRVL experience that we were looking forward to this year. The SBT GRVL experience is rooted in our core values that we highlighted to all of you when we launched the event in October of 2018. In particular, our first two, Fun and Safety, will always be a significant part of how we make major decisions for SBT GRVL. In addition, we are strongly committed to investing in and protecting our community, our racers, and causes we believe in, such as our absolute focus on issues around gender parity, as an example.

As we remain committed to these values and this approach, as painful as this may be for all of us, we have made the decision to cancel SBT GRVL for 2020.  Please read below for details on your options to defer to 2021 or request a refund.

Deferral to 2021
If you have registered for any of the 2020 races, your first option is to defer your registration to 2021, under the deferral policy we have had in place since the inception of SBT GRVL.  To help with this, we have automatically deferred you, as of this morning, and if you want to stay deferred to 2021 you don’t need to do anything else at this time.  You are all set.

When it is time for 2021 registration you will receive a unique registration link via email on November 30th to activate your deferral and formally register for 2021.  This will allow you to register for the same distance race you were registered for or shorter for the $25 deferral fee, which will be charged when you register. If you want to do a longer race in 2021, no problem, we will charge you the difference and you are all set.

Request a Refund
SBT GRVL does not normally offer refunds, but we also do not normally have 100-year global pandemics.  With the cancelation of  SBT GRVL 2020, we are happy to make refunds available to any registered racer.  We understand that times are incredibly challenging financially and that some of your circumstances may have changed over the past few months.  If you wish to receive a refund instead of a deferral for your race registration, please send an email to [email protected] by August 1st, 2020  and we will process your refund to the credit card you paid with (we are not able to refund the Run Signup service fee).

Please note that if you request a refund for your entry to SBT GRVL this year, you will not be guaranteed entry for next year and you will need to go through the registration process with the general public that will be held at 7:00 am MT on December 1st.

So what can we do now?  We have an idea.

One thing we continue to be amazed with is how tight-knit this gravel community is. Even if we can’t be together in Steamboat this year, we still want to stay connected with one another. As fellow racers we also know that it helps to have that goal on the calendar that keeps us training, riding and motivated. In addition, we also know all of us want to help those in need and support causes we all believe in.

On or before June 1, we are going to give you the chance to keep August 16th on your calendar and make it easy for you to accomplish all of these things in the location where you live. Your route, our route, solo or at a group meet-up (if allowed in your area), we will introduce a localized plan to get people all over the world riding one of the four distances of SBT GRVL with each other, aligned with our core values of fun and safety until we reconnect in Steamboat next year. Stay tuned and look out for #SBTVRTL. It will be free, open to everyone, easy to find routes, people to ride with and easy to stay connected to share a version of SBT GRVL in 2020. We’ll make sure that it’s an event filled with prize giveaways from our sponsors and if you want, you can help some of our advocacy partners along the way.

Until then, ride safe and reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.  We are here for you now and always.


Mark, Ken and Amy
[email protected]