Concerns grew over the weekend with a large gathering of people at the traditional Leadville Race Series Leadville Trail 100 MTB startline. Referred to as a “Leadville Trail 100 MTB” group ride,” the unsanctioned event was not permitted by either the Lake County Public Health Agency (LCPHA) or Lake County Office of Emergency Management (LCOEM), and neither entity was aware of the activity until it was underway.
Approximately 50 mountain bikers, plus spectators, gathered to ride the course that is typically followed during the Leadville Race Series.
Leadville Race Series (LRS), owned by Life Time, reports neither endorsing nor supporting the Friday ride on the Leadville 100 MTB racecourse.
“The gathering at the traditional Leadville Trail 100 MTB start line was not facilitated nor encouraged by the Leadville Race Series and Life Time teams…some decided to toe the start line on their own, for tradition’s sake,” said Michelle Duffy, Life Time Event’s Associate Marketing Director. “We have worked with the City and County officials since the spring to ensure we are making the best decisions for the community and fully supported the cancellation of all 2020 events.”
The 2020 Leadville Race Series Leadville Trail 100 MTB race was originally planned for August 15th. It was canceled by Life Time on May 13, which determined that LRS would not be able to operate their 2020 races within the required COVID-19 safety parameters and without potentially overtaxing Lake County’s limited emergency services’ capacity.
All emergency service entities in Lake County were alerted to the unsanctioned mountain bike activity, in case response support was needed. They included: SVGHD Ambulance Service, Leadville Lake County Fire Rescue, Lake County Search and Rescue, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, and Leadville Police Department.
The LCOEM reports that demands on emergency services in Lake County remain exceptionally high this summer. It notes this is due to COVID-19 precautions, the significantly increased incidence of Search and Rescue call-outs this season, extreme wildfire activity in the state, as well increased traffic diverted through the county due to the I-70 closure from the Grizzly Creek fire.
Public trails in Lake County remain open for private recreational use and authorized commercial use. However, special event permits have not been issued by Lake County due to COVID-19 considerations and emergency services’ limited capacity, in keeping with the May 12th resolution adopted by the Lake County Commissioners. Both the LCPHA and LCOEM request all trail users take precautions to prevent increased COVID-19 infection risk and be prepared to be self-sufficient with their recreation choices in Lake County.