Looping in the time of COVID

[ by Than Acuff ]

Once again, CB Nordic has a plan. While COVID has wreaked havoc upon numerous events throughout the past year, CB Nordic has risen above the mayhem and will host the 35th Annual Alley Loop presented by Fischer and Pinnacle Orthopedics.

“It’s come together surprisingly well,” says CB Nordic events director Andrew Arell.
But it comes with a catch and, of course, some changes.

For starters, this year’s Alley Loop will take place over two days with the 42-kilometer and 21-kilometer races on Saturday, February 6 and the 10-kilometer and five-kilometer races on Sunday, February 7.

Furthermore, there will be two separate start windows each day specific to the race you are competing in with the first start window Saturday from 7-8 a.m. and the second start window Saturday 11-noon. Sunday’s start windows will be 9-10 a.m. and 11-noon. All information for race start windows is available at cbnordic.org and all starts are in an individual time trial format with timing chips in the bibs.

“No wave starts, no mass starts, just show up during your start window with a mask on and start immediately,” says Arell. “You must start within your assigned start window.”

As for the Alley Loop racecourse, it will be noticeably void of alley sections with the only alley included this year being the “Soupçon Alley” between Maroon and Elk Avenue.

“Because it’s a two-day format, we didn’t want to impact town residents beyond the normal accommodations,” says Arell.

Still, the start/finish area will be on Elk Avenue closer to First Street, maintaining that downtown Nordic race vibe that is such a huge part of the Alley Loop race.

CB Nordic also asks that once you’re done with your race, please refrain from milling around the finish area to keep everything as COVID safe as possible.

“Grab a cup of soup to go and then tune into the awards that evening,” says Arell.

The awards ceremonies will be done both Saturday and Sunday virtually via Facebook Live on the CB Nordic Facebook page. Saturday’s awards for the 42-kilometer and 21-kilometer races as well as the raffle for the entire weekend will start at 5 p.m. The ceremony for the five-kilometer and 10-kilometer races as well as the costume awards will be on Sunday at 4 p.m.

As for the kids races, the youth one-kilometer and three-kilometer races will be held virtually from Thursday, February 4 though Sunday, February 7 with kids and families doing their own thing with parents tracking and submitting times.

As of press time, registration was sitting around 500 racers, but the hope is that last-minute registrations came through before it closed on Wednesday, February 3.

“Were not going to hit 1,000 people even across the two days but we could still see a last minute influx,” says Arell. “We’d love to get up near our customary numbers.”

As always, participants and fans must maintain protocols in place, wearing masks and social distancing. Sure, things are a bit different with the Alley Loop and everything is different but CB Nordic is pulling it off nevertheless, as long as everyone behaves.

“As long as everyone is responsible, there should be no issues,” says Arell.

Racecourses, start windows, awards ceremony information and all things Alley Loop can be found at cbnordic.org.

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