Cyclists, if you have been itching to put the hammer down during this COVID-hampered year, here’s your chance. Firefly Trail Inc. is hosting a virtual race on roads near the future route of the trail in conjunction with the opening of the trail in Winterville. For COVID safety, riders will ride individually and upload their times to Strava, individually or as “teams”, with race judges selecting winners based on uploaded times. Riders can complete their race at any time of their choosing between Oct. 30 – Nov. 8. (For safety, rides starting or ending at night will not be counted.)
And, of course, since it’s a Firefly event, non-racers are welcome, too. Just sign up, come out anytime during the 10-day virtual race “window” and have fun. Upload your time and, also just for fun, see if you qualify for the Lanterne Rouge prize as the slowest rider.
This virtual relay is being held to raise funds and awareness for the mission of Firefly Trail Inc. to foster completion of the Firefly Trail from Union Point to Athens. This Firefly Virtual Relay will create an opportunity for fun and friendly competition while promoting COVID-19 safety measures.
Event details and schedule
- Riders will ride a 12.1-mile course starting on Robert Hardeman Road near the historic Winterville Depot and ending on Main Street a few yards from the start.
- The preliminary routes are available here:
- 12.1-mile/1 lap: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34046378
- 36.3-mile/3 laps: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/34046481
- The route will be marked with pavement markings and will be available for download from RideWithGPS and Strava. Cue sheets suitable for printing will be posted at www.fireflytrail.com.
- Riders can choose to ride solo or as a member of a virtual three-person team.
- The three members of a given team do not need to complete their legs at the same time or on the same day, they all just need to get their riding in during the ten-day event window.
- Riders can complete their race at any time of their choosing between Oct. 30 – Nov. 8. For safety, rides starting or ending at night will not be counted.
- Individual riders can compete in a one-lap race (12.1 miles or a 3-lap race (36.3 miles).
- Teams can choose a “Sprint” option in which each member rides the course once, or a “Tour” option in which each member rides the course three times.
- Team members can also use their times to compete in individual categories.
- Free parking will be available at the Pittard Park gravel lot off Parkview Road or at the Winterville Community Center off N. Church Street.
- Registration is $25 for the first category and $10 for each additional category. Winners of designated categories will be eligible for a small prize.
- Registration is open at Active.com through Nov. 7 at midnight. There will be no day-of registration.
- Riders must sign the waiver online. A parent or legal guardian must sign the waiver for any participant under age 18 and must accompany them during the race.
- Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 or other infectious illnesses should not ride.
- No refunds will be granted with one exception: If you are registered and develop symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu on or after Oct. 16, let the race organizers know and we will refund 100% of your entrance fee. We’ll even reserve your shirt for you. For a list of COVID-19 and flu symptoms, see cdc.gov.
- All participants who wish to compete for a prize (including Lanterne Rouge) must upload their results to Strava before 11:59 PM on Nov. 8. A free Strava membership is all that is needed; riders do NOT need a paid Strava membership.
- All miles of all laps must be completed in one continuous ride.
- Everyone who registers will receive a Firefly Trail t-shirt, which can be picked up at Georgia Cycle Sport after Nov. 9. Prizes for designated winners will also be available at GCS for a limited time.
- Riders must wear a helmet.
- Riders must obey all rules of the road, including stopping at stop signs and yielding to oncoming traffic at turns.
- This event is unsupported. Riders must supply any fluids, food and other supplies that they will need. There are no SAG stops and no public bathrooms on the course.
- We urge all riders to carry a cell phone. In case of emergency, call 911.
- The course lies entirely on public roads that are open to normal traffic. Hazards such as motor vehicles, other cyclists, dogs, debris, and potholes should be expected, and inclement weather is possible. Riders are solely responsible for their conduct and safety.
Rules of the race
- Riders must use the official course. Rides in other locations cannot be counted.
- Only human-powered bicycles may be used. Riders may not use any kind of motorized assistance. However, any type of human-powered bike is permitted, such as unicycles, recumbents (including trikes and tadpoles) and tandems.
- For fairness and COVID-19 safety, no drafting is allowed. Participants should remain at least 10 bike lengths apart except when overtaking a slower rider. Teammates may gather before and after the ride, but may not ride together.
- Riders who encounter significant unavoidable delays (for example, a flat tire or a funeral procession) may ride their chosen number of laps again and submit their best time. A repeat ride must be completed before nightfall on Nov. 8.
Categories and awards
- Riders who compete in the 3-lap race can also compete in the 1-lap race with their best single-lap time
- Riders who are part of a team can also use their times to compete as individuals. Remember, drafting is prohibited.
- Prizes will be awarded to the first-place finishers in the Individual event categories (male and female, under 50 and 50-and-over, 1-lap and 3-lap races) and to all members of first and second place teams in the Sprint and Tour categories. The rider with the slowest time will be awarded the Lanterne Rouge prize. We may also award a prize for best team name.
- Winners will be determined by ride judges based on times uploaded to Strava. Judges may use Strava data to ensure riders followed the course, started and finished between sunrise and sunset, and did not ride as a group. The judges’ decisions are final.
Proceeds from the Firefly Virtual Race will support the work of Firefly Trail, Inc., a non-profit organization working with local supporters and governments to complete a 39-mile multi-purpose path from Union Point to Athens on or near the historic corridor of the Georgia Railroad Athens Branch.