While we will make every effort to start and continue the race at the scheduled time, weather is unpredictable. The decision to delay or cancel an event is not made solely by the race directors. It is made in conjunction with each county’s emergency manager and local meteorologists.
If the event is cancelled due to severe weather, we will provide a small credit for next year’s race to those who checked in at the start and were ready to race. Keep in mind that most of your entry fees have already been paid out to staff, vendors and other expenses (and my mortgage). There is no huge pot of cash to divvy up after the race. All prize money will be donated to our charitable partner and/or raffled off at the finish. We will raffle off all prizes at the finish if applicable.
- Life of the Racer. The safety of racers, support crew and volunteers is paramount. Because race directors have access to the latest severe weather conditions and riders do not, our highest priority is to keep others, racers in particular, out of harm’s way.
- Life of the Race. We want this race to go on for decades. If we do not put the life of the racer first, the life of the race is in jeopardy via litigation, permit restrictions, etc. due to decisions that could threaten the safety of all involved.
- Day of the Race. We will do everything possible to get this race started and finished. If necessary, we will delay the start, hold racers temporarily at a checkpoint or shorten the race. If the life of the racer is threatened and this threat continues throughout much of the day, we will be forced to cancel the race.
Tier 1 – Immediate Life Safety
- Lightning within a 10 mile radius
- Severe Thunderstorm
- Flash Flood
Tier 2 – Hazardous Conditions
- Dense Fog
- Sustained winds in excess of 25 mph or wind gusts greater than or equal to 35 mph
- Extreme Temperatures (e.g., 100 degrees for sustained period of time)
Tier 1 – Immediate Life Safety Response Considerations
If conditions exist under the Tier 1 Alerting Threshold, the following response consideration will be followed:
- Mason County Emergency Management will issue the Tier 1 alert.
- In the case of a nearby tornado, all race participants should take shelter where they are, as quickly as possible
- In the case of other Tier 1 weather, all support vehicles (and riders) will receive the tier 1 alert via text service to their phones and should contact and locate their riders on the course. Riders should shelter in the vehicle until the All Clear text alert is received.
- Volunteers at checkpoints will be contacted via radio or mobile phone (or in person if not reachable) and instructed to stop racers, direct them to the nearest shelter (vehicles or structures) and not allow them to continue racing
- Mason County Emergency Management will communicate a timeframe based on the conditions (i.e.: fifteen minutes) to clear the area and report back to your safe area
- All spectator areas at the start and finish lines must be evacuated
- Direct and assist those around you in moving to their vehicles or designated storm shelters
- Call 911 as needed
Note: The race will be suspended until 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder. Before resuming any event ensure the inclement weather has moved out of the area and considerations are safe to resume events. Emergency Shelter Area will be Big Bend Campground Community Building at the start, checkpoint location buildings along the way and the nearest public building near the finish (e.g., House of Flavors Restaurant). Support vehicles will seek out their racers if necessary.
Because there may be hazardous weather in one part of the course while some racers are in another part, the clock will continue to run where the weather is not hazardous. If there are long delays, we will consider extending the final cut-off time to encourage riders to take shelter in severe weather, knowing they may still be able to finish the race.
In the case of Tier 2 conditions, event staff will discuss with emergency management and the National Weather Service whether to suspend the race.
When facing an emergency, first call 911 if necessary and then call your support crew.
Lightning Safety Considerations:
The following are personal lightning safety tips from the National Lightning Safety Institute:
- When you first see lightning or hear thunder, shelter in a building or vehicle. Lightning often precedes rain, so don’t wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities.
- Avoid water. Avoid the high ground. Avoid open spaces. If you are near an open space and a woods with no other options for shelter, choose the woods.
- Avoid all metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, power tools, etc.
- Unsafe places include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters, or near trees.
- Where possible, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut.
- If lightning is striking nearby when you are outside, you should:
- Crouch down. Put feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder.
- Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.
- Apply first aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so. Injured persons DO NOT carry an electrical change and can be handled safety. Call 911 or send for help.