QCTF’s 2020/21 season starts
We are about to get under starter’s orders for a new road, mountainbike and triathlon season and, following a curtailed 2019/20 season and alengthy period of separation from our cycling friends and rivals, QCFis only too pleased this moment has come!
The racing calendaropens with the launch of a new Tuesday evening time trial series on theOlympic Cycling Track. These are open to specialist TT machines andstandard road bikes, with podiums offered for both. Solo racing againstthe clock is partly driven by the need to avoid contributing to thespread of covid-19 but also to support the participation of the largenumber of new cyclists. The Royal Air Maroc League is suspended but thiscreates opportunities to mix up our road racing a little; with timetrial, team time trial and handicap events opening the door to newracers, juniors and youths.
The event that brings all Qatar’s cyclists out on the roads – TheRide of Champions mass ride – is currently being planned with covid-19safety in mind and makes a welcome return to its early season slot inNovember. The other headline event, the National Road Race Championshipalso moves, to join its equivalent time trial championship on the sameweek in February. Additional sportive-style events are underconsideration but with dates not yet announced.
What the QCF events team are most excited about this season issomething they have wanted to do for several years – a three-daymountain bike stage race. We are also pleased to partner with a new raceorganiser. You may already know Theeb for their trail runs and thisyear they expand their offering to bring us a MTB marathon. A raceorganiser needing no introduction is the United Filipino MountainBikers! They have have been busy adding features to the Al Kheesa and AlKhor trails, getting them ready for the first of their deservedlypopular events starting 23rd October. We can expect jumps, drop-offs,technical climbs and some surprises, but with opt-outs for beginners andmore cautious roadies straying into the terrain of the pure off-roader.
The Qatar National Triathlon Seriesreturns for its third year: Five events which captialise on Qatar’sfantastic potential for open water swims. The first of those is theKatara Triathlon on 30th October but the multisport season actually starts three weeks earlier with two events from TriClub Doha,featuring beginner-friendly pool swims at Qatar Foundation. InDecember, we hope to welcome an elite international field to the firstAsian Cup to be hosted here. If that is able to go ahead, the publicrace will rival the Doha Triathlon as the main focus of the multisportyear. For endurance specialists and those looking for a big challenge,the Dukhan Triathlon is the one to sign up to. That’s moved to a newslot in January so there is plenty of time to work towards that goal.
It’s a return to racing but not a return to normality and nobody canbe certain that events can go ahead as planned. Covid-19 continues tohave a big impact on our lives and this is something that QCTF takesseriously. We ask all of you to rigorously follow the measures which wewill put in place to allow events to go ahead with some degree ofconfidence that we are not contributing to the spread of the virus andthat your fellow participants can feel comfortable that they can enjoysport without risk of bringing corona virus home with them. On apositive note, a boom in cycling has resulted from the combination ofCovid-19 restrictions on gyms and the opening of the Olympic CycleTrack. We look forward to welcoming cyclists, both new and old to ourraces and to helping you to get the most out of those seriously fastlooking bikes that some of you have bought!