RIO GRANDE — While the COVID-19 pandemic has posed a variety of challenges to the way people conduct life in Gallia County, some have taken it as an opportunity to become more creative to solve problems. One such solution was the Big Foot “Fundero,” a biking time trial race.
“It was called the Bigfoot,” Matt Easter, the mayor of Rio Grande and an organizer of the event, said. “We named it after the champion of social distancing.”
The event, which was held at the University of Rio Grande bike and running trails, was a fun way for bikers to still safely socialize and ride together. It also celebrated local and other famous legends.
“We named every stage after a cryptozoic or urban legend,” Easter said. “We had a Mothman stage, we had a Nessie stage, we had a Yeti stage, we had a Chupacabra stage.”
The event was comprised of five stages totaling seven miles that bikers rode, with interval riding between stages. The longest stage was the Bigfoot stage, and the winner of it was named Bigfoot. Brad Irwin won the Bigfoot stage. The event featured 40 riders from as far away as Dayton, Easter said, and had sponsors from as far away as Asheville, North Carolina.
Masks were worn at registration, and riders rode at their own pace. Biking is an outdoor, socially-distanced sport, but Easter took precautions and worked with the Gallia County Health Department to ensure the event was safe as possible for participants.
Earlier this summer, the Rio Grande Annual Bean Dinner, which is a fundraiser for the Rio Grande Memorial Fund, was canceled due to public health concerns caused by the pandemic. Proceeds from the Bigfoot time trial went to the Rio Grande Memorial Fund. According to Easter, $1,000 was raised.
“It was just really nice to see the generosity of people that came out,” Easter said, “and support such a great cause.”
Easter said the event could not have been possible without the help from the University of Rio Grande.
The event took place earlier this month.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.