The Pikes Peak Ascent is scheduled for Saturday and the Pikes Peak Marathon is set for Sunday.
The weekend of these races is one of the biggest each year for Manitou Springs, which has had more than its share of challenges lately. For many consecutive days Manitou residents have taken more than a casual interest in the weather forecast, worried that the next thunderstorm would send another torrent of black mud through city streets.
Manitou is still digging out from an Aug. 9 flood. It wasn't the first and probably won't be the last.
Why not just cancel the races?
"There are so many factors that go into that," said Manitou Springs Mayor Marc Snyder. "The weather was part of that. If the forecast had been what we had earlier in the week we would have to have canceled."
As it is, Snyder added, "I have gotten a couple of calls from the community like 'how can you be doing that?' "
But proud Manitou is the little town that could.
As long as there wasn't going to be a significant flood risk, Manitou was going to be Manitou. Its small army of volunteers would continue to dig out and the races would be held.
"I think that's the best way to deal with it, psychologically," Snyder said.
That attitude mirrors what has occurred across America over the decades. During World War II, Major League Baseball scheduled games, encouraged by President Franklin Roosevelt, who thought people on the home front still needed a diversion. So many ballplayers were in the military services that in 1945, the St. Louis Browns had a one-armed outfielder, Pete Gray, who hit .218 and made his mark by visiting military hospital amputee wards.
Sometimes disasters have forced cancellation of games, but not seasons. It may not be unanimous in Manitou or America, but historically, our collective retort to threats, be they from enemies or Mother Nature, is "play ball."
"I've always admired the Israelis," Snyder said, "and how they deal with constant pressure. In the end, life and business have to go on."
Manitou's natural reflexes appear to be in good working order, as citizen volunteers appeared immediately to help homeowners and businesses clean up and salvage property.
"It continues to humble me that so many people have come out to volunteer," Snyder said.
Already, the Commonwheel Arts Festival on Labor Day has been moved because of flood risk - to Fields Park, 101 El Paso Blvd. Moved, but not canceled.
The races could have been canceled in the name of public safety, but the weather forecast looked dry for the weekend. They could have been put off if enough people felt it was inappropriate to go on with such frivolity when some town residents are hurting.
But that's not the way Manitou rolls and it's not the way America rolls, either.
Contact Barry Noreen at 636-0363 or email@example.com.