The Race Across America (RAAM) is an event that features on many a cyclist’s bucket list and with June’s 39th edition cancelled, people are being challenged to ride it from home on virtual platform FulGaz – and besides riding the equivalent of the full, 3,000-mile route in the Virtual Race Across America, there are also more leg-friendly versions inviting you to tackle a shorter Race Across The West, or even just to ride a six-hour segment each day.
When the virtual event, due to start on 16 June, was announced earlier this month, the announcement said that it would take place in a custom Zwift environment that was under development.
> Virtual Race Across America to take place in custom Zwift environment
Those plans have changed now, though, with a subsequent post from VRAAM project manager Anthony Gordon on the RAAM Facebook page saying that “After carefully considering rider experience, volume of interest and ease of use, we are proud to now be powered by FulGaz.”
Further information will be provided over the coming weeks, and you can head here to register your interest.
Solo – not team – entries are being accepted and riders have 12 days to complete either the VRAAM or the VRAW.
To complete the 3,000-mile route of the former, you would have to ride your home trainer for an average of 250 miles a day over those 12 hours, at an average speed of around 21mph without factoring in any breaks – a mental and physical challenge that may well deter all but the most ardent indoor cyclists.
The VRAW, which covers 925 miles for an average daily mileage of 78 miles, is likely to be a more attractive option for many cyclists, especially if you had been planning a multi-day event this year such as the Deloitte Race Across Britain, now cancelled.
Organisers say: “All ride distances will be stunning road segments, predominantly North America. They will not be the actual RAAM course.
“VRAAM and VRAW will be over 12 days. Each day will have an allotted number of segments allowing riders to accumulate as many miles as possible per day. These will then make up a progress/leader board. The maximum time that a rider can be on the bike is 20hrs per day. No Teams unfortunately, this year.”
Tracing its roots back to 1982, thousands of cyclists have now competed in the coast-to-coast event from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, whether individually or as members of teams.
Unlike bikepacking events such as the TransContinental Race where riders have to be self-sufficient with no outside help at all, individual riders or teams on RAAM are permitted to have a support crew – according to experienced crew chief, David Stiles, the “magic number” for a solo rider is eight.
If social distancing rules in the UK are still in force in mid-June, it’s unlikely you’ll have that many people in your household.
But even if you do have a partner, kids or housemates, who can help support you mentally as well as with food and drink etc, or if you plan on riding the full VRAAM solo, you may want to put a bit of thought beforehand into how best to keep yourself rested, fed and hydrated.
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