With the coronavirus shutting down so many events this year, a number of high-profile races have postponed until later in 2020 or cancelled altogether, electing to wait until next year. But some have come up with unique, novel approaches to allow those in quarantine or self-isolation to still participate in a major activity. One of those is the Race Across America (RAAM), an annual cycling event that sends riders on a coast-to-coast ride from one end of the U.S. to the other. Each year, it is amongst the most grueling and difficult events on the endurance calendar, covering some 3000 miles (4828 km) across 12 states in the process. This year, of course, the race won’t be taking place, at least not in the traditional sense. But riders who want to join a virtual version of the RAAM can now sign up to take part in the ride without ever leaving home.
The Virtual RAAM will take place from June 16-28 and will adhere to many of the same stipulations as the regular version. It will require riders to cover the full 3000 mile distance 12 days or less. Riders can submit their daily efforts and will be included on a constantly updated online leaderboard, which will track the standings over the course of the event. Those who are looking for something a bit less challenge can also sign up for the Virtual RAW (Race Across the West), which covers 925 miles (1488 km) in 12 days or The60, which challenges cyclists to see how far they can ride in just one hour each day. Find out more about each of these classifications here.
Now that we are less than a month away from the start of the VRAAM, entires into the various classifications opened this weekend. If you’re interested in signing up, you can do so right here. That gives you a few weeks to get your bike trainer and tracking system together as you prepare to take on a virtual course that will mimic the traditional RAAM in terms of distance and vertical gain, although it won’t be an exact copy of that race. It also gives you some time to plan out your training and nutritional schedule too, although with less than a month to go, hopefully you’re tuning those elements now.
When it’s all said and done, VRAAM promises to be the largest virtual cycling event ever held. That alone should make it fun and interesting to watch. But the fact that it is also accessible to more people this year should be interesting too. How many will sign up and how fast they will go remains to be seen. We’ll all just have to tune in on June 16 to watch it all unfold.
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