Gardener Simon Potter, 32, from Hampshire in England has become the champion of the first ever Virtual Race Across the West (VRAW), completing the gruelling bike ride from home in just over 3 days, on only 3 hours and 40 minutes of sleep total.

Reflecting on his achievement, Simon said ‘I’m relatively new to the ultra-cycling world and this was my first time cycling for over 24 hours. The amount of uphill climbing made it much harder than I could have imagined, but I’ve proven to myself that I’m able to dig deep and motivate myself even at the point of exhaustion. 

‘One of the toughest parts of the virtual ride is the lack of stimulation from scenery or the elements that I’d normally enjoy on the road. I’m so proud to have won this race, and even prouder to have been able to cycle alongside some of the world’s best ultra-cyclists.’

After his spectacular performance at VRAW, Simon hopes to no longer be the underdog, but to make a name for himself as an elite athlete. 

In the women’s event, 45 year old Leasing Executive, Joanna Sharp of New Zealand took the top step. She had never ridden a stationary trainer and didn’t even own one prior to signing up for the Virtual Race Across the West. 

“How it feels to win the word that comes to mind most is surprising! I honestly didn’t set out with any expectations… I live in rural New Zealand having moved here from the UK in 2000. My family all still live in the UK so it was fabulous for them to follow the event from so far away! 

She added, ”My love of long distance cycling means that I do get up in the early hours, usually 3.30am, to train before commuting into the city and spend the weekends riding in our beautiful countryside having adventures.” 

By the numbers

  • Number of entrants – 80
  • Number of finishers – 61
  • Days of racing – 12
  • Start of race – 16 June
  • Distance – 1528km
  • Total distance ridden by all riders: 102,406.09km
  • Fastest finishing time – Simon Potter, 3days 5hours 11mins 17secs