To say that we are impressed by 14-year-old VRAW competitor Royce Felten (Doodlenerd on the leaderboard) from Riverside California is the understatement of the year. 

He is one of the bunch battling to finish the Virtual Race Across the West, a 1500+km journey that takes him from Oceanside, CA to the mid-West all from the comfort of his lounge. 

As the event’s youngest rider, a person with autism and a cancer survivor, he is currently using this platform as a fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Fullerton Cares Autism Foundation. The entire team at FulGaz is in awe of his riding prowess and passion for the VRAW! 

When asked why he was doing this race, he said “I haven’t done anything like this before. I had been trying to do the non-virtual one with a team of four juniors before COVID-19 cancelled the in-person race.”

When asked how he prepared for the race he added “I’ve been doing 150-mile training weeks since COVID-19, and about 100-mile training weeks before that for a long time… [I’ve been preparing] at least a year.”

Buoyed by the support of his family, Royce has been taking a very disciplined approach to his rides, getting up at 6am each day to smash the miles out. 

After breaking the 500 mile mark, Royce rested for just an hour before heading outside to go and play frisbee with his dog. The recovery time of Royce is truly amazing. 

His support crew (mum) has been live streaming via facebook a number of his rides, which has helped inspire the community around him to dust off their bikes and get active.

Royce first came to endurance riding via multi day junior stage racing a few years ago. As a young racer, he set the hour record both as a 12 and 14 year old at the San Diego Velodrome, where via his coach he learned more about the Race Across the West, igniting his passion and drive to compete.

He trains weekly at the Los Angeles velodrome with mostly adults which include a bunch of national champions and Olympians and he has competed at track nationals twice in 2017 and 2019, placing top 15 both times.

To say Royce is a fan of bike riding is putting it mildly, he’s met Peter Sagan twice at the Tour of California, presented the white jersey to Julian Alaphilippe in 2015 and has a photographic memory to all the televised races related and is able to perfectly recall race action and who took which stages and jerseys from the Grand Tours. 

He is supported by his coaches, Sean Wilson and Rachael Wilson of Team California Juniors, an elite junior team that is very focused on inclusivity. He also receives support form his coach & multu time RAW/RAAM rider, Matt Hoffman who he bounces his ultra-long distance dreams off. Finally and most importantly, he get a huge amount of support from his home team which includes his family, but most importantly his dog Kennedy.

His number one piece of advice to anyone thinking of tackling VRAM  it to “Get a silly dog. A silly dog like my Doodle [Kennedy] has helped me keep my mind off the big challenge of doing 100 miles every day when I wake up. She keeps me happy and makes me laugh.” 

When not racing or riding this summer, he is reading, playing with his dog, and studying AP history with the goal of becoming a teacher in the future. 

To donate to his chosen charities, visit his GoFundMe. Proceeds will go to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Fullerton Cares Autism Foundation.