Image credit Atmos Photography DK

On Sunday morning Australian time, the Virtual Race Across the West saw the first riders begin to complete the 1528km (950 miles) journey from Oceanside, California to Bayfield, Colorado.

Powered by FulGaz, the race saw some of the world’s best Ultra-endurance riders ride for up to 20 hours per day on stationary trainers around the world in an effort to qualify for RAW & RAAM 2021.

Some of the stories that we’ve seen coming through are absolutely amazing, from Brazil to India we cannot properly express our admiration at the incredible effort from all the of riders and the amazing support so many of them received from their teams.

Here’s a collection of some of the riders and the snapshot behind their race. Be sure to check out their social accounts and relive all the action from the inaugural VRAW event. You can view the full results & leaderboard here.

Simon Potter – United Kingdom 🇬🇧

A full-time gardener who is training for the Race Across America in 2021, 32 year old Potter used VRAW as an opportunity to practice long hours in the saddle and push his body beyond its limits.

Taking line honours as the first to complete the journey, proud Alton Cycling Club member, Potter moved into first place with just under 100miles to go.

Simon now sets his sights onto the Race Across America in 2021, you can donate to his Go Fund Me here. 

 
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Ginger Howell 🇺🇸

There’s been some incredible stories coming out of VRAW so far, Ginger Howell commenting,

“I SURVIVED VRAW! 😂😂😂
Barely… I don’t think I could have ridden another five miles at the end.

Virtual Race Across the West is the most brutal race I have ever done – by far. 950 miles in 94 hours – including sleep time, of which there wasn’t much!

I was the 2nd female, and 7th overall, out of 82 starters. It wildly exceeded my expectations. I knew I was in the best shape of my life, since I’ve been training full time the last few months. But this race was much, much longer than an Ironman, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The course was absolutely brutal. The organizers added a bunch of extra elevation gain, to make up for the fact that we’d be on the trainer, and not outside battling the elements. By the time I reached the 1000 km marker, every muscle in my body was hurting.

There were times when I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it. I don’t usually get emotional, but on the last half mile I actually started crying, knowing I was really going to finish. Then I saved the ride and collapsed on the basement floor.”

 

Elin Starup – Denmark 🇩🇰

Danish rider, Elin Starup battled through fatigue, endless days on the bike, and still managed to maintain a smile in almost all of her photos.

Her FulGaz set up included a second screen and bike for friends to come and ride with her, to share the mental load of doing such an epic race and a viewing chair for people to enjoy the view of her in the pain cave.

She even had friends & family drop by with flowers to help bring the outdoors inside for her!

Well done Elin!

 
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Chris Calimano – USA 🇺🇸

Chris Calimano, from his home in Staten Island, New York was stoked to have finished this event.

Is this even was enough, he is also a remarkable endurance runner, smashing a 35 mile run just two days before VRAW. He covered all 35 miles of the Staten Island Greenbelt Trail System in 12.5 hours.

It’s an amazing effort to finish VRAW and superhuman to finish it with 35 miles in the legs.

Even after riding over 1500km, he was still able to describe it as ‘fun’… Chris, we don’t know what your definition of fun, but it’s wildly different from ours!

Well done Chris.

Joanna Sharpe – New Zealand 🇳🇿

Kiwi rider Joanna Sharpe was one of the first across the line, riding for 3 days 13hrs 22mins. Her main focus though was the amazing support she received along the way.

On facebook, Joanna sung the praises of her team.

She’s a wrap!! 🏁
3 days 13hrs 22mins 👯‍♀️
VRAW Virtual Race Across America (Race Across the West) 1530km

Was a bit wrecked when we finished so sorry for the delay 🙏🏼

Massive thanks is the priority.
Jude Billows was with me the whole way and had to make a call for me to keep going twice, when I developed an infection day 2 🤒and when I thought I’d broken myself 300km from the finish. How hard it must have been to tell me to keep going i was fine must have been heartbreaking ❤️
Training Wheels an incredible job to not only help me get to the start, but to finish and taking a win and overall position of 4th was beyond my imaginings 🌟
Liv Cycling New Zealand Evo Cycles for my epic mate ThunderHawk 🚲 and the on hand advice on everything I needed. Sorry for the damage I’ve undoubtedly put on him but I know you will be able to give him some intensive care and get him back on track 🏆
Hammer Nutrition New Zealand 🥤 I know for fact there is NO WAY I’d have made this without their nutrition
Toot Kit 🍑 I changed kit regularly but the comfort, support and quality of this kit made me able to stay in the saddle. When swelling moved things next level and increase of 1 kit size kept me comfy and my 🍑 is still in 1 piece!

VRAAM FulGaz Revolve24 🚦
No exaggeration the race was flawless I had no hitches despite solid riding. The app was perfection, the organisation impeccable and data checking on point so we were all on a level and delivered results based on performance with 💯 integrity

And lastly you all for incredible messages of support and encouragement 💜
when things get dark reading how many of you were dot watching, following updates, taking your precious time to message me was so humbling how could I not keep going. You will never know how much it meant to me and whilst I didn’t reply coz I was working hard I read ever single one and drew them into my heart.

Ok that’s me energy wise for now. Photos post race to prove I am human and the interview you can watch on my page thanks to Lee Kreider (Ohio RAAM) was not a reflection of how I looked close up 😂

Maria Emilia Bugarin Guedes 🇧🇷

Brazilian rider, Maria, was an absolute Tour de Force on the bike and at updating her fans on social media.

Somehow., over her 1500km+ journey through the West, she managed regular updates, interviews, live crosses and even milestone posters when she reached 1000km & 1500km mark!

As you can see by the video, an emotional Emilia almost broke down in tears as she finished the VRAW. One of the most underrated aspects of this event is that fanfare or lack thereof. Normally there is a host of others to share in the sense of accomplishment in finishing a race as epic as this, but for many of these riders, they are finishing in the middle of the night, with only one of two close friends or family nearby.

Congratulations to all of you on this outstanding achievement.

 

Team SkyDog Ultra Cycling – Demark 🇩🇰

Another Dane in the mix, Team SkyDog Ultra Cycling battled through sore muscles, long days and Danish summer weather to finish this 1500km+ epic.

Set up in a carport, with both knees strapped, he managed to finish the ride in just under four days. Set up in his driveway he had a host of visitors across the event with friends families, news crews, and even the odd dog dropping by!

 

You can check out the leaderboard and full results here for the VRAW. The Virtual Race Across the West is organised by Revolve24, powered by FulGaz.