Race Across America Goes Virtual For 2020
May 26, 2020
The Inaugural VRAAM Powered By FulGaz, June 16-28
Boulder, CO (May 26, 2021) – For the first time in 39 years Race Across America (RAAM) will not be held. The announcement was made with heavy hearts and it left a void for every ultra-racer in the world. But, when adversity appears, so does opportunity. Thanks to a group of creative and dedicated people the concept of a virtual RAAM came about.
The VRAAM concept was presented by filmmaker Anthony Gordon (Nothin’ But Shorts International) initially as an opportunity for RAAM racers to utilize all of the training miles that they put in leading up to the race and to further prepare for 2021. Initially focused on rookie racer and journalist, Rupert Guinness, for whom Gordon was making a film, it has evolved into a platform that includes all interested participants and followers to pursue a positive pathway during challenging times.
Gordon, the VRAAM Project Manager, believes this is an opportunity that will not only be challenging but also special, with it being open to riders from all around the world. “We are partnering with FulGaz to bring RAAM, into people’s home,” Gordon said. “Those who take part will be able to say they were part of the first virtual edition of the hardest bike race in the world.”
“When Gordo first came to me with the idea of VRAAM, I was all-in. That was followed by the thought of ‘what a daunting task’. But, I knew if anyone could pull it off, it would be Gordo and his team down in Australia, with a bit of help from our end. The team including David Fell (Revolve24 Australia), Sally Heginbotham (Social Media & PR), and the entire FulGaz staff, has been outstanding in their efforts. It has been amazing to watch the evolution of the races. This will be like no other virtual cycling event in the world,” said Rick Boethling, RAAM Executive Director.
From 16 – 28 June 2020, the first VRAAM will be held, powered by FulGaz, an app that looks and feels as close to riding outdoors as possible. This means that riders all over the world will be able to watch or enter themselves and ride across a range of event options.
There will be three categories of entry:
1. VRAAM – 3,000 miles (4,828 kms)
2. VRAW – (Race Across the West) – 925 miles (1,488 kms)
3. the60 – An assigned 60 minute ride for each of the 12 days
VRAAM and VRAW categories will have a 12 day time limit to ride. This is a race with the distance requirements of RAAM, with the emphasis still being on endurance, but also on enjoyment. While the courses are not the exact ‘real life’ courses they are all designed to mimic the actual races.
In addition to racing, RAAM racers have had a strong history of raising awareness and funds for great causes. VRAAM will continue that tradition as Guinness raises awareness for mental health. “But, what also convinced me to do VRAAM is its commitment to support the issue of mental health. Mental health is an area I am committed to, through my own self-esteem issues and struggle with bulimia. So, if my experience in VRAAM can help anyone who is struggling in any way, I’m all for it,” said Guinness.
Mental health researcher Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum from UNSW Sydney will advise on the benefits of exercise to wellbeing. Simon says “As little as 60 minutes of physical activity per week could prevent between 12-17% of cases of depression worldwide. It’s one of the most powerful forms of prevention we have.”
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