BikeExchange is proud to announce their support and partnership with the inaugural Virtual Race Across America (VRAAM.) BikeExchange will also be following Rupert Guinness, Australian sports journalist and author, with his quest to conquer the event and raise awareness for mental health.
The VRAAM event is as a result of the 2020 edition of the Race Across America (RAAM) being cancelled, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Initially, VRAAM was created as an alternative for participants to put their training to good use with a view to being better prepared for RAAM in 2021. However, VRAAM has simultaneously been seen as a platform for all interested participants and followers to pursue a positive pathway during the changing times. With this in mind, this exciting and innovative sporting initiative is now focused on helping to generate awareness and support for mental health.
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.
Anthony Gordon, the VRAAM Founder & Project Manager, believes the event is an opportunity that will not only be challenging but also special, with riders from all around the world taking part in a range of options. “We are partnering with FulGaz to bring RAAM into people’s homes,” 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.”
There will be three categories of entry:
VRAAM - 3,000 miles, 4,828km
Virtual Race Across the West (VRAW) - 925 miles, 1,488km
the60 – a series of one hour ride held over 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.
“We are expecting millions of people to watch or take part in the race and FulGaz is a fabulous platform to keep riders engaged in ultra HD, while being able to instantly connect to all major brands of smart trainers,” said Gordon.
On the announcement of the BikeExchange support and partnership Mark Watkin, BikeExchange Global CEO said, “Whether you are a competitive rider, commuter or recreational and family rider, the benefits of riding a bike are significant across both physical and mental health, social and environmental areas. So being involved with VRAAM, following Rupert’s journey and the inspirational message it sends to cyclists of all abilities is terrific. Importantly the focus on supporting mental health awareness is something we are very passionate about”.
In the lead up to the event BikeExchange will be sharing updates and content around mental health together with the opportunity to win an entry into one of the event options. During the event, this will continue together with the VRAAM event progress in our dedicated VRAAM Race Hub.
Australian sports journalist and author, Rupert Guinness will ride the VRAAM from Race HQ in the G-Brothers Mercedes showroom at Mona Vale in Sydney. He will be joined by an array of personalities, cyclists and athletes in the virtual world. Everyone will get a chance to ride alongside them.
Guinness, 58, who had been training for the 2020 RAAM, seized the opportunity to ride in VRAAM once it was put to him by Gordon who was to have been his crew in the RAAM.
“First, I laughed at the idea; but the more I thought, I saw this as a prime chance to put my RAAM training to good use and set myself up for stronger preparation for RAAM in 2021,” Guinness said.
“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.”
Mental health researcher Associate Professor Simon Rosenbaum from UNSW Sydney will advise on the benefits of exercise to wellbeing. Simon says “Both isolation and reduced physical activity can take their toll on our mental health, while exercise and social connection are both protective factors. VRAAM will ensure riders get plenty of ‘Mental Miles’ under their belt which in these difficult times will help inspire everyone to prioritise our physical and mental health.”
Want to get involved? Register your interest in VRAAM today
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