Racing and training this year aren’t just about podiums and the post-race food. As most races and group-training sessions have gone virtual, athletes are being challenged to reconnect with their “why” as they settle into this new norm.
We know the bike trainer (or even riding solo) isn’t always the most motivating way to log some miles, but you can spice up your time in the saddle by connecting with friends (new and old), pro triathletes, and competitors across the globe. Check out the equipment you might need and then go explore any of these five easy-to-join virtual rides:
1. The Virtual Ride For Hobnobbing With A Pro: TCB – Team Charles-Barclay
Here’s your chance to ride with 2019 Kona-runner up Lucy Charles-Barclay while interacting with her about everything from her very cute dog to what her training week looks like. Lucy and her husband, Reece, have a social ride on Zwift every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET. The ride is catered to all levels, meaning you can opt to ride easier and use the Zwift “chat” function to engage with Lucy and Reece, or you can challenge yourself with the session’s weekly KOM push. Sign up for the weekly ride here.
2. The Virtual Ride For Good: Great Cycling Challenge USA
Pick your favorite state and ride across it—virtually—while helping to fight children’s cancer. The Great Cycle Challenge USA kicks off in September and registration is free. Simply sign up, set both a miles-ridden goal and donation goal (as low or high as you wish), and see how many states you can cross from the safe (dis)comfort of your pain cave. Plus, raise over $500 in donations and you’ll get a swanky Great Cycle Challenge USA jersey—we all know triathletes love their swag.
3. The Overachievers’ Virtual Ride: Great American Ride
See the entire U-S-of-A without ever leaving home. The Great American Ride is a 3,700-mile virtual journey from Washington State to Washington D.C. with a few “stops” in-between. Because even the most dedicated of us might cringe at sitting on our saddles for 3,000+ miles, you can assemble a virtual team of four, eight, or 12 riders to complete the quest from now until September 11. This online ride, which has a $50 registration fee, also has a charitable component: supporting the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, which converts former railroad lines to multi-use recreational trails across the country.
4. The Virtual Ride For Tri: Rev3 Virtual Triathlons
Rev3, the beloved family-oriented racing company, is back after a few-year hiatus, and just like most races, was forced to turn its 2020 events virtual. The crew at Rev3 have made their triathlons special though—awards in the form of swag are given to those who get the most likes on their Rev3 Virtual Triathlon-related social media posts. Participants are given the option to ride indoors or outdoors on any course of their choosing (same goes for the run), and complete a 5-15 minute “third activity” of the athlete’s choice (jump rope, core workout, swim cords) in place of a traditional swim. You can check out their full event offerings here.
5. The Virtual Ride For Meeting People: Group Workouts in TrainerRoad
For those who want to keep their virtual riding group small, TrainerRoad offers group workouts, which are limited to 10 athletes. In each group workout, you can see and hear all nine other athletes with TrainerRoad’s integrated video and voice features. The workouts can be tailored to an individual participant’s abilities, so everyone gets faster at their own pace, with no fear of being dropped. This is a great option to ask a local tri legend, coach, or club to host a virtual ride. If you want to meet new athletes, group workout codes are frequently shared in the TrainerRoad forum, as well.