Virtual Events / Races / Rides

The world is still kind of „on pause“ it seems, and I‘m starting to search for options to get some challenges and events under my belt.

More and more offerings for virtual events and rides pop up. Some with very specific dates and times, others with a bit more loose rules for participation. A few with finisher medals, others just for fun and/or a good cause.

Many of us just finished the Tour of Sufferlandria. What‘s next?

How do you like these virtual events?
Are they a good alternative?
Did you participate in some?

Me: I have a pretty big virtual event planned for may, otherwise my calendar is very, very empty. Last year I wanted to start collecting some tri-experience in proper races. Now: :man_shrugging:

Same problem here. Last year I at least 3 tri-club events (possibly up to 5) plus my first Olympic tri and at least 1 other certified race. I also planned to do my second marathon and hopefully parlay that into a 70.3 in 2021. Welp, we all know how that went. Zero of that happened and now I haven’t been able to swim since last March and I haven’t done any running since October (tho that’s more my fault, but it’s also winter and I don’t have a treadmill).

Anyway… Last year I did a whole bunch of virtual running and some virtual cycling events. But they are all do on your own time and by yourself and weren’t really races. One was to do 700 miles of running, cycling, or a combination of the 2. I was able to knock that out in just over a month last fall. Plus there was my knighthood.

This year I was given the a coupon for the cost of my cancelled Olympic Tri from 2020 which I had to use before the end of Feb to sign up for a 2021 race, or lose it. So I signed up for a race in October. We’ll see if it happens. And if I’m not able to get into a pool soon, I’ll have to switch it to a duathlon (and also start running again in the near future).

The marathon I was signed up for in Nov 2020 was switched to a half marathon in March of 2022.

So, that’s all the “real” racing I have to look forward to. I don’t want to plan anything more until things actually improve safety-wise since I have at least 2 members of my immediate family that are high-risk, so I have to worry not just about myself, but also about bringing things home and endangering them.

In the meantime, on Monday I just did the first in a series of short TT races on Z***t. There are a LOT of virtual races there. They even have some virtual duathlons going on, too (if you have a treadmill and a running pod).

Ironman has an app with a lot of virtual tri events as well as single discipline events. Ironman also owns the Rock N Roll series and there are a number of virtual Rock N Roll events, as well. I did a number of both of those in 2020 until I stopped running for the winter.

I’m considering a second knighthood attempt, just for fun. And then there’s GSL…

Last year I was all about getting more bling. Now I realize I don’t have the money for all the bling, and the bling just doesn’t seem as fun when it’s a virtual event that I can do on my own time. Events that are more organized and time-constrained like the ToS feel better. But most events don’t feel the same as finishing a live race with other humans and being given a medal at the finish line (instead of one arriving in the mail whenever it happens to get here).

So many options. It just depends on what you’re looking for, and if you’re looking for bling, or looking for experiences.


I’ve been doing a lot of the Ironman Virtual Racing series but only for a personal training benefit. Looking at the results there seems to be some improbably incredible athletes.

It’s difficult to get to a pool right now so most of these efforts are duathlons. If they’re sprint or standard distance versions I do them back-to-back, using something like Open 120 for the bike (although GAWI is nice for a gentler approximation of 20km) and I let SufSpeed dictate the distance.

They are useful brick sessions that I can easily integrate with the Suf plan I’m following.

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Evan, your journey sounds way too familiar. :slight_smile:
Thank you for the great insights.

It may sound vein, but I’m looking for a bit of bling. The only thing my whole family and me growing up were good at is rolling over. :slight_smile: Never competed in anything. I broke the pattern, but a bit too late.
Now that I have my own little ones, I want them to have a bit of ambition. And I want to show them some medals as part of me being a role model.
After all, that’s where my whole Iron Man dream comes from. It’s part of the long term goal.

I will look into this. It sounds interesting - for now.

I’m intrigued, but not allowed to know, yet - I think.

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To be honest, for me the Ironman VR is just another veneer on brick sessions. I run outside and ride a Suf video.

If you’re really into Ironman or not into anything else, you can do the runs and rides on Rouvy (IM’s official partner platform) and actually make an event of it. As mentioned earlier, I’m suspicious of some competitors but that could be a bit of sour grapes from me because I can’t ride that fast.

IM also promote their own per event medals and finisher bundles. That could turn out expensive and, apart from the full Ironman distance event at the back end of 2020, I can’t see the value of giving myself a medal for training.

TLDR: Ironman VR is what you make it.


I did an IM VR last year (Olympic, duathlon option) when my main races (both 70.3) were cancelled. It was an ok experience. IM know how to put on a good event/show, and it was quite neat doing the bike stage on Rouvy with some others racers on the course at the same time, but ultimately as you say it’s really what you make it. The runs were outdoors (at least for me, maybe they have a treadmill option?) so it ultimately really was just a run-b-run brick session with the trainer. It got me going though, and if I’m honest I probably wouldn’t have put in a 2+ hour session that day otherwise (it was HOT, my weakness, but having entered I had the drive to get it done).

They’re free to enter and you earn ‘points’ that are redeemable on certain items at the IM store. You also get the opportunity to pay 30 bucks for a medal! Hurrah! (IM luuurve a merch opportunity).

One thing I’ve noticed about some of these virtual races is the disparity in entries. Some are free, some take themselves seriously and charge you. But on occasion I’ve also seen a nominal entry fee that does at least give you the swag bag/medal on completion (if that floats your boat) but also come with an entrant’s discount code for one apparel manufacturer or another. If you’re after some kit anyway you may find that the code will give you a discount that exceeds the entry fee.


I did the ToS and also vEveresting on “the other training platform”. You could always do the “badge collector” training plans? I’m going to try and mix and match to get through all the videos: inspiration - base - tempo - ftp - ac - nm. Going to start easy and get pretty hard, pretty quickly!

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There’s a few badges I’m working on, but slowly. It’s hard to do a structured plan, train for an event, and also grab badges, too. But, with some concerted effort, it’s doable. Like substituting multiple videos for long outdoor rides.