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VR Racing 101: What You Need to Know

With some of the world coming out of strict lockdown protocols in the coming days/weeks many organizations and sports are trying to reconfigure their seasons no with the last 3 months gone from our calendars. Although it'll probably be a while before we start seeing participation in mass start sporting events like our beloved triathlons and road races, several organizations have begun to shift a majority of their calendar to e-racing. With this new flood of racing, we thought we'd go into a little more detail on the types of racing out there and how you can win yourself a slot to the (Non-Virtual) IRONMAN World Champs 70.3 race.

Beginning in April, the folks behind IRONMAN rolled out what they call IRONMAN Virtual Club. This system in partnership with Rouvy is how IRONMAN wanted to keep its athletes focused on goals and engaged during the lockdown season. With this system, you can engage with fellow triathletes on their platform, track your training, compete in challenges, and IRONMAN VR races (either online or by uploading your real rides from popular apps like Garmin Connect). Although there were many questions at the beginning, the system has ironed out most of the kinks especially as to how they're to set redundancies in place to prevent people who will take advantage of not racing in person.

More recently, IRONMAN has announced that you will have a chance to compete for more than just badges and virtual points. Ironman says it will be handing out slots to 2020 70.3 World Championship via a four-race series starting next weekend with VR10. Around 100 slots will be awarded to the best athletes in an omnium over the four weeks of VR 10, 11, 12, and 13. You will be ranked on the best three races of the four events with the 70.3 distance qualifying for more points. 

Now for the important question, how to keep people honest? 

IRONMAN has instituted two divisions: a Classic division for those who want to participate and which the regulations will be lower, and a Challenger division, which comes with more rules. The idea was to allow people who just want to ride or run and don’t want to calibrate smart trainers before a race to still have a place to participate, while giving the more competitive athletes a division meant for them.

In the Challenger division, all runs must be done outside and all rides must be done either outside or on the Rouvy platform. The idea is that this creates some consistency across activities and calibrations. A rulebook is being finalized by IRONMAN's referees and will be available later this week. It will likely include things like calibration guidelines for smart trainers and weigh-ins for athletes. This is how Ironman will rely on a kind of “virtual training biological passport” to ensure that the race results from athletes are consistent with their other race results. Will this prevent cheating? Only time will tell but we're excited to take a crack a racing in the coming weeks and hopefully, a trip to New Zealand will be in our future in 2021.

How Ironman Virtual Club Works - 

1. Log in to your existing IRONMAN® account or create your profile to sync your wearable device app with your IRONMAN Virtual Club Dashboard.

2. Track your training, Challenges, and IRONMAN® VR™ races via your wearable device and sync your activity to your IRONMAN VIRTUAL CLUB profile upon completion.

3. Earn points for your activities. E.g. training sessions, challenges, or IRONMAN VR races

4. Redeem your points for great Rewards.

5. Stock up on IRONMAN VR swag by completing IRONMAN VR races.