Brad Lincoln from Rossendale Triathlon Club is taking on the Virtual Race Across America to raise money for Young Minds.
The Race Across America is one of the longest running ultra-endurance cycling events in the world, with cyclists racing 3,000 miles across 12 States, from California on the US west coast to Maryland on the east coast, in just 12 days.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the race had to be cancelled however, in its place, came the first ever virtual edition. Racing from various locations, 20 competitors from 11 countries are all taking on the race including Brad Lincoln from Rossendale Triathlon Club in Lancashire.
Lincoln is raising money for the mental health charity Young Minds who provide mental health support for children and young people across the UK.
“We have a personal connection to mental health problems,” Lincoln said. “A classmate of one of my children took his own life last year and the work of Young Minds is key to helping young people who are struggling with their mental health.”
You can find out more about the work of Young Minds on their website, here.
The format of the virtual race is the same as the normal race, with competitors having 12 days to complete the distance. Working with a software company, the organisers have created a video course and tracking system that gives Lincoln and his competitors a road to follow whilst cycling.
Racing from various points around the world, competitors all set off at 2pm (BST) on Tuesday 16 June to make their way across the route, whilst able to see where one another are.
“It’s quite emotional,” Lincoln said. “We’re all competing in the same race from various points in the world, united by the same course.
“The different time zones add a new dynamic to the race because people are sleeping at different times, so you can go to bed in one position and wake up in another because of when people are awake.”
Lincoln is competing from his animal shed with the company of the family cat, Xavier.
“I’m up at 4am to start cycling and then going to bed at 1am, so I’m not seeing too much of my family,” commented Lincoln. “They’re bringing me food and we’ll catch-up when we cross over, but my main interactions are with Xavier.”
With nutritional support from his son who is completing a sports science degree, and motivational calls from members of the tri club, Lincoln is trying to make sure he spends as much time on the bike as possible.
“I’ve done a bit of research and, because of the 12 day time limit, I need to maintain an average speed,” added Lincoln. “I’m trying to spend as much time cycling as possible, even if I slow down, to avoid not moving at all.
“As a family we’ve been doing the virtual pub quiz on Thursday nights, so I was able to join in from the bike as a bit of a distraction whilst I cycled. I’m approaching a quarter distance and time, so currently on track after quite a mountainous start.”
The virtual race is being counted as a qualifier for the 2021 Race Across America, so those who make it in 12 days will have the chance to race the actual course next year and enjoy the scenery, something Lincoln admits he is missing out on.
“It would be nice to be able to see the Grand Canyon that I’ve cycled past, but one benefit of being on a turbo is the lack of being rained on.”
Lincoln is battling around the top-five and you can follow his progress and see the leaderboard on the button below. You can also donate to Young Minds on his JustGiving page below.