Following the cancellation of this year's Race Across America (RAAM) due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 12-day event's emergence, starting June 16, will now allow riders to try their luck from the comfort of their own home.
Powered by the FulGaz app, participants will feel immersed in the virtual outdoor experience, something VRAAM project manager Anthony Gordon hopes will help improve mental health during a difficult time.
"We are partnering with FulGaz to bring RAAM into people's home," 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:
1. VRAAM - 3,000 miles (4,828kms)
2. VRAW (Race Across the West) - 925 miles (1,488kms)
3. Gran Fondo - 6 hours per day
The VRAAM and VRAW categories will afford riders a 12 day time limit to complete the event, with the emphasis still on endurance.
"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," Gordon said.
"It's the closest thing to riding on the road that you can get at home."
Australian sports journalist and author Rupert Guinness will be among those entering the event from the G-Brothers Mercedes showroom at Mona Vale in Sydney.
"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 a 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."
Cycling Central will livestream certain sections of the VRAAM and will check in with Guinness and a number of pro cyclists and athletes around the world.
For more information, register here.