As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its wrath on the human race, we still find ourselves confined indoors. Alas, the race must go on with IRONMAN’s Virtual Race 2 (IMVR2) after the success of the inaugural one, although it didn’t go smoothly for all the professional athletes.
Three-time IRONMAN world champion, Mirinda Carfrae’s (Rinny) first race ended prematurely when her husband, Tim O’Donnell – a professional athlete himself – accidentally kicked and unplugged her bicycle’s cable which connected her to the race. Will Rinny take revenge this time?
On our Malaysian shores, ToughASIA spoke to yogi-turned-triathlete, Sue Kay on how she completed the virtual duathlon Run 3km – Ride 40km – Run 10km. This simulates the 5150 Olympic distance triathlon where the 3km run replaces the 1.5km swim.
ToughASIA: How did it feel racing virtually compared to the on-the-ground race?
Sue Kay: At first, I thought it would be the same, as in the distance and net time to complete the full 70.3 distance should be the same or better (because we have the chance to rest in between segments), but it wasn’t!
In fact, it was tougher as my friends and I discovered it’s because there’s no one to cheer you on!
During races, we get motivation from supporters and other competitors. We also feel the competitive spirit during the race, as we yearn to overtake the person in front of us. When you’re doing the challenge in isolation, it feels like just another training day, not a race day.
ToughASIA: What equipment did you use for the race?
Sue Kay: My Elite Direto Smart Trainer, my treadmill, iPad for Zwift, TV for visual entertainment, headphones for auditory entertainment, a fan and air conditioning to cool the body temperature. Plus, my ever loyal training buddy, my Suunto smartwatch.
ToughASIA: Did you have any problems executing the equipment, software or website for the race?
Sue Kay: I didn’t experience any hiccups, but my friends did in the initial IRONMAN Virtual Race 1 (IMVR1). I already expected there to be some since this was the first virtual race series by IRONMAN. IMVR1 saw a lot of people losing their workout data, unable to claim their challenge badges, unable to connect to the app or website. However, IRONMAN being the professionals, they solved these problems immediately on the same day. So no one publicly complained about IMVR1.
ToughASIA: Did you compete alone, with a friend or with a group of friends online?
Sue Kay: Did the challenge with our fellow #teamzwift which we had set up as soon as our Malaysian lockdown was announced. In this team, we have members of all clubs from Kuala Lumpur – RC Coaching, OCT, SABike and GoGetters. I think it’s important that at this time, we forget about being in our clubs and focus more of unity over division. That’s the yogi in me talking. 🤣 so I insist on maintaining #teamzwift.
ToughASIA: When you got to know about this race, did you spread the message to your friends and family? About to how many persons?
Sue Kay: When I received the email from IRONMAN, I signed up immediately. Then, I spread the word on my social media platforms and especially to the members in #teamzwift as they would have the bare minimum of having a zwift account. The run, they can do without a treadmill but having a smart trainer is a must.
ToughASIA: If you have to pay for it, would you participate?
Sue Kay: I would as a challenge but I might sign up if it’s around RM50, with goodie bags thrown in.
Overall, Sue and teammates have been enjoying the virtual challenge as it allows them to immerse in some competitive spirit which stuck indoors. Looking forward to the next challenge already, would you be willing to join them?