video courtesy of Wattie Ink.

Ed. Note: not to be outdone by yesterday's post about Cody Beals' competing in last weekend's Ironman VR3 is new signee Sam Long's victory at the VR2, one week prior. We spin back the clock to show you what it was like from Sam's point of view, and pepper the young American pro with some questions.

Did you feel any kind of pre-event buzz, as you would before a normal race? If different, how was it different?
 
To be honest, no, I did not. I thought virtual racing wasn’t really going to be real. However, when I got in the race, I was quite surprised with how into it I got! Maybe I would have started better had I had some pre-race nerves.

 
What do you like about the format/experience?

I think the best thing about the VR racing is that it brings people together and helps us feel more connected in this tough time. I also think it’s great to motivate people and that everyone ends up getting a great workout. 
 
What do you think is missing from the format/experience?

Personally, I think there are a lot of complications with the validity of the race results. Weight doping, uncalibrated trainers, etc. that in a lot of instances can make it difficult to decide who the better/best cyclist is. Of course, the only way to do that is have people on the road, so it’s a good alternative!

 
How do you think your current training helped you for this race?
 
I suppose I had done some high-end threshold work to be prepared for my Mt. Lemmon KOM which was earlier in the week. That and a lot of base miles made me very strong. I really only turned the gas on halfway through and found I had some high-octane gas in me to push hard. More than anything though it’s that I am consistent on the bike week in and week out and year after year. 
 
Tell us more about the 700 miles of cycling week. Why was that interesting to you? Did you discover anything during the week about yourself as a cyclist?
 
This was one of the best cycling weeks I have ever had. It interested me because of the absolute challenge (especially with 63 miles of running in that week) and it wasn’t like I was riding along at a slow pace! It was good, solid riding. I was drawn to the challenge because with the worries around COVID-19, I have an unquiet mind and nothing quiets my mind like long rides. It also fit in with the training objective of building a base and working on strength. I learned a lot about myself as a cyclist. I learned that I’m stronger than I thought as I didn’t have a single day during which I felt bad all week. I also learned that I tend to get stronger as the volume builds, up to an eventual breaking point.