This Sunday May 17 was scheduled to be the start (“Grand Depart”) of the 2020 XWA. XWA (Cross-Washington) is a bikepacking race on the mostly gravel and singletrack Cross Washington Mountain Bike Route.
Last year 37 folks started and 15 officially finished.
XWA is the brainchild of ultra endurance gravel enthusiast Troy Hopwood. Troy says “XWA started as my training routes for the Tour Divide. Then when we almost lost the Palouse to Cascades Trail I decided I wanted to do something to drive usage. This then motivated me to create a cross-state route.”
Troy’s endurance gravel resume includes:
Troy also happens to be a software developer, and has merged his coding skills and enthusiasm for cycling. If you use Strava you may be familiar with Bandók Ride Names, which suggests creative ride name options.
Compelled by life during coronavirus, Troy has expanded the scope of his Bandók “passion project” and added Bandók Virtual Events, which is built on the Strava platform. The 2020 Virtual XWA is one of the first Bandók events. Participation is simple:
1. Select the event(s) you want to do
2. Ride your bike. Riding indoors or outdoors both work. Post your rides to Strava.
3. View the virtual event page
2020 Virtual XWA participants must post their XWA data on Strava between 7:00:00 AM on 5/17/2020 and 7:00:00 AM on 6/17/2020.
Spectators are welcome to view the virtual race.
Follow #virtualxwa on Instagram
Check out the XWA Virtual Depart on Facebook
Other events currently on the Bandók menu include Tour Divide, Everest Challenge, and Trans Am.
Troy’s vision is to create additional events that will continue to have value after covid. Other ideas include a “Midsummer Iditarod” cycling event, and odd challenges like virtually swimming the English Channel (on a bike!?). Troy also mentioned that he has a couple other ideas in the works he’s not yet willing to discuss. His goal is to provide folks with fun ways to challenge themselves and push their limits.