The endurance event company is moving into the virtual space by adding a connected fitness experience.
The IRONMAN Group has announced the acquisition of FulGaz, an indoor virtual cycling app, in its quest to add a fully connected fitness offering. The recent addition to The IRONMAN Group will further round out its massive global portfolio, including multi-sport endurance events in over 55 countries. The live events attract over a million athletic participants each year.
FulGaz, founded in 2014 in Melbourne, Australia, uses 4K video and provides a realistic cycling experience with a vast content library of routes around the globe. The collection of trails in the app includes over 1,500 courses from over 40 countries. FulGaz aims to be as immersive as possible, simulating a real-life cycling experience with footage filmed by expert contributors and released each week.
Andrew Messick, President and CEO of The IRONMAN Group, says that the acquisition of FulGaz would assist the company in moving forward in the realm of virtual riding and connected fitness, which is gaining popularity. Messick says that partnering with Mike Clucas, founder of FulGaz, aligns with their goals.
“We are uniquely suited to provide athletes a 360-degree experience using the innovations Mike and his team have created within FulGaz’s high-quality virtual riding technology. FulGaz’s emphasis on providing high-quality augmented reality experiences aligns with our connected fitness strategy and goals. We believe this acquisition will set us up for long-term success as we work to integrate this versatile platform into our portfolio of digital offerings,” Messick says.
FulGaz’s name is a play on the German phrase Vollagas, which means ‘full throttle,’ meaning full gas, a Euro pro-bike rider slang for “flat out.” Founder Clucas is an experienced athlete, who traveled the world on a bike. After studying Sports Science and Exercise Physiology, he practiced as a professional athletic coach. The tech world started to beckon him, and eventually, after an accident on a slick road, Clucas sought out to connect tech with cycling, creating a virtual pathway for what would become FulGaz.
The acquisition deal with The IRONMAN Group, says Clucas, will help FulGaz expand exponentially while still focusing on its core base: FulGaz’s community of athletes.
“Becoming part of The IRONMAN Group allows our team to continue to develop our product to the next level with the backing of a global partner that provides access to amazing events and passionate communities of athletes. Together, we will continue to capture the best rides from around the globe and offer the best indoor riding experience available,” says Clucas, who has also assumed a VP role of Digital Sports for The IRONMAN Group.
FulGaz will be able to expand offerings while enhancing the training experience of multi-sports athletes, which is elemental to Clucas because of his own background.
“For me personally, this is an opportunity to leverage my years of high-level triathlon and cycling coaching experience to help The IRONMAN Group expand its digital offerings and achieve its goals,” he says.
Subscribers will soon see hardware improvements. One unique feature is that users will be able to see “real-life event courses” before race day, to give precise athletic preparation for real-world events.
“FulGaz brings a strong foundation on which to build our connected fitness offerings to prepare our athletes to have a successful race day,” says Roshanie Ross, Chief Digital Officer for The IRONMAN Group.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.