This year, the Belgian Waffle Ride offered up it’s sixth course in six years, with 12,000 feet of climbing, 41-miles of off-road across 17 sectors, headwinds in every direction, prickly desert heat and deep sand arroyos.
After some years of riding, accomplishing several Double Centuries, making a few mistakes, and consulting a lot of information, I’ve learned a few basic rules that you can follow to optimize your recovery.
Not unlike the Spring Classics, the BWR course has changed over the years and 2017 is no different. This year’s course is very different in many ways from the previous editions, but it does take its cues from the best sectors of previous years, as prescribed by the riders, and added in some new ones to create the best, most dynamic course yet.
The best bike is really dependent on the rider’s skill and comfort in the dirt. The faster and more experienced riders will use their road bikes with 25 or 28mm tires, as this is a road race, not a gravel grinder.
The dirt has a special way of zapping the strength of even the most prepared riders because it’s often really soft and hard to maintain any kind of speed. Some of the dirt stretches are really long. Some of them are really rocky. Others are sandy.
The Belgian Waffle Ride is a blank canvas. World famous, bigger, dirtier and more irreverent each year. The 2016 gauntlet tossed by its creative creator, Michael Marckx (MMX), traverses 145 miles, 11,000 feet of climbing and over 30 miles of dirt. It also draws 1,000 dirty fools ready to go all Jackson Pollock on that blank canvas.
At the finish line, riders loaded up on Belgian-style food and ales, and celebrated their accomplishments with like-minded sufferers. The finish line festival was held at The Lost Abbey Brewery in San Marcos, the perfect place to finish the Belgian-inspired ride and enjoy a glass of fAle. The “Bad Ass Ale”, create specifically for the event, was generously served to all participants that completed the route. The refreshingly crisp ale did just the trick for dry mouths and empty bellies.
As the sun rose on the morning of April 23rd, riders prepared to take on the brutality of the Cervelo Belgian Waffle Ride. At 5:00 am, the scent of Belgian waffles filled the air, as sponsors from Sambarn Productions began serving the best Belgian waffles you could have asked for.
Inspired by the blend of paved roads and cobblestones, the Cervelo Belgian Waffle Ride started five years ago as an homage to the brutality of the Spring Classics across Europe, especially Belgium.
Beyond the beaten path, over the water crossings, and through the grassy fields of lavender lies the key to suffering at the Belgian Waffle Ride. Throughout the 235 km (146 mile) waffle route, riders faced 65 kilometers of dirt, 13 categorized climbs, 3 category 2 climbs, 12,896 feet of climbing, and 14 water crossings.
Five years ago the Cervélo Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) was created in the spirit of the great Monuments of Cycling—those long, undulating one-day events known collectively as the Spring Classics. These exciting and unpredictable races across parts of Europe—especially Belgium—owe their lore, drama and pageantry to the off-road (cobbled) sectors that punctuate their parcourses underneath the drizzle of spring in the Benelux region.
The Belgian Waffle Ride files its teeth for no one, delivering special treatment in the form of sickly strung together sectors of dirt and pavement to all. Herein lies the tales of those who attacked, suffered or merely survived the 2016 BWR. — MMX
The colors were softening, the end was near, and the moves were more subdued as I could no longer see or feel it all unfolding. I knew the sun was setting, and I knew I would get there before it had all gone dark.