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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.
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.
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.
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