The coveted Waffle Winner yellow jersey will be up for grabs this Sunday; and all that stands in the way of pulling it on is 124 miles, 9,000 feet of climbing, and one frightening looking water crossing. Oh, and the other 149 riders.
For a select few, watching the Spring Classics such as Ghent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege isn't enough to curb the desire to emulate the suffering necessary to get through a hellish 7-hour day on the bike-and that's just the training! For some, it's just the motivation needed to kick off a Belgian classics-style event right here in the U.S.-replete with the essentials of a true Belgian bash: moules-frites, ale, and waffles.
On Sunday April 15th, San Diego-based eyewear brand SPY
is inaugurating a unique and extremely challenging Spring Classic cycling event with a 124-mile competitive bike ride with 9,000 feet of climbing through scenic North County San Diego. The inaugural fete—christened the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride—has attracted a who’s who of cycling icons, including Olympians; world, national and state champions; local professional and amateur cyclists; and surf, motocross and bike industry luminaries.
“Belgium has been for nearly a century the epicenter of international professional cycling in the early spring race season, and the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride is an homage to the storied history and folklore of bike racing in that region, a tribute to the incredibly arduous competitions staged there, and a celebration of our cycling heritage as a brand,” says Michael Marckx, SPY president, CEO, and USA Cycling/UCI Category 1 bike racer.
“With the similar terrain to Belgium that North County offers, we’ve done our best to emulate the race experiences of rural Ghent, Wevelgem, Flanders, Liege and Bastogne, with wearisome rolling hills, steep climbs, gravel and dirt roads, and a distance that few racers will ever contend with in the United States. We’ve also baked-in a fun Belgian breakfast and dinner, a whole lot of twists in the way of awards, and there’s a great charity that we’re excited to support through donations this year and moving forward.”
For the inaugural year, the ride has been limited to 150 lucky (unlucky?) riders who will be treated to food and beverages on-course from PowerBar, Bonk Breakers and SmartWater, while contending for Sprint and King of the Mountain/Waffle points, or simply attempting to survive.
At the end of the day, while specially-crafted Belgian ale from The Lost Abbey Brewery is being enjoyed, a number of honors will be awarded for efforts and lack-thereof. Custom-made Squadra jerseys, designed by Joe Yule of StageOne, will go to the overall General Classification winner (Waffle Winner, Yellow Jersey), most aggressive (Belgian Hardman, Blue Jersey), the best overall climber (King of the Waffle, Red/White Waffle Dot Jersey) and the best sprinter (Sprinter Studmo, Green Jersey). There will also be a distinction for the most selfish, uncooperative, inconsiderate, and weakest rider (Wawful Freddy, Purple Jersey) who will be nominated by a panel of on-course marshals.
Registered Belgian Waffle Ride competitors are donating monies toward the event’s cause—the UCSD EyeMobile for Children at the Shiley Eye Center, a mobile resource providing eye exams and care to needy youth throughout San Diego. Sponsors of the event include The Lost Abbey Brewery, PowerBar, Bonk Breaker, SmartWater, B&L Bike & Sports, and Squadra.