Welkom to the most unique cycling event in the U.S., the Belgian Waffle Ride, affectionately known as the BWR. This is its 10th anniversary and we’ve got a revised, dirtier, more entertaining and slightly shorter (heat edition) route this year of 131.7-miles, more than 50-miles of which are off-road. Since the last formal event in 2019, the BWR has grown nearly 175% with so many new female competitors joining in the fun.
Last year, we didn’t get to have a formal BWR, but there was an informal ride of 140-miles, a bit longer than 2019 version, which had been lauded as the best yet, with 48-miles of dirt/pave sectors over 134-miles. The Wafer course had a record attendance for its 68-mile rocky route, and this year it has a 71-mile course. And we’ve added an opportunity for riders to get a taste of the Waffle with the Wanna, which is 37.5-miles.
The only Euro-style Spring Classic on American soil, the BWR is once again being hosted by the Lost Abbey Brewery, the coolest Belgian-inspired brewery anywhere west of Flanders, but we’ve outgrown the brewery’s facilities and moved the venue to the nearby North City in San Marcos, where the entire city will be turned into a massive beer garden for the BWR Expo! Not to worry, not only will the race offer up the same type of insanity, challenge and unparalleled experience that has made it notorious and noteworthy, North City also offers a special final 1-mile Crit-Cross circuit that all riders will get to enjoy, tackle or otherwise survive to get to the actual finish line. This final Crit-Cross course will give fans and riders an extra bit of fun in celebrating the survival of the BWR courses. This course will also be the circuit that riders will compete on Friday night for the BWR party and LOOK Crit-Cross races.
WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE 2021 BWR
The 2021 edition has drawn way more world-class cyclists from around the globe than ever before… many coming to take on defending champions, Peter Stetina and Sarah Sturm, and many more just to partake of the unique challenge of the day. Riders coming to win will have their work cut out for them, as this year the pro field is far deeper than ever before. The men and women pro fields will each have their own wave followed by USAC category riders then Public riders without a license.
The race has a growing cult following of fervent racers from cyclocross, road and mountain biking that could be related to the BWR’s stature in the now crowded event space of Gravel Racing, which wasn’t a thing when the BWR took riders into the dirt on their road bikes all those years ago. It’s important to note, the BWR was never set up to be a grinder event; it’s a road race punctuated by severe terrain and 50 plus miles of off-road riding, much of which some riders wish would be gravel. No matter, the BWR has become known as much for its difficulty — all the glorious trappings of the Belgian Spring Classics — as it has for the celebratory atmosphere that pervades its every funky facet.
We have added the Lentz is More MTB category for the Waffle this year in honor of our friend and hardman, Kevin Lentz, who tragically passed away from injuries suffered from a vehicle collision while on his Mountain Bike. This is not for the faint of heart or purple card recipients. All proceeds will be given to Kevin’s family.
Now in its seventh year, the Belgian Wafer Ride is currently set to have riders cover roughly 71-miles of the BWR’s tricky trails, hellacious hills and rolling roads. Percent-to-total, the Wafer has far more dirt than the Waffle and takes riders on all the most difficult off-road sectors featured in the Waffle. Granted, Wafer riders do miss out on 60-miles of difficult climbing and the dark and lonely beauty of The Zwartenberg, aka Black Canyon.
And for the first year, we have added the Wanna Ride. A chance for riders new to this type of an event to take on a 37.5-mile portion of both the Waffle and Wafer. While the Wanna is short, it still has challenging dirt and final climb to contend with.
Finishing the BWR redefines a rider’s previous personal limitations. For those unprepared, who show up to play checkers instead of chess, the race can be brutal. For everyone who rides, the experience carves a deep memory of magical moments of humanity between strangers and friends along the way, as overcoming the challenges of the event connects people for (s)mile after (s)mile.
As mentioned earlier, this year’s BWR will have the deepest field of professional riders in the event’s history and an expansive list of hungry amateur riders drawn to the unique opportunity to race alongside their heroes, like World Tour riders, Tiffany Cromwell, Matteo Jorgenson, Katerina Nash, Eddie Anderson, Ted King, Lauren De Crescenzo, Colin Strickland, Laurens Ten Dam or Peter Stetina, who won the 2019 edition.
Prior to the event, there will be a special BWR VIP event at North City on Saturday, July 17th at 6 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. At the VIP event, the course will be revealed in detail, there will special race-related presentations riders won’t want to miss, the pros will be interviewed, and cyclists of all stripes will be able to rub shoulders with all the celebrities on hand for the epic weekend.
On Saturday and Sunday, the BWR Expo will take place at North City, San Marcos, which is a big draw on its own, promising to be the largest cycling party of the year in San Diego. Festivities kick-off Saturday at 9:00 a.m., July 16th, with the Eliel Breakfast Burrito Ride (BBR), raising money for the Pablove Foundation. It’s all open to the public.
The Belgian theme will be in full force with a host of unique entertainment features. A variety of craft beers reflecting the monastic brewing traditions of Belgium will be a featured attraction for this unique occasion.
Attendees can peruse a wide range of offerings from event sponsors and over 70 vendors, test ride a Canyon and people watch in Belgian bliss.
This event is part of the Tripel Crown of Gravel for 2021. For all information on the Tripel Crown please visit: https://tripelcrownofgravel.com/
2021 BWR Calif. Course By The Numbers
We have been able to finally get the county to review our proposed courses for this year’s race, after a year of their ignoring the subject. We will provide the final routes, once permitted, the week of the event. Here are the stats of the yet-to-be permitted routes:
131.7-miles / 212-Kilometers
~11,000 feet of climbing
10 categorized climbs
Steepest grade of 23%
19 off-road sectors / 50-miles worth
3 KOM Sectors
3 KOS Sectors
3 KOD Sectors
9 Feed Zones
71-miles / 114-Kilometers
~6,000 feet of climbing
7 categorized climbs
Steepest grade of 23%
15 off-road sectors / 32-miles worth
6 Feed Zones
37.5-miles / 60-Kilometers
~3.500 feet of climbing
4 categorized climbs
Steepest grade of 23%
7 off-road sectors / 9-miles worth
2 Feed Zones
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
FRIDAY, JULY 16TH
7 a.m. – 11 a.m. – EXPO VENDOR LOAD IN
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. – ELIEL BREAKFAST BURRITO RIDE – PABLOVE FOUNDATION
12 p.m. – 6 p.m. – BWR EXPO & REGISTRATION
5 p.m. – 9 p.m. – LOOK CRIT-CROSS (OPEN TO EVERYONE)
Cat 1/2 Men
6 p.m. – 9 p.m. – LOST ABBEY LIBATION STATION
SATURDAY, JULY 17TH
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. – BWR EXPO & REGISTRATION
10 a.m. – THE VEGAN CYCLIST TEE-SHIRT RIDE
11 a.m. – IRC TIRE THERAPY – MAIN STAGE
12 p.m. – RIDER BRIEFING #1 – MAIN STAGE
1 p.m. – CONSUMPTION STRATEGIES BY HAMMER NUTRITION
2 p.m. – RIDER BRIEFING #2 – MAIN STAGE
3 p.m. – LIVE MUSIC – MAIN STAGE
5 p.m. – 6 p.m. – VIP/MEDIA RECEPTION
6 p.m. – 9 p.m. – VIP/MEDIA/RIDERS PRE-RACE DINNER
SUNDAY, JULY 18TH
4:30 a.m. – WAFFLE CONSUMPTION ENSUES
7 a.m. – WAFFLE PRO, 1/2 MEN START
7:05 a.m. – WAFFLE WOMEN START
7:10 a.m. – WAFFLE MEN CAT 3/4 START
7:15 a.m. – WAFFLE MEN CAT 5/PUBLIC START
7:20 a.m. – WAFER MEN START
7:25 a.m. – WAFER WOMEN START
7:30 a.m. – WANNA START (ALL)
10 a.m. – EXPO OPENS – WAFFLES, MUSIC, BEER, FUN & GAMES
4 p.m. – PRO & CATEGORY AWARDS
4:30 p.m. – WAFER & WAFFLE AGE GROUP AWARDS
6 p.m. – EXPO CLOSES
8:20 p.m. – COURSE OFFICIALLY CLOSES (SUN SETS AT 7:56 p.m.)
* wave starts are determined by USAC road license