We’re just days away from participating in what has unquestionably become one of the toughest one-day events on the West Coast. Started five years ago by hard-riding fanatic Michael Marckx, the Belgian Waffle Ride has grown from a small, local event into a premier event with industry sponsors and filling up with over 1000 entries, many coming from across the country to participate.
Marckx has made sure that this year’s course will be the most challenging yet (see below). Although Neil is a 2x winner, fitness is not on his side this year, so he is using the BWR as a training ride for the 200-mile-long Dirty Kanza gravel race on June 4. In fact, to best ensure that he gets his miles in, Neil plans to ride from the RBA offices in Valencia to the race venue two days prior – just a short 155-mile commute!
Here’s a quick look at the three bikes Team RBA will be lining up with on Sunday morning.
NEIL’S TREK DOMANE SLR
TROY’S GIANT DEFY ADVANCED SL
ZAP’S SAGE BARLOW
Never one keen on rides that stretch into double digit hours, while Neil and Troy are riding the torturous Waffle ride, “el queso grande” plans to follow the same strategy that he employed at last year’s BWR which is to ride the shorter 80-mile “Wafer” course and then be back home to watch the MotoGP race by the time he might just be finishing if he rode the long course.
Zap’s bike of choice is the titanium Sage Barlow, designed in Oregon and handmade at the Lynskey factory in Tennessee. The complete bike sells for $7321 with the frame and fork selling for $3695.
WHAT THE PROMOTER SAYS…
“This year’s route will be novel, and the additional number of entrants will have a bearing on the dynamics of the event—we’ll have four waves with the first starting at 7:00 am, and then the Wafer ride rolls at 8:00 am on SUNDAY, APRIL 24 from THE LOST ABBEY, located at 155 Mata Way, San Marcos, California 92024.
This year riders will enjoy a different ronde through North County San Diego with an out and back course that features a headwind in both directions. This difficult and challenging route has a bit of everything to please and displease virtually everyone. If it wasn’t before, it is now unquestionably the Hell of the North (County). Here’s the long course by the numbers:
– 146 MILES
– 13 CATEGORIZED CLIMBS (INCLUDING THREE CATEGORY 2 CLIMBS)
– 13,000 FEET OF CLIMBING
– 17 DIRT SECTIONS OVER 40 MILES (LONG, SANDY, WET, ROCKY, HILLY, UGLY)
– 14 WATER CROSSINGS (OR FOOT BRIDGE CROSSINGS)
– 3 KOMS
– 3 KODS (KING OF DIRT)
– 3 SPRINT SECTIONS
+ If the tires you are thinking of riding may not be wide enough, get some Hutchinson Sector 28s at the BWR Expo.
+ The winner of this year’s event will take around 8 hours to complete the course. This means for most it’s an 11-, 12- or 15-hour day on the bike.
+ There are many dirt sections where you need to slow down. There will be signs of CAUTION, but just take each one of these sections slowly.
+ There are 9 official Feed Zones, with tons of product from Clif Bar and beverages from GQ-6, as well as water. No one should go hungry or thirsty.
+ The weatherman says it might rain. This could alter the course a little, but don’t worry about it. Do worry about your bike’s ability to have mud accumulate in the fork or rear and still roll. Clearance will be critical.
+ Mavic will be providing neutral support on the road and gravel portions of the route. There will be 8 vehicles, plus additional support vehicles, filming and providing rolling assistance. State Wheels is providing trail support on the Lake Hodges and Mule sectors, both ways. VeloFix will be providing on-trail support at Saint Lucy and Saint Lusardi.
+ Each wave will have CHP officers escorting the riders.
+ All traffic laws must be obeyed unless directed by an officer. Riders should ride as far to the right as safe to do.
+ Be courteous to all your fellow riders. Point things out. Communicate. Be friendly. Share the work. Enjoy meeting new people and show them the best side of you.
+ Charge your devices and use Strava! Without this, it will be difficult to tell who completed the course, which you will need to redeem your finisher’s items. A phone may not suffice, unless you bring a charger.
Photo: Jake Orness