Welkom to the most unique cycling event in the U.S.—the Canyon Belgian Waffle Ride—affectionately known as the BWR. This is the inaugural edition of the Cedar City event and the first BWR to be held outside of San Diego, as Covid-19 would have it. We're excited to offer something completely different with the Cedar City location and give riders a chance to race when there hasn’t been such an opportunity for eight months with the pandemic.
The BWR CC has a parcourse that is quite the juxtaposition to the ones we have run in San Diego. The only Euro-style Spring Classic on American soil, the Canyon BWR SD is a road race punctuated by 17 faux pave sectors (read: dirt for 53-miles) over roughly 138-miles and 12,000 feet of climbing. Cedar City’s is a gravel race broken up with roughly 10 road sectors and half the climbing of San Diego. Regardless of the vital stats, the BWR CC race will offer up the same type of insanity, challenge and the unparalleled experience that has made the BWR notorious and noteworthy.
The BWR CC edition has drawn world-class cyclists from around the globe… including numerous defending champions from BWR SD, 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 inaugural event the pro field is deep. Still, riders of all abilities will tackle the same course at the same time after the start gun goes off and an initial neutral section of four-miles is completed. The Wafer Ride will also start with the Waffle Ride and will traverse a course 78-miles in length, the first 54-miles of which are on the Waffle course. The last 11-miles of the Wafer route also follow the Waffle course.
- 6,000 Feet of Climbing
- 10 road sectors (the rest is off-road)
- 75% off-road (Long, Sandy, Wet or Dry, Rocky, Hilly, Ugly)
- Numerous Cattle Crossings, Water Crossing or Foot Bridges
- 3 Queen/King of the Mountain segments
- 3 Queen/King of the Dirt segments
- 3 Queen/King of the Sprint segments
- 6 Feed Zones
- 3,337 feet of Climbing
- 4 Feed Zones
At 125-miles in length, the BWR CC is shorter in length than the San Diego event and only climbs half the amount (but will hit an altitude of over 6,500 feet), 75% of the course is in gravel, sand, rocks or dirt, and the headwinds from approximately mile-42 to mile-97 will have a definite bearing on whether people finish or not. This is not to discount the other challenges of the course, of which there are many, including the need for tires at least 40mm in width. Please don’t say we didn’t warn you. THIS IS YOUR WARNING: When it doubt, add more rubber, more gears, more training, more grit, more beer.
Leaving the start/finish line after being corralled along the road in clusters of 50 or less people, riders will all be wearing masks for the initial part of the day… all the way up until the green flag is waved at mile-four and the race commences. Riders must also wear masks at every one of the Feed Zones, where they will need to interact with others and fill their water bottles and/or retrieve pre-packaged food to help them survive. For the Waffle, there are six Feed Zone and four for the Wafer.
Hitting the first gravel road—Groene Vlaggen—soon after the waving of the green flag will be eye-opening for all but those who live in the area. The gravel will immediately slow people down, except for the leaders who will soon be down the groad. This section, after an initial slight downhill, will undulate with three distinct pitches before hitting the tiny town of Summit.
By now, at mile-13, the field will have been obliterated into tiny little ‘groeperings’ as a left turn will take riders through a turn a tunnel and onto a long gravel straightaway that might be deceiving enough for some riders to try to catch the riders ahead.
The next six- or seven-miles, the Kakaboulette sector, will feel like a false flat but it’s a net-downhill sector that loses around 300 feet until hitting the corner of Little Salt lake. This is where the race will take a decided turn for many with the first BWR-like segment confronting riders. It is here the first King/Queen of the Dirt and Mountain competitions will commence with Ronde van Rode Heuvelsand the Red Hills Climb, Rode Heuvels.
The first climb is less than three-miles in length and only climbs a total of 436 feet, but the trail is rocky, filled with tricky spots and is a noticeably different colored dirt. In fact this area is called Red Hills for the color of the Terran. The dirt sector continues along here for another seven-miles of incredibly fun but challenging terrain before arriving at the Parowan Gap where the first Feed Zone will be at mile-29.
After this first place to replenish water and food supplies, there will be a brief respite on asphalt for about one-mile before the gravel rollers of Horse Hollow on the sector know as Rollers for Rouleurs, which is 10-miles of true gravel covering 10 rollers that collectively are sure to take the snap out of most every leg. Toward the end here is the first king/queen of the sprint sector, Paard Party, an 8/10ths of a mile uphill slog. Hit it hard, because there is good news at the end… the next major sector takes a turn to the south and into the glorious headwind that will only get worse by the minute.
If Rollers for Rouleurs was a gravel grinders heaven, De Ruige Kale Heuvels Full is much more of a single/double track trail for eight-miles, with it’s own set of unique challenges—elevated cattle crossings, sand, rocks, chupacabras, more sand and of course that ever-increasing headwind. The end of this sector completes itself at Feed Zone#2, and is most glorious with a decidedly deranged climb out called Als stroop een zandheuvel opduwen, which translated from Dutch crudely means, “pushing up a sand hill like molasses.” Again, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Ahhh, riders won’t have seen asphalt for 20-miles at this point, but soon they will be on the road for three-miles pushing downhill. We say “pushing,” because while it is downhill the headwind here will be enough to force riders to apply pressure to keep moving forward to the next gravel sector that awaits at the the bottom. That headwind riddled ‘two bump chump’ stretch and the second King/Queen of the Dirt sector, Woestijn Werpheuverel.
Once through the two bumps, a welcomed left turn offers a tailwind up the second King/Queen of the Mountain, the Muur Desert Mound, a two-mile steady climb up a steady grade with a glorious tailwind. Enjoy that gentle push from God’s hand, as recess will soon be over.
At the bottom of the descent after the Muur, riders will make a right into the dirt and enjoy their third Feed Zone at mile-67 before enjoying the headwind and truck trail sector, Onduiken Eightmile. This sector will remind riders that this thing isn’t even close to over and the headwind has gotten worse. The end of the art here means there is a nice road sector to enjoy a direct headwind into an uphill slog that features the second King/Queen of the Sprints, Hard Rennen, a roughly one-km slightly uphill all-out sprint.
Once this road sector is complete a left turn onto gravel returns riders to reality, and yet the headwind persists. Be on the lookout for bumble bees here along this stretch aptly named the Hommel Pummel,which will hopefully afford solo riders a chance to sit up and wait… wait for anyone to come along and share the wind with; all the way to the fourth Feed Zone at mile-86. Take a good look here, as to the left will be the beginning of the end, the hardest, most sadistic feature of the course…
But alas, riders still have another 21-miles of misery and match-burning, mostly into a headwind before making the turn onto the final, hellacious climb. The next 10 plus miles will be spent head-down on gravel, a truck trail and through hill and dale. Finally, at the end of the No Harmony, but lots of Harmsector the road will start to turn back toward home along another road sector. A left at mile-100 leaves riders with just 25-miles to go, but these last miles are by far the most dynamic, challenging, technical and brutal of the course, where many will have to get off their bikes and push and even more will come to know why we have warned everyone to go with wider tires.
Once heading home on Old Hwy 91, there will be a tailwind but it won’t matter much because its a steady seven-mile faux climb through Kanarraville and up to the Muur van Kanarraberg, the final King/Queen of the Mountain sector. Not to fret, before the end of this stretch, there is also the final King/Queen of the Sprints sector here, Tarwegras Fulgas, a seven-tenths of a mile dash with a bit of an incline to it.
Once riders have caught their breath it will be swiftly and deftly taken away as the right onto the Muur reveals a most unpleasant sight, if riders were to stretch their heads back and look up as high as they can into the mountain directly in front of them. It is here, at the fifth Feed Zone, that riders should just stop, replenish their water and food stores and perhaps say a prayer or two before re-mounting their bikes and click, click, clicking for their easiest gear.
The San Diego BWR has always finished up the Muur van Dubbelberg, which is preceded by a length climb before hitting it’s 23% grade to the highest point above San Marcos. This has always been the defining moment of the race, as making it to the top almost always means a rider will make it to the finish line well below the mountain, but they still have to negotiate the Twistenweg,which often finds riders too tired to deal with its sandy, slippery turns. With this in mind, to somehow replicate this dynamic in Cedar City, we have placed this most diabolical dirty diversion. Over the next three-miles riders will be confronted with myriad challenges, some of which will undoubtedly be physical, but the more difficult ones will be mental. After so many miles of headwinds and energy sapping gravel, most riders will not have heeded the warnings or read this course communique with the deference it deserves. These will be the riders others will need to cheer on and encourage when passing them along this death march up the Muur.
Stay seated and try to find a good line through the washboards along the initial gravel climb, is our admonition to everyone. There will be 13- or 14% inclines but the average is more like 10%. The closer you get to the top the more challenging the dirt becomes…
But remember, eventually you will reach the top and get to fly down the fun, twists and turns of the Down Kanarra sector that ends out on the gravel sector leading to the climb up Shirtz Canyon to the most technical sector of the event, The Tolweg (Turnpuke).At the top of this gravel climb there will be the final Feed Zone (#6 for the Waffle and #4 for the Wafer), which is the Eliel Oasis, were riders will have one final place to gather their wits and summons their inner dirt devil, as the next four-miles will be among the most focus-requiring of all.
With every Belgian Waffle Ride course over the past decade, each route has had dirty, dastardly and diabolical sectors that help give the event its 'most unique cycling event in the country’ moniker.
The BWR CC course to this point in the race has proffered incredible groads, trails and otherwise dirty diversions, most of which are glorious rolling hills spiced up with sandy and rocky sectors just to keep riders on their game. And, of course, we’ve already mentioned the headwinds everywhere. While each of these off-road sectors look somewhat similar to the others, Turnpuke is one that has a complexion all its own. This third installation of the King/Queen of the Dirt competition is 4.4-miles in length and twists and turns—sweeping and swooping—leaving riders weeping or whooping, depending on their single track skills and whatever energy they may have left, because they won’t encounter this most feared of all sectors until mile-115.
This definitive sector is a single track that contours Iron Hills, just above the valley floor, with its most prominent features being rocks, three dozen turns, boulders, junipers, sage brush, pines and more rocks. Once a rider enters The Tolweg there is only one way out… no off-ramps, no 7-11s, no connecting trails to cut through. It’s just the rider, their bike, their IRC tires, their technical skills, their remaining watts and the will to finish this race. Once through the Tolweg, it's a virtual certainty riders will survive the first edition of the BWR CC. Congrats to them on making it this far, even if they had to get off and walk some more.
While it is true once through all the turnpuking, finishing will be a virtual certainty, the remaining course does offer up a unique element or two. Just a mile on the road after The Tolweg, the route jumps onto a bike path briefly before diving back into the dirt where a forced dismount will discombobulate most riders. After this, the trail offer a twisting, undulating and diving single track before returning to the virtual safety and serenity of the final bike path portion of the route, which will eventually dump riders off just a mile from the finish line for the final uphill sprint to glory and beer.
It is here at the finish line, listening to all the wonderful tales that will manifest by way of the BWR, it will become obvious that there is an internal peace to be found within the arc of the event, from registration to the finish line libations and sensations in between. The actuation of our inner spirit animal is what can make this thing so damn rad… there's a majesty to reaching, aspiring and growing that is hard to achieve without a prism through which (like the BWR) it can be brought to life. We'd like the BWR CC to always be more than a day's journey through the Hell of the South and, instead, resemble the apprenticeship of self-awareness, where the awareness gives way to more awareness, and more BWR BADASSEDNESS.
Here are the courses:
Here are the category competition sectors: