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Dear Waffleurs:

Hopefully everyone has recovered from the weekend's effort and are settling back into trying mode for the next BWR, which is June 11 in N. Carolina.

Today we are sharing with you some race recaps from a few outstanding personalities who left their mark or skin on the course(s).

New Gallery - Simon Nichols

https://lightroom.adobe.com/shares/2ee096024a9a4f58ad4ff8ff2af6fa38

If you notice an issue with the results, please email: contact@omnigoevents.com

The results for age groups, categories, and classes are up to date now. Click the link below!


Tomorrow, we will share more info including the Wafer recaps, Hyland's Happy Helpeur Award, Attaqeur Awards and an OpiCure Recap with Griffin & Cullen Easter and Lucie Kayser-Bril. Plus, a celebration of all our volunteers and special people who make it all happen.
CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE RESULTS!
THIS IS WHAT THE BEGINNING LOOKED LIKE
The most common images we capture on race day always involve the women towing the men... always. Here is Caroline Dezendorf on her way to a Queen of the Sprint victory and second overall to Flavia Oliveira in the Dubbel Header. What a weekend she had... towing men.
CATEGORY RESULTS ARE HERE!
THIS YEAR CATEGORY WINNAAR'S RECEIVE ENGRAVED BWR WATCHES FROM NIXON, CUSTOM JERSEYS FROM ELIEL AND BWR CHALICES FOR BELGIAN BEER CONSUMPTION
ALEXEY VERMEULEN'S WINNING RACE RECAP

BWR CA: An unforgiving race that gave back

The best way I can describe the feeling of San Marcos on Saturday morning is by giving some insight into the start. After everyone had settled down and Dave Towle finished the call ups we paused for the national anthem. It started, but quickly stopped because of a speaker error…without skipping a beat the entire start line started singing until the end and kicked off the race without a bang, but with a feeling of companionship and the start of an epic adventure together. 

The last two editions, I left a bit dismayed. I always thought this race was great for me, coming from a road background and having worked on my mountain bike skills over the past 2 years, since it takes both of those together to make this race go well. In 2019, I flatted 11-miles in, in 2021, I flatted with 20-miles to go. So, I wanted to take this race into my own hands as early as I could, and force people to be better than me if they were, and if something went wrong, I wanted to have enough time to fix it and keep moving. 

I knew if I just focused on what I can do; and over 220-kilometers, that means eating and drinking appropriately, it means being relaxed and not stressed and knowing when to close gaps and when to let things go. It’s a game of saving energy and calories, and I think I was best at that on Saturday.

The course was 136-miles long with 11,500 feet of climbing and plenty of sharp rocks to make your day less fun. After making it into the first dirt section in the top 10, I focused on eating and drinking more than I needed knowing I would be asking my body for more than I should very soon after. About two hours or so in, we hit Black Canyon, which is the big climb at the far end of the course. I went to the front in a group of 20 or so and rode a hard tempo, by the top the group had been whittled down quite a bit going into the big descent that everyone calls the truck trail. This road would have been much more fun on a hardtail or full suspension mountain bike – but road bikes would do! For the next 20 minutes or so we maneuvered our way down the” jeep” forest road while puckering and holding our breath when we hit rough sections. At the bottom, Alex Howes, Griffin Easter and I found ourselves with a bunch of cross and mountain bike racers in a group of 7 with about 3.5 hours to race home. 

The group containing, me, Alex, Griffin, Matt Beers, Sandy Floren, Eric Brunner and Lance Haidet had some motivation seeing the gap and started rotating as the miles ticked down. With 50ish miles to go we hit the Sandy Bandy dirt section on the way back. It is a bit deceiving because it is slightly uphill and one of the easier sections, but it is quite long and ends with a bang as you are forced to dismount, limbo under a metal gate and then ride up a 20% climb for 3ish minutes. This is where I had attacked in 2021, Pete came with me then… now I wanted to try again and see who was still feeling spry with under 2 hours to race. 

I slid under the gate with Eric close behind and immediately got on the pedals after clipping in. I punched it hard and then settled into a pace I thought I could hold to the top. I looked back after about 10 seconds and saw a big gap and everyone sitting down, I looked back once more 10 seconds after that to see Alex clawing his way back to my wheel. We reached the top and ripped back down towards dirt as we wound our way towards the Lake Hodges section, which ended my chances of winning in 2021. Alex was hurting a little bit, but was kind enough to pull through and emotionally support me on our journey back into San Marcos.

With about 15 miles to go Alex came off the wheel going back up Del Dios HWY. I was sad, but also knew exactly what I had to do now. I had a stiff headwind for the next 7 miles and I focused on holding speed where I could and relaxing, eating, drinking when I got small descents. 

As I entered Elfin Forest (the 2nd to last dirt section with 10-miles to go), I focused on each little rock that could mess up a perfect day. Once through I had 4ish miles of climbing all the way up to the top of Double Peak! It was nice to be around people again and hear the cheers as I neared the top and made it through the 23% grades without tipping over! 

As you come over the top, it is an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. It is a speedy fast asphalt descent for ½ a mile before hitting the last dirt section and descending into the finish. I kept telling myself be safe, be light, be careful, but about halfway down the dirt I collided with a runner. I had a bit of a yard sale, picked up my Wahoo, Glasses and checked to make sure everyone was okay before jumping back on the bike. I had held off cramps until this point, but this was the breaking point. I pushed through to get to the road and then just stood up for the entire decent into the start finish. I switched my computer to distance remaining and just watched the numbers satisfyingly tick down as I started to hear Dave’s voice again over the speakers. I came across the line alone, elated, ending with a hard dusty high five from Michael Marckx, the creator of this event. 

After sitting down and chatting about how the race went, I took in the next hour of friends crossing the line, each with their own battle story. The adventure we had all started together 7 hours earlier would leave lasting memories for years to come. I cannot wait to come back.

ALEXEY'S DECISIVE MOVE THE SECOND TIME UP THE BANDYWEG!
13 YEAR OLD BENJAMIN COUSINS WINS HARDMAN AWARD!
YOUNGEST FINISHER OF THE DUBBEL HEADER TAKES HOME THE COVETED HARDMAN AWARD

As you may know, the BWR set out to be the first race of its kind to honor, support and cultivate the youth to come out and take on the ever-challenging Wafer Ride. We offered a prize purse for the 18 and Under riders of the Wafer. This is something we will continue to build on.

What we hadn't anticipated was the junior riders taking on the Waffle and especially never even gave it a thought that a junior would do the Dubbel Header. It just wasn't conceivable to us, but it sure was to young Benjamin Cousins. We'd never had such a young teenager take on the Waffle, so were caught flat footed with Benjamin's surprise showing on the weekend... something that will help to redefine the HARDMAN Award. We plan to shine a spotlight on this new category, the Dubbel Header, and we have Benjamin's exploits to inspire hundreds more to come out and give it a try in the future. After all, he rode 212-miles this weekend with a Belgian grimace the entire time.

Here is Benjamin's story:

I hadn’t planned on doing the Dubbel at BWR. At least, my parents weren’t convinced! But I really wanted to ride the Waffle with my friends Jack Watson, 14, and his brother Eli, 12, and also ride the Wafer with my friend Carson Bagley, who’s 12. The dilemma was too much and, in the end, my parents caved in and let me do both. 

I’m from the UK but have been living in Newport Beach for 5 years now.

I first started cycling aged 3, when my dad insisted that training wheels were a no-no. As the years went by, it was all about mountain biking and, since moving here, I’ve enjoyed many a weekend bombing down the trails at Snow Summit, Big Bear. 

I picked up road biking about 2 years ago, when my dad bought me my first clips and we joined the junior cycling group VeloSport, based in Irvine. I just love my Saturday morning rides with these guys, and have made some really great friends. 

When I can, I also ride with Red Monkey and Como, and I race with Team F3 on Zwift. I basically ride as many miles as my parents (and homework) will allow – it’s probably around 200-250 miles a week in some form or other. Anything on two wheels, but I especially love the freedom and pacing that come with riding with a group for many miles. I like the longer rides, like Tour de Big Bear, Tour de Palm Springs, and Tour de Foothills. I also like hills! During lockdown, I spent a lot of time on Zwift and worked all summer to get the Tron bike.

As for gravel riding, my first event was last year’s Hardman, which I loved. But BWR is in another league completely. 

My dad tried to follow me around the course, checking in at different feed stations, and he says I was grinning from ear to ear the whole day. It was great seeing all the volunteers along the way, and I want to say a big thank you to the rider who helped me flag down Unchained Garage. Thanks also to the mechanic who fixed my back brake at mile-95.

As for day two, I was a little beaten between miles 20 and 44 but, once through that stage, I got into my stride again.

Weirdly, my legs didn’t ache too badly on either day – it was more my lower back.

As for the future, I’m excited to do more events like BWR. Maybe in different states. And, when we move back to Europe, I’ll be looking at L’Etape du Tour de France – and anything else I can persuade my parents to let me do!

Big shout out to my buddies, Jack, Eli, and Carson, who did great at BWR, and all the other juniors!

IZ KING TAKES HOME THE HARDWOMAN AWARD
Thank you again for a great event. A day I will remember forever, no doubt!  If one thing is for sure, I think now I earned the right to say “I survived BWR."

One of my favorite parts about racing is lining up on the start line knowing you have no idea what is going to happen that day. In retrospect, the day would’ve been easy if all I had to deal with was 138-miles of mixed terrain and 11,000 ft of climbing, but when things don’t go as planned, it gives you an opportunity to chose what your story is going to be that day. Saturday was the closest I’ve ever been to giving up in a race, but I’m incredibly thankful I was able to grit through and finish. 

I joked in my pre-race interview that I was ready for battle, but I don’t know if what happened was what I meant. The day dealt a few more challenges than I anticipated. I was feeling really good, sitting in 3rd, 40 seconds off the leaders at mile 60, when an unexpected right turn caught the guy behind me by surprise. He crashed into me at a pretty high speed and launched me over the bars onto the pavement. I’ve never seen blood pour out of my body like that, but I was determined to continue. (He was less fortunate and had a compound fracture on his collarbone).

I put some Kleenex on my elbow and tied it on with a mask so I could get to the next aid station a few miles down the road. The volunteer who wrapped me in gauze was great. I’m very thankful he was more calm and composed than I was when I rolled in yelling “I need medical! Does anyone have duct tape??” I rolled out and continued to ride for 5 more hours with blood dripping on to my leg every time I hit a bump. The main thing I kept thinking was the Black Knight in Monty Python saying “Tis but a flesh wound!” Unfortunately, the very beginning of the jeep track descent, I crashed on the same side (ouch) and lost my front shifting. That meant big ring only for the entire second half of the race. The jeep track kickers, the Pamoberg and Double Peak are hard enough with all of your gears. Ooof. I stopped at every aid station mechanic asking if they could fix it or force the chain into the little ring, but no luck. In retrospect I should’ve just acknowledged I was a big ring, low cadence gal for the rest of the day because despite all the chaos and stopping, I could see the 3rd, 4th and 5th place girls right ahead of me on Double Peak. Going into the final dirt descent, my dreams of catching them were halted by a sharp rock and a flat at mile 135 (3 miles to go?!). 

This is the hardest I’ve ever fought for a 6th place finish. I couldn’t be more proud. I lost my dad to brain cancer 6 months ago. Nothing compares to the pain you feel going through something like that. It makes you thankful for days like these, where you can fight like hell for something that’s hilariously meaningless to most of the world. I’m so thankful my mom was there to see it (and that she could drive me to the ER.) As we were sitting with the doctor shooting staples into my elbow, we agreed, my dad would’ve loved this story. 

NATS MACLEAN IS YOUR kUDOs AWARD WINNER AND THEN SOME
THIS YEAR THE kUDOs AWARD HAS BECOME A COMBO OF HARDNESS AND HYLAND'S HAPPY HELPER. THIS AWARD IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE WE HONOR AND IT CAN ONLY GO TO SOMEONE WHO BRINGS A SPECIAL SPIRIT AND POSITIVITY TO THE BWR THAT TRANSCENDS PERFORMANCE TO A HIGHER LEVEL OF SELF EXPRESSION
 
Natalie Maclean, Nats, staN, Hardwoman, Badass, Happy Helper, Doctor, Mom, Inspiration, Competitor

This person, new to the sport, will forever leave her mark on the community and event that is the BWR. It'll be hard for someone to out-waffle, out Dubbel Head or out inspire people to greatness. In fact, we've never had so many different anecdotes and submissions from people who don't know each other nominating natS for Hardwoman, kUDOs and Hyland's Happy Helper. We had to choose one of these and because the kUDOs Award in honor of our fallen friend, Udo Heinz (who had an infectious laugh and love of the dirt), is the highest honor we can bestow on a rider. Nate / staN is the Winnaar of the kUDOs award. And, this honor isn't just for her exploits on Saturday and Sunday, for fixing her own mechanicals, getting up after a gnarly crash, helping others on the course and never quitting in the face of adversity. No, it's for the months of work, support, love and camaraderie she gave to everyone along the way. This is her recap of the weekend...

THE HELL OF THE WEST

I may be on StanTime to the BWR post party, but I hope at least I provide some life for it. I have been riding gravel almost exactly 1 1/2 years, having never cycled before, and in that time I’ve completed two BWRs and now my third, capped off with the Dubbel. These things are always difficult for me to recap, because there is so much experience and learning and life in each one of them. This year I meticulously studied the course, starting with the Source Endurance BWR Survival Camp in January and taking on some of the best people in Zack Allison, constantly trying to 'uncoach' me, and Kristen Arnold who dialed my nutrition, and Brian Crilly at Ambition Athletics who kept me strong. I also rode with the best friends and support anyone could ever have, the Dirty Mouseketeers, all within the larger families of Coureur and Gravelstoke Teams. That’s not to say it was easy to get to the start line. I'm a mother of four, have a full medical practice, and am nursing two fractures. Foot surgery has been delayed; this early in my season and with this A race upcoming, after all this work, nothing was going to keep me from the start line.

I start the race strong and by Roofvogel Bergkam ended up in a chase group, cajoling my friends and asking people to “kindly” ride their bikes or move away. On the other side of the Roofvogel though, I slid in a sharp sandy corner, gashed my knee badly, bruising and scraping my braking arm muscle and destroying my drivetrain. I knew every inch of that course and was angry and frustrated at my costly mistake. At the bottom of the descent, my gears were slipping, then jammed and my chain almost snapped under tension. I had no functioning bike. I was barely functional myself. I was effectively out of the race. I hauled my bike off trail, swapped out the derailleur hanger and fixed it. I have never done this before. Under pressure, I pulled it out. There wasn’t any other option. Quitting isn’t an option. Let’s f#$king go. It’s called racing. 

Now racing from behind, I settled into what I do best... rallying and working to advance myself and other riders. Know where the kickers are. Know where the sand traps are. Know when to push or conserve. Heisenberg was where I turned on the afterburners and never looked back, reaching my stride in the dirt. Leading the charge into the ball fields and cleaning the sector. Sweeping people up the truck trail and screaming down. “Let it go. LET IT GO!” Picked up my finishing boys on Pamo climb and this aero compact brick sent the HVR descent, flying past groups of men, telling them to "pick it up, let’s go!"

By Questhaven though, I was in trouble. I was heat exhausted. Crusted in salt, shivering but not sweating, I knew the signs. My reserve 'lytes' I gave to a puking man in need of aid on the HVR climb and now I was struggling. Double Peak was left and there was nothing to leave on the table. So what do you do? Break it down. Go back to fundamentals. Downs for the ups. Push over the tops. On the last Questhaven kicker, I put everything I had into a one minute effort, dropped several, and emptied the tank all the way to the top of Double Peak, singularly focused on finishing hard and clean. 28th overall. 

There are so many stories, victories and losses, but always lessons from these races. Late into the night, I waited for the remainder of my friends to finish, the ones who believed in me just as much as I believed in them, with the cumulative victories greater and much sweeter. The best part of the day was hearing “Is that you, Stan?” shouted across canyons, “Go get ‘em, Stan” whispered in pacelines or “Well, there she goes!”, with a “Yeeeew” or a “Come with me” or a “You got this” given in return. In this community, you get what you give. 

This midpack 'Fruity MD Mama', in retrospect, is pleased with that effort, from an effective DNF to clawing back to a top thirty finish behind pros, putting in best 20 (4w/kg! what?), 10-, 5- and -min efforts, and picking up Strava cups, and many friends, along the way. 

… then I did it all again on the Wafer on Sunday. 

HERE ARE SOME FUN VIDEOS TO ENTERTAIN YOU
KERRY WERNER'S RECAP OF THE LONGEST AND HARDEST RACE HE HAS EVER DONE.
TIFF CROMWELL DISCUSSES BWR CA BEING HARDER THAN PARIS-ROUBAIX!
CHECK OUT CRAIG MILLER'S DOCUMENTATION OF HIS WAFFLE EXPERIENCE!
NICK COHENMEYER'S AWESOME MONTAGE!
WALT DOES BIKE'S DOUBLE PEAK COVERAGE. NOTICE HOW THE PARK IS COMPLETELY EMPTY OF CARS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. WE WERE ABLE TO BLOCK TRAFFIC!

GRAVEL GUY GOUGH GOES TO BWR CA 2022: BIKE CHECKS & INTERVIEWS

MIKE BATE'S 2022 CALIFORNIA BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE: WAFER EDITION

ROB BRITTON’S SECRET WEAPON TO WIN THE WAFER

MATT BEER'S VECHICLE FOR HIS EXCEPTIONAL SECOND PLACE FINISH
VALTERRI BOTTAS' 2ND PLACE IN BWR CA WANNA RIDE. CLICK THE IMAGE FOR HIS TWITTER POST.
KEVIN KIM: THE 2022 LANTERN ROUGE
Here are some stories:

Mo Wilson's Victory:
https://www.cyclingnews.com/races/belgian-waffle-ride-california-2022/elite-women/results/


Alexey Vermeulen's Victory:
https://www.cyclingnews.com/races/belgian-waffle-ride-california-2022/elite-men/results/


Alexey Vermeulen's top-secret bike:
 
https://www.velonews.com/gallery/gallery-alexey-vermeulen-won-bwr-ca-on-this-unreleased-enve-bike-with-unreleased-kenda-tires/

Alexey's power numbers for BWR: 
https://www.velonews.com/training/power-analysis-alexy-vermeulen-at-the-belgian-waffle-ride-san-diego/

Men's Race Action: 
https://www.velonews.com/gallery/gallery-belgian-waffle-ride-mens-race-action/

Women’s Waffle Gallery: 
https://www.velonews.com/gallery/gallery-belgian-waffle-ride-womens-race-action/

Women’s Waffle Story:
https://www.velonews.com/news/gravel/mo-wilson-blasts-the-field-to-win-belgian-waffle-ride-by-25-minutes-over-second-place/

Men’s Waffle: 
https://www.velonews.com/news/gravel/alexey-vermeulen-wins-belgian-waffle-ride-after-dropping-alex-howes/

Dubbel Header and Wafer: 
https://www.velonews.com/news/gravel/belgian-waffle-ride-dubbel-easton-overlands-rob-britton-caroline-dezendorf-win-day-two/

We've gotten great feedback from you on awesome people already. If you were inspired by anyone’s heroic efforts, helpful attitude or over the top humanitarianism, please send us stories about these inspirational people so we can share with the world and honor our Hardpeople, kUDOs, and Hyland’s Happy Helper award Winnaars!

Congrats to all our Winnaars and thank you to all our Expo vendors and Event sponsors. Special thanks to North City for letting us take over their place!

More to come! We will share a bunch of stuff tomorrow. Including our volunteer appreciation.

ABOUT US:

Monuments of Cycling is committed to delivering the most unique cycling events in the country, offering experiences for the most elite athletes on the planet, as well as those in awe of them, through the creation of world-class races that engage riders in myriad and unexpected ways. Our mission is to inspire riders of all stripes to reach, grow and aspire to new levels of fulfillment and joy, finding unusual avenues to test their physical and mental fortitude. To learn more, visit www.MonumentsofCycling.com.

Copyright © BelgianWaffleRide 2022

Our mailing address is:
Monuments of Cycling
1403 Eolus Ave
Encinitas, CA 92024 USA

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