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Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia 2024

September 21 - September 22

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gravel cyclist at belgian waffle race british columbia
Last Updated February 21, 2024

BWR BC:  The Hell of the Great White North

With Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia, Monuments of Cycling (MoC), a premier cycling events producer best known for its iconic Belgian Waffle Ride California, brings its popular format to Vancouver Island for the second year following a stellar inaugural event.  Created as extremely challenging races in the spirit of the great European one-day Spring Classics, BWR events have a growing cult following and are known as some of the most unique cycling events in the country. Incredibly dynamic, multi-surface ‘unroad’ parcourses replete with single track, sand, rocks, gravel, water crossings, cyclocross features, and even some asphalt. The team at Strambecco considers Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia, a.k.a. “The Hell of the Great White North,” one of the Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Northwest.

The second annual Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia BWR BC will occur in the Cowichan Valley, around Duncan, BC, 40 miles north of Victoria.  The race venue is Cowichan Exhibition Park due to its proximity to epic singletrack on Mt. Tzouhalem (the Zoo), Maple Mountain, and Mt. Prevost. Monuments of Cycling has partnered with popular Canadian event producer Platinum Racing, who produce some of the best cycling, tri, and run events in Western Canada.   The first BWR BC drew many world-class athletes, current and former pros, including Rob Britton, so you can expect a deep list of hungry amateur riders drawn to the unparalleled opportunity to race alongside some of the best in the sport.

Belgian Waffle Ride Series

The Belgian Waffle Ride Series is a North American series offering some of the world’s most highly respected and well-organized gravel events/races.  The idea of the Series was conceived initially with the advent of Belgian Waffle Ride California (San Diego), well-known among cycling enthusiasts and pros alike as one of the most unique and difficult bicycle races in the US at 140-ish miles, 40 of which are off-road sectors, and 10,000+ feet in elevation gain.

BWR events are unique because they are classic, long bicycle races that feature various off-road sectors emulating the pave or cobblestones of Europe, making the varied terrain a challenge for riders’ technical skills, equipment, endurance, luck, and versatility. While none of the events intentionally feature mountains, they utilize a never-ending collection of punchy climbs that offer extreme physical challenges.  These are not for the faint of heart.   They are designed to challenge riders of all stripes and sizes, which is part of the allure of BWR events:  Extreme challenges that require extensive preparation, training, the right equipment, tenacity, and karma.

Each BWR venue showcases a challenging ‘unroad’ multi-surface course that takes advantage of each beautiful location’s unique topography.  Each route is uniquely designed to include a multitude of technically challenging sectors. Waffle courses range from 120-144 miles, Wafer courses between roughly 68-84 miles, and Wanna Rides, typically around 40 miles. Elevation gain will range from 6,500 feet to 14,000 feet for the various Waffle courses.  The current roster of BWR events in 2024 includes BWR AZ (March 1-2), BWR UT (April 5-6), BWR CA (27-28), BWR NC (June 21-22)BWR BC (Sept 21-22), BWR Mexico (Queretaro – Nov 23-24)Monuments are also close to finalizing details of several new events for 2024, including another special event in Mexico.

The Tripel Crown of Gravel Series

The Tripel Crown of Gravel Series is a special competition within the full Belgian Waffle Ride Series lineup that involves participation in BWR Arizona, BWR Utah, and BWR California over 7 weeks.   It has been recreated to give riders, both professional and amateur alike, a chance to compete in three very different environments over a short period of time, offering the perfect blend of recovery and fitness gains for the early-season competition. The 2024 Tripel Crown will be contested for both Waffle and Wafer distances at BWR AZ (March 1-2), BWR UT (April 5-6), and BWR CA (April 27-28).  The competition will be a points-based omnium format for professionals and age-group riders. Riders competing for the Tripel Crown honors and prize purse (for pros only) will be scored based on the points achieved over the three races. The BWR CA will carry extra weighted points to complete the series.  There will be prize purses and prizes for the Male, Female, and Gender Diverse categories.

BWR BC Event & Course Info

Like all BWR events, the course is designed to showcase a challenging ‘unroad’ multi-surface route that takes advantage of each beautiful location’s unique topography. Belgian Waffle Ride British Columbia offers 3 route options: the Waffle course is 136 miles with 8500 feet of climbing, the Wafer course is 67 miles with 5,000 feet of elevation gain, and finally, the Wanna course at 32 miles with 1,800 feet of climbing. Depending on the course, there will be a range of 22-50% of “Unroad” miles/sections, tight corners, roots, water crossings and obstacles, and 1-7 feed zones fueled by The Feed.

Cowichan Valley is Canada’s “Warm Land” and outdoor recreation playground. The venue was chosen because it is surrounded by the world-class single track of Mt. Tzouhalem (the Zoo), Maple Mountain, and Mt. Prevost. The weekend-long festival will include a refreshing mixture of social rides and an Expo featuring local crafts and global bike brands, a large beer garden, multiple food options, live music, and a venue offering much family fun.  Accommodation options will include an onsite RV / Van Life parking, Tent Camping / Bike Packing, Airbnb, and excellent hotel selections in Duncan and nearby Nanaimo and Victoria, including  Oceanfront at Cowichan Bay, Villa Eyrie, Four Points by Sheraton. At the same time, those looking to camp onsite at the venue can register for a bike-packing, tent, or van/RV space. Many vacation rentals and other unique accommodations like this farm are available in the area, including fun glamping options. The Cowichan is gorgeous and has so much to offer, from endless outdoor recreation, delicious food & drink, and interesting arts & culture, so be sure to plan some extra time after the event to explore!

Monuments of Cycling is investing in new ways to ensure rider support in nutrition and hydration is augmented for each event.  In addition to diverse, well-marked routes, participants will find abundant traffic control personnel on the course, police, and official vehicle escorts; additionally, each location will be hosted by a legion of like-minded volunteers who come together to showcase the hospitality of their communities.  Throughout the ride, cyclists can find solace in the well-stocked aid stations every 20 miles.

BWR events are also known for great SWAG.  All participants receive the following:

  • BWR swag bag that contains many important items
  • Race Number and RFID Tag (for official finishing time)
  • BWR Bad Ass Ale (trophy)
  • BWR Branded Item
  • Waffles
  • Beer
  • Fully marked course with traffic control
  • Stocked aid stations
  • Bragging rights

Be sure to check out the official 2023 Race Bijbel for all of the nitty-gritty details of this epic event.

Event Preparation & Training

To prepare for the challenges of a BWR experience, Monuments of Cycling has partnered with FasCat Coaching to create a customized Belgian Waffle Ride training plan.  It is a comprehensive six-week training plan starting on February 5. Tailored to various skill levels and time commitments, the Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced plans cater to participants taking on the 35-mile Wanna, 70-mile Wafer, or 130ish-mile Waffle courses. The centerpiece of each week is a progressively extended gravel simulation ride, mirroring the race’s demands. The plan includes nutrition and hydration tips practiced during these rides, ensuring holistic preparation. Starting with a field test to set training zones using the Optimize app, the program incorporates Sweet Spot and Tempo intervals, group rides, recovery techniques, rest days, yoga, and foundational exercises. As the event approaches, spicy intervals and a proper taper are integrated for peak performance on race day. For a personalized coaching experience and a waived start-up fee, consider hiring a FasCat Coach for a customized training solution.

Monuments of Cycling has also created the BWR Guide to Eating Like a Semi-Pro.  It covers all aspects of cycling nutrition, including hydration, supplementation, gut training, carb-loading, recovery, on-bike feeding, and more. It’s not intended as a specific plan. Rather, it gives you the tools and knowledge to figure out what personally works for you as an athlete–and what doesn’t.  The guide is available here.  Also, note that The Feed, the largest online sports nutrition marketplace, is the official high-performance fuel sponsor of BWR events.  As a part of the BWR community, you can get a special discount.  You can find the details here.

The following routes are from 2023.  Monuments customarily make route changes and improvements each year.  The final 2024 routes will not be unveiled until the eve of the BWR BW.


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