Monuments of Cycling brought its iconic Belgian Waffle Ride format to Kansas for the first time in 2021, and since then the Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas continues to receive rave reviews. Strambecco rates it as one of the best gravel events in the Midwest and has also made its way in to the Gran Fondo World Tour (Gravel). The event occurs around Lawrence, an eclectic Mid-west town with a vibrant cycling culture and community. BWR Kansas provides professional and amateur cyclists the opportunity to ride the most coveted roads and off-road sections spanning the northeast region of Kansas.
Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas is esteemed as the grandest gravel/unroad course in America. With the course wandering through agrarian hamlets and Ardennes-like hills, it offers a palette of terrains including single-tracks, muddy trails, and remarkable rolling gravel roads, with almost no paved roads, leaving riders to battle the winds alone. The absence of straightaways and the plethora of unroads mean the journey is steeped in challenges, leaving no room for respite, guaranteeing an unforgettable adventure.
Event & Course Info
Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas participants are offered a chance to ride on a few unique trail systems in the area, like Perry Lake Trails, which is open exclusively on race day, promising untrodden, challenging terrain usually reserved for hikers and runners. The Snake Farm trail system, a meticulously designed course on private land, opens to the public on rare occasions, including the BWR, offering challenging rocky sectors, fast descents, and steep climbs. Moreover, the Lawrence River Trail system is a gravel bike paradise, offering smooth, fast terrains amidst a picturesque riverfront location.
The Waffle route, the longest, clocks in at approximately 120 miles with around 7,550 feet of climbing. It’s 88% Off-road/gravel, featuring nine definitive climbs and 21 sectors of unroad. It challenges the riders with the steepest grade of 18% and is segmented with six Feed Zones and numerous water crossings.
The Wafer, a strenuous 80-mile ride with approximately 4,100 feet of climbing, is 95% off-road and features four definitive climbs, offering three Feed Zones and multiple water crossings, challenging riders with a 14% grade at its steepest.
For those seeking a moderate challenge, the Wanna route offers a 30-mile ride with about 1,600 feet of climbing. This route is 90% unroad/gravel and features one categorized climb, one Feed Zone, and several water crossings.
The finish line in historic downtown Lawrence promises a festive atmosphere with a bustling expo, live concerts, and an array of delectable Belgian waffles, brews, and other treats. The celebration crescendos with a live concert and an after-party, allowing riders to share their tales from the day.
What sets BWR apart is the unprecedented level of support it provides. The race boasts police escorts, follow vehicles, and well-placed feed zones. Additionally, an array of media vans, BWR support vehicles, on-trail support with mechanics are available to aid riders in navigating through tough sectors. The event ensures riders are not hindered by mechanical issues, with teams ready to address any technical glitches swiftly. The support doesn’t end with mechanics; the event offers an invigorating experience with fresh, authentic Belgian waffles and piping hot coffee to kick-start the riders’ journey, enveloping them in an atmosphere brimming with energy and anticipation.
With its intricate mix of terrain, meticulous organization, unparalleled support, and festive atmosphere, BWR Kansas stands as a one-of-a-kind treat for gravel cycling enthusiasts, promising a beautiful and challenging adventure in the heart of America’s gravel Heartland. Get excited for the event and get prepared with the official training plan from FasCat for BWR Kansas.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
Lawrence, Kansas, the host city of Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas, is a vibrant city that prides itself on marching to the beat of its own drum. It has evolved as a hub of energy and openness, with a community that is both welcoming and eclectic. With a prolific arts and culinary scene, Lawrence is a haven for free spirits and food enthusiasts alike, brimming with numerous art galleries and diverse eateries. The city pulsates with live music, offering a plethora of venues that host performances almost every night.
Lawrence’s walkable downtown area, affectionately referred to by locals as “Mass Street”, is a prime destination, featuring an array of unique boutiques, cozy coffee shops, and varied entertainment options. The city’s rich history is showcased at the Watkins Museum of History and can be further explored through self-guided tours.
As a bustling college town, Lawrence is home to the University of Kansas (KU) and Haskell Indian Nations University. The KU campus houses a range of attractions including the Natural History Museum, Dole Institute of Politics, Spencer Museum of Art, and DeBruce Center, where enthusiasts can view Dr. James Naismith’s original rules of “basketball”.
Lawrence also offers abundant picturesque outdoor spaces, with over 50 public parks, the expansive Clinton State Park, and the serene Baker Wetlands, providing ample opportunities for exploration and relaxation. As you tailor your Belgian Waffle Ride itinerary, immerse yourself in all the diverse experiences Lawrence, KS has to offer.
Lodging partners for Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas include Hampton Inn and the Spring Hill Suites, while there are also many vacation rentals for those the prefer a more home-like experience, from homes to loft apartments. If you prefer to camp, consider the Lawrence KOA, right on Clinton Lake, or enjoy glamping at Saddle Ridge Retreats.
The culinary scene in Lawrence, Kansas, is delightfully diverse and vibrant, reflecting the city’s eclectic and open community. From cozy cafes and gourmet restaurants offering a range of international cuisines to lively bars and eateries featuring live music, food enthusiasts can explore a plethora of dining options that cater to various palates and preferences. Check out Eater’s list of recommended restaurants to check out.
For those seeking a mid-October getaway, full of adventure and exploration, Lawrence, with its vivid fall colors and cool temperatures, is a premium destination. Clinton State Park, nestled in the nature-rich outskirts of Lawrence, invites adventurers to a scenic haven, perfect for a myriad of outdoor activities. It boasts well-maintained trails for mountain biking and hiking, allowing one to weave through diverse landscapes, capturing glimpses of local wildlife and breath-taking autumn foliage. These trails range from easy to moderate, catering to both novices and experienced athletes. The park also offers spacious areas for camping, where outdoor enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the nocturnal symphony of nature, under the clear, starlit skies. Furthermore, the park’s serene lake is an ideal spot for kayaking and fishing, presenting an opportunity to unwind and connect with nature’s tranquil beauty.
Also, the Baker Wetlands offers a unique and refreshing experience for runners and bikers, with its expansive landscapes dotted with rich biodiversity. The area is crisscrossed with well-marked trails that meander through the wetlands, providing a close encounter with a variety of plant species and birdlife, especially during the migratory season in October.
Monuments of Cycling is a purveyor of classic one-day bicycle races in the United States. They are best known for the Belgian Waffle Quadrupel Series, challenging races in the spirit of the great European one-day Spring Classics, all with a Belgique theme. Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas not only offers diverse and challenging courses but also serves as a required race for those vying for the Quadruple Crown of Gravel Series. Their namesake event, Belgian Waffle Ride California, started ten years ago. These events are unique because they are classic, long bicycle races featuring various off-road sectors emulating the pave or cobblestones of Europe, making the varied terrain challenging for riders’ technical skills, equipment, endurance, luck, and versatility.
Like other BWR Series events in California, N. Carolina, Utah, Canada, Michigan, Mexico and Arizona, you can expect a deep field of professional riders and an expansive list of hungry amateur riders drawn to the unparalleled opportunity to race alongside some of the best. Each event consistently makes it in to our list of the Best Gravel Cycling Events in California, the Northwest, Southwest, and the Southeast.
Belgian Waffle Ride BWR Kansas is also part of the Gran Fondo World Tour (Gravel), an international event series spanning the world’s most picturesque and jaw-dropping cycling destinations, from the high peaks of the Pyrenees to the lush landscapes of Thailand. You can view the full list of events here. There are three North American events including the Jersey Gravel Grinder in May, Kettle Mettle Dirty Fondo (Canada) in September, and the Belgian Waffle Ride Kansas in October.
For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of Kansas and broader Midwest region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best in Class road, mountain biking, and trail running events. However, we would be remiss to not call out this premier gravel event in Kansas, Unbound Gravel from Life Time Events.