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Event Series Event Series: Tripel Crown of Gravel Series (BWR)

Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah

April 6

gravel cyclists at Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah

This is the fifth edition of the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah in Cedar City, which is in the stunning Southwest corner of Utah and is billed as the "Hell of the South (West)."  The event is sponsored by Canyon Bikes and produced by Monuments of Cycling, the same organizers as the iconic Belgium Waffle Ride California.  Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah is also the second leg in the unique Tripel Crown of Gravel Series (details below).  Adding to the popularity of BWR events, Monuments is constantly making improvements.  This year's route is completely new and offers the chance to race on gravel, sand, and rock at altitude against some of the best cyclists from the road, gravel, MTB, and unroad scenes. The new route won’t have crazy single-track sectors but will offer a dynamic array of different but "rippable’ unroad spiciness," according to Monuments.   Strambecco rates BWR UT as one of the Best Gravel Events in the Southwest.  As a testament to the overall quality of BWR events, Canyon Bikes, one of the world's most innovative bike brands, is the event's title sponsor and the Tripel Crown Series.

Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) events have carved a unique space in the American cycling calendar, capturing the essence of Euro-style Spring Classics on American soil. Known affectionately as the BWR, it represents a meeting point for the best cyclists across road, gravel, mountain, and triathlon domains. Still, it is equally welcoming to enthusiasts and even first-timer gravel racers looking to challenge themselves.   Every BWR event offers a blend of challenging terrain and natural beauty to create an exceptional experience you will never forget.

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.   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, 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.

Event & Course Info

The Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah edition, aka "the Hell Of The SouthWest," boasts a unique juxtaposition compared to its Californian counterpart. Instead of being a road race punctuated with dirt sections, BWR Utah is an 'Unroad Race.' The main Waffle event is designed around a challenging 128-mile course, with over 92% covering unroad sectors - a melange of gravel, sand, rock, and dirt.  2024 routes have not been announced, but you can expect challenging routes spanning the region's most coveted gravel and off-road sectors. For a sampling of what to expect, 2023 routes offered three distinct cycling courses for riders. The signature and most challenging course, the Waffle course, stretched over 128.1 miles with approximately 7,500 feet of climbing. It was characterized by 92% "Unroad" terrain, where cyclists navigated through sand, rocks, dirt, and more. The course also boasted nine road sectors, numerous cattle crossings, water crossings, and footbridges.  There were feed zones spaced roughly every 20 miles. Additionally, it incorporated multiple competitive segments, including three Queen/King of the Mountain, Dirt, and Sprint.

The Wafer course was slightly shorter at 81 miles, with about 3,700 feet of climbing and 80% Unroad terrains. Starting simultaneously with the Waffle ride at 7:00 am, the Wafer covered the first 59 miles of the route and converged with it again for the last eight miles. Riders found three feed zones along this course.

Lastly, the Wanna Ride course offered a 43.4-mile journey with the same climb as the Wafer course. It followed the first four miles of the Waffle route and the last 28 miles of the Wafer route, with two feed zones available for riders.

All courses for 2024 will be similar in length and elevation gain and likely from Main Street Park in Cedar City, initially traveling in a neutral roll-out. However, the competition begins in earnest at mile four. All riders are cautioned about the terrain and challenges ahead, particularly the strong headwinds between miles 42 and 94. Given the rugged conditions, participants are advised to equip their bikes with tires of at least 40mm in width and to prepare adequately.

Participants can look forward to the BWR Unroad Expo, teeming with live music, a beer garden, ample waffles, and the festive spirit of Utah. Additionally, With the support of Cedar City, a pre-race party on Friday night sets the mood for the race, and the post-race celebrations include revealing the winner of the Canyon Bike /OpiCure bike giveaway and loads of Rouleur's signature Badass Ale. Also, equal prize money is awarded across three categories (M/W/Gender Diverse), with the top three (or, in some races, the top five) from each category receiving prize money. The event will be extensively covered on Instagram Stories for fans worldwide.

The Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah is not just another race. It's an experience, a challenge, a metaphor for life. Be sure to check out the official 2023 Race Bijbel for all of the nitty-gritty details of this epic event, and don't forget to connect with FasCat for all your training needs.

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 Utah training plan.  It is a comprehensive six-week training plan starting on February 26. 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.

Belgian Waffle Ride Series

BWR Utah is part of the Belgian Waffle Ride Series, 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 “the most unique cycling event in the country,” the Belgian Waffle Ride California (San Diego). BWR California is well known among cycling enthusiasts and pros as one of the most difficult bicycle races in the US at 146 miles and 40 off-road sectors.

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 take a sinister toll on riders’ physical and mental well-being… These are not races set up for freeloading sprinters or frail climbers. They are designed to challenge riders of all stripes and sizes in demented and glorious ways. Therein lies the allure of the Monuments of Cycling: extreme challenges that require months or years of 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.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

The official host hotels for the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah in Cedar City include the Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Holiday Inn Express, and Hampton Inn. However, if you prefer a more homelike experience, there are vacation rentals, from smart homes to downtown cottages, to suit anyone's needs. If you prefer to camp, there are a few convenient options, including Cedar City RV Resort, Cedar Canyon Retreat RV Park and Campground, and Pyramid Ridge, in addition to one-of-a-kind camping locations.

Cedar City's culinary scene is a delightful blend of traditional American fare and diverse international influences, all enriched by the town's unique southwestern heritage and locally sourced ingredients. From cozy diners to upscale eateries, the city offers gastronomic experiences that resonate with its small-town charm and vast natural landscapes. Local favorites include Lighthouse Seafood & Grill, Centro Pizzeria, and Bunnisa's Thai Cuisine.

Cedar City is a vibrant hub for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Not only is it nestled amidst iconic natural wonders like Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, but the city offers an eclectic downtown filled with history, fantastic dining options, and much more.

Bryce Canyon beckons with over 14 diverse hiking trails, catering to adventurers of all levels. Here, you can indulge in horseback riding, camping, or simply marvel at the unique canyon views. Just a stone's throw away, Zion National Park stands as one of the country's premier national parks. Beyond its famed hiking and camping, thrill-seekers can revel in rock climbing and canyoneering, while those seeking a more serene experience can enjoy leisurely tours, picnics, and river excursions.

But don't stop there. The enchanting Kanarra Falls is nearby, providing a slightly challenging yet rewarding hiking experience leading to a mesmerizing waterfall set within a slot canyon. Safety first, though – inexperienced hikers must venture into groups and come prepared.

In proximity to Cedar City, there are nearly 20 National Parks, Monuments, and Recreation Areas, all within a half-day's journey. A mere 30-minute drive will lead you to the stunning Cedar Breaks National Monument. And for cycling enthusiasts, the region boasts terrains suitable for all, from gravel and mountain trails to smooth paved roads.

Cedar City provides an intimate, small-town charm paired with grand recreational opportunities, which are perfect reasons to add Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah to your cycling calendar.

Note:  The following route profile is from 2023 and will likely change in 2024.  Monuments of Cycling announces the final route on the eve of the event.

 

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