Nicole Duke (photographed here at Worlds) will be participating in the 124 mile race. © Bart Hazen
CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA — San Diego-based eyewear brand SPY, a repeat supporter of multiple cyclocross racers, a repeat supporter of multiple cyclocross racers and CrossVegas, is inaugurating a unique and extremely challenging Spring Classic cycling event in true Flemish fashion. The ride will include moules-frites, ale, waffles, and more ale on top of a 124-mile competitive bike ride with 9,000 feet of climbing through scenic North County San Diego. The inaugural fete—christened the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride—has attracted a who’s who of cycling icons, including Olympians, champions of all calibers (state, national, and world), local riders of all skill levels, and several surf, motocross and bike industry luminaries.
“Belgium has been for nearly a century the epicenter of international professional cycling in the early spring race season, and the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride is an homage to the storied history and folklore of bike racing in that region; it is a tribute to the incredibly arduous competitions staged there, and a celebration of our cycling heritage as a brand,” says Michael Marckx, SPY president, CEO, and USA Cycling/UCI Category 1 bike racer. “With the similar terrain to Belgium that North County offers, we’ve done our best to emulate the race experiences of rural Ghent, Wevelgem, Flanders, Liege and Bastogne, with wearisome rolling hills, steep climbs, gravel and dirt roads, and a distance that few racers will ever contend with in the United States. We’ve also baked-in a fun Belgian breakfast and dinner, a whole lot of twists in the way of awards, and there’s a great charity that we’re excited to support through donations this year.”
The exclusive, invite-only event kicks off at 7:30 a.m. on April 15 with a catered breakfast for the 150 participants, replete with authentic Belgian waffles. The ride begins at 8:30 with a 20-mile “neutral” processional through Carlsbad and Oceanside, before things heat up around the 100-mile-to-go mark. Riders will be treated to food and beverages on-course from PowerBar, Bonk Breakers and SmartWater, while contending for Sprint and King of the Mountain/Waffle points, or simply attempting to survive.
At the end of the day, while specially-crafted Belgian ale from The Lost Abbey Brewery is being enjoyed, a number of honors will be awarded for efforts and lack thereof. Custom-made Squadra jerseys, designed by Joe Yule of StageOne, will go to the overall General Classification winner (Waffle Winner, Yellow Jersey), most aggressive (Belgian Hardman, Blue Jersey), the best overall climber (King of the Waffle, Red/White Waffle Dot Jersey) and the best sprinter (Sprinter Studmo, Green Jersey). There will also be a distinction for the most selfish, uncooperative, inconsiderate, and weakest rider (Wawful Freddy, Purple Jersey) who will be nominated by a panel of on-course marshals.
“This will be the furthest I’ve ever ridden in competition and, I have to admit, it promises to be one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever traveled,” says Nicole Duke, who is the reigning Colorado State Cyclocross Champion as well as the third place elite women’s National Champion, a U.S. Masters National Champion, and a U.S. National Team member. “Michael [Marckx] and the SPY crew have put together one incredible event, and a hellish ride—I’m pumped to see what I can do on the road and in the beer garden afterward.”
Registered Belgian Waffle Ride competitors are donating monies toward the event’s cause—the UCSD EyeMobile for Children at the Shiley Eye Center, a mobile resource providing eye exams and care to needy youth throughout San Diego. Sponsors of the event include The Lost Abbey Brewery, PowerBar, Bonk Breaker, SmartWater, B&L Bike & Sports, and Squadra.
“It’s going to be a great day—150 cycling buddies mixing it up on bicycles over 120 miles in one of the greatest cycling areas I have ever had the chance to live in,” remarks Ryan Trebon, two-time National Cyclo-Cross Champion, National Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion, and two-time U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclo-Cross Champion. “Just when I think I’m getting serious about my mountain bike season, SPY creates this torturous ride that is just cool enough to pull me in. Waffles, beer and bikes … it’s a triple-threat of a good time.”
For more information about the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride, go to www.facebook.com/SPYBWR.