The course is only part of the course

There are three things that make a course: the route, the weather, and the riders.

The 2014 SPY Belgian Waffle Ride offers up a route like no other. Much has been written about it, and each rider will discover the extraordinary difficulty of this 136-mile torture chamber at his leisure. The weather will likely be dry and cool with a moderate wind.

When it comes to riders, though, most of us will have only a fleeting glance of the strongest participants, as they will storm away in the first wave, never to be seen until the finish. If you are one of the people who is showing up to the BWR in order win a jersey, here’s a snapshot of a few of the people you’ll have to beat.

  1. Ryan Trebon. Pro cyclocross racer and sponsored SPY rider, former U.S. national champion.
  2. Neil Shirley. First place finisher in the Belgian Waffle Ride’s 2013 edition, and one of the best professional riders in America.
  3. Dan Cobley. Don’t let the Cat 3 fool you. He finished fourth last year behind Neil, Thurlow Rogers, and Karl Bordine.
  4. Brent Prenzlow. He’s an uncategorized “public” rider. He also made mincemeat of virtually the entire field in the inaugural 2012 BWR.
  5. Phil Tinstman. The best all-around masters racer in America. He time trials, sprints, climbs, and has exceptional off-road skills. Former sprint jersey winner in the 2012 edition. If Neil misses a pedal stroke, Phil’s my pick to win it all.
  6. Chris DeMarchi. This is Chris’s first BWR, and you can expect that he will ride it with a vengeance. Chris is also one of the best masters racers in America and is teammates with Phil. Look for a one-two combo from these two titans.
  7. John Abate. Lokalmotor from San Diego, John has the legs and the knowledge of the local roads to be there at the finish.
  8. Lars Finanger. Unhappily (for us) shipped off to Houston last year, Lars returns to his old stomping grounds where he can be expected to stomp people’s heads in if he’s on form.
  9. Michael Marckx. Will this be MMX’s year? He knows every inch of the course because he designed it. He’s riding with exceptional speed and strength. Could be awkward if the head honcho wins his own race!
  10. Ryan Dahl. Truly one of the beasts of North County and always a top finisher at the BWR, in 2013 Ryan earned the hardman jersey for toughest rider on the course.
  11. Brian Zink. The question mark here is fitness. If Brian is on form, he will storm the field, much as he did in 2012 when he won the hardman jersey, and last year when he finished sixth.
  12. David Jaeger. Winner of the inaugural BWR in 2012, DJ is currently on fire as evidenced by his podium finish in the state road race. If he carries it over to Sunday, he will be lethal.
  13. Logan Fiedler. If he hadn’t been felled by a broken elbow earlier this year, Logan would be higher on this list as he’s an excellent climber, skilled in the dirt, and has tremendous endurance.
  14. Robert Frank. Major Bob placed 16th last year with minimal training. This year he’s scorching, earning 2nd place last weekend at the state road race. Lean, fast, an excellent climber, and equally comfortable on dirt and asphalt, a podium is not out of the question.

Given the fact that over 500 riders have signed up for the 2014 SPY Belgian Waffle Ride, there will certainly be surprises as well as strong riders who I’m simply unfamiliar with and have omitted out of ignorance. This list, however, should include at least a handful of the top finishers. Game on!



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I don't think I'd give you this shirt off my back.
I don’t think I’d give you this shirt off my back.

20 thoughts on “The course is only part of the course”

    1. Google Belgian Waffle Ride 2013 and check out my finishing time, almost eight hours.

      So …

      1. Wow. Impressive times by those top finishers. I’m at 8 hours for a century that includes only 7000 feet of climbs on decent roads. You guys are studs.

  1. FYI Brents CV is is faaaaar from ANYTHING “public” with well over 100+ Pro/Elite cross wins in his career…last years KOD as well…

    1. Right, but he’s listed on the race registration as an unlicensed/public rider. So you’ve been warned.

  2. So I guess Tom Boonen, Phillipe Gilbert and Johann VanSummeren are going to just submit their entries on race day?

  3. Why do you guys in CA always think you’ve got everyone beat? Napoleon complex I guess?

    Mad Cow 180 Route Description
    The Mad Cow 180 is the longest “mixed media” race of the NMES. The ride will incorporate five dirt road sections, totaling 55 miles, and 123 miles of pavement, and 18000 feet of climbing. This includes the three longest closest dirt/gravel climbs in the area- ascending Sandia Mountain via Los Huertos Canyon, St Peter’s Dome Road at Cochiti, and the Pacheco Canyon/Aspen Vista combo up to the communication towers at the Santa Fe Ski Area peak. The ride begins at 4:00 AM at the parking lot between Stumbling Steer and Circle K at 3700 Ellison Rd NW, and ends at the Second Street Brewery in Santa Fe, at the railroad depot. Yes, a Point A to Point B event. The honor system will be used for finish timing, no rider clipboard at the finish. And to top this long day off, the last train back to ABQ is at 10:00 PM, or arrange for pickup.

    1. Why do you guys in New Mexico think you’ve got everyone beat? Inbreeding complex and not enough oxygen, I guess.

      1903 Tour Stage 1: Paris – Lyon, 467 km

  4. Seth, overall winner is self explanatory. What’s the kUDO jersey, or the “Freddy Freeloader” jersey? I know what a freeloader is, but they actually have a jersey for that? Tamar

    1. kUDO is the rider who most exemplifies the character and spirt of Udo Heinz, local North County legend killed last year on a training ride at Camp Pendleton.

      Freeloader jersey is one you DON’T want to get.

  5. Thanks for the explanation. On another, but related note, I see a single very determined man finished the entire ride last year on an Elliptigo.

    1. That’s Doug. He is legitimately nuts. I think he started at 3 AM. Oh, and he’s tough as nails.

      1. It was 3.30am last year, but 2.30am this year – the course was longer with more dirt so I didn’t want to risk missing beer garden. Not sure who Doug is… 🙂

  6. I can’t find any details on the expo so have no idea if it is worth going to see. Just that there is an expo with no other information. Like what time? Who are the exhibitors? etc…

  7. 15. Nate Whitman – not going to win the thing, but a top 10 is a good bet with a possible top 5 in the cards. Finished 9th at Leadville last year and is a solid, steady rider and a reliable finisher. Definite BWR material.

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