Gitcher Belgian on

January 20, 2016 § 11 Comments


It’s that time of year. Oh, wait, no it isn’t.

That time of year is Spring, April  24, 2016 at 8:00 AM sharp.

What now is, is the time of year when you sign up for the Belgian Waffle Ride far enough in advance so that you think you’ll be ready for it. The good news is that you will be! The bad news is that you won’t.

This year’s edition, the fifth, features another leisurely spin through the gentle rolling hills and well-maintained road surfaces of North San Diego County. As in past years, the BWR will be pain-free, fun, easy to complete, and filled with happy conversation as you pedal long miles side-by-side with friends, catching up on family news and philosophizing about life, dark matter, and what’s really going on with Chinese stocks.

Of course there may be one or two riders with a different agenda, and who, rather than seeing the BWR as a casual LSD pedal, see instead a painful mix of dirt, tarmac, water, gravel, and rocky sections buffered on all sides by difficulty, epic challenges, and extremely tough riding conditions.

But what do they know?

Well, they may know this …

Although each BWR has been more monumental than the one before, the 2016 edition is the toughest yet. At 144 miles, it is the longest, has the most dirt sectors, and rarely traverses an intersections. The complexity of the course means that there’s something there for everyone, except those who really want to stop. For them, there will be six major and six minor aid stations, some of which will offer tequila or Belgian ale while still offering water, Coke, and event-sponsored beverages.

Some of the sections are so hard you’ll have to walk unless your name is Phil Tinstman or Neil Shirley. Some of the heroic dirt sections from past years such as Black Canyon, Canyon de Oro, and Lemontwistenberg will rear their ugly heads, but the new challenges of Lusardi and San Elijo also await. The rock garden of Lake Hodges has to be traversed in both directions this year, same as the Mule Trail. Perhaps the best feature is the Highland Valley beatdown, five miles of unvarnished climbing hell out to Ramona where you can contemplate forging ahead or calling it a day.

The only way you’ll find out, of course, is to do the dance and sign up for yet another year of full-gas pedalmashing. Better yet, if it’s your first time you can toe the line and discover what’s so fun about slamming a great waffle-egg-bacon-coffee breakfast, riding hard, competing against the best, capping off the ride with more good food and even better beer, then collapsing in a heap and hoping like hell you thought far enough in advance to arrange for a ride back home.

Registration is here:

Over the next few weeks I’ll put together a series of training plans tailored to the different needs of the various BWR participants. For now the simplest plan is also the hardest: Ride yer fuggin’ bike.



For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and learn how to survive the BWR. Not thrive. Survive. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!


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§ 11 Responses to Gitcher Belgian on

  • bejoneses says:

    The very true (except for the stuff that’s not) description of “… another leisurely spin through the gentle rolling hills and well-maintained road surfaces of North San Diego …” had me spitting coffee… Glad I was using the wife’s iPad to read this morning’s installment.

  • Hello fsethd-san and All,

    Sounds good ….

    Looking for more?

    200 and 400 miles on 7 May 2016.

    “The 200-mile racers head up Olive Hill Road through Fallbrook, across the Coast Range through the rugged back country east of Camp Pendleton and down to Temecula. Here they head back into the Coast Range to Valley Center. From there they head up and over Palomar and down to Lake Henshaw. They continue east to San Felipe Road and down into the Anza-Borrego Desert. They begin the return trip by climbing Banner Grade and continuing to Santa Ysabel.

    The 400-mile riders head to Valley Center and over Mt. Palomar to Lake Henshaw. They follow the RAAM route across the Coast Range and down “the glass elevator” to Borrego Springs. From here they head out to Salton City, around the north side of the Salton Sea down to Brawley and out through the Algodones Dunes to Glamis, where they turn around and head back through Brawley, up Banner Grade and down into Santa Ysabel.

    Both the 200 and 400-mile riders head north out of San Ysabel following the same return route – Mesa Grande to Lake Henshaw, down to Cole Grade and through Valley Center back to Mance Buchanon Park.

    The 200-mile course is the toughest “double century” in America.

    The 400-mile course follows significant portions of the current and past RAAM routes. Nearly 150 miles of the 400-mile course are below sea level. Racers get the RAAM experience, but without the intense summer desert heat. This is our toughest RAAM Challenge Series event – are you up for the Challenge?”



    +1 mph Faster

  • Waldo says:

    Ok. Why the funk not?

  • channel_zero says:

    I heard it’s all downhill except for the parts that aren’t and those have a tailwind.

    If I start riding now, after months of couch time, I’m thinking 4 hours, max. I’m eagerly awaiting your training plan to knock it down to 3 hours with a little training.

  • shano says:

    someday… But I can still dream. Bummed this always comes right after I’m out of country for a month in a place where biking (well, at least what us normal people call “biking”) doesnt exist. Licking the chops on those new parcours additions, good stuff all of it.

    Maybe next year…

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