Spy Optic’s Belgian Waffle Ride fries Southern California cyclists


Spy/Giant teamriders hammering it out on the King of Dirt section No. 5 during the 2013 Spy Belgian Waffle Ride. Photo courtesy of Spy BWR

If you watched Swiss cyclist Fabian Cancellara win the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubiax and thought maybe you’d like to test yourself against 200 km of hell, then the Spy Belgian Waffle Ride held every year in Carlsbad, California, could be just your thing.

This year’s race, which kicked off for the second year in a row over the weekend, pit 360 cyclists against some of the wettest, steepest, and rockiest roads and trails in Southern California. And that was after serving them all a huge waffle breakfast.

Modeled after the world-famous Spring Classic cycling events in Europe, the Spy BWR offers cyclists an opportunity to test their strengths in a variety of different terrain, which is unusual for a road cycling event in the U.S. The 130-mile course, which costs $100 to enter, started at Spy Optic’s headquarters in Carlsbad and wound its way through Oceanside, Bonsall, Escondido, and other cities before ending, six-plus hours later, back at company headquarters. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from the ride went to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, according to Spy Optic.

Spy Optic Chief Executive Michael Marckx said the ride is unusual because of its multiple sand, dirt, and water crossings, as well as its 12,000 feet of climbing. Its a pain-fest that suits masochistic road cyclists perfectly–and next year’s event is likely to be even more difficult.

“I see the course getting a little longer, getting more than 12,000 feet of climbing, and having a lot more difficult dirt sections,” Marckx said in an interview with GrindTV.com. “Next year we will work more proactively with the county to get onto dirt roads that we haven’t done to date. There will be more dirt and gravel.”

If you’re hell-bent on getting in on the ride next year, start training now—you’ve got 11 months.

And for more details and photos of the event, check out the Spy BWR Facebook page.