BWR California 2024 - Running out of Time and Road

Belgian Waffle Ride is a race where there always seems to be a worthy winner. In 2019, BWR SD was my first ever 'gravel race'. I flatted out heroically 11 miles in and spent the day riding with Jacob Rathe and making new friends. I remember leaving thinking, huh, that was more competitive than I expected.

Fast forward to 2024, I have raced BWR CA every year since and have managed a bit of everything from flatting out of the winning move to winning emphatically. As we entered the race weekend, I was carrying some confidence from Sea Otter, but the course had changed a lot. After failing to get a permit to utilize the Black Canyon climb and descent, we would enter a new single track at the far end of the course before climbing back out the asphalt road.

The nature of this race is that at some point your bike is not the right bike for the job and it is always a balance between something that will make it through the course and handle the rough terrain, but can also roll well on the nearly 60 miles of smooth road.

The race started incredibly hard with Matt Beers stringing the group out early as I struggled to hang on his wheel. Over the top and down Questhaven (the first dirt section) we had about 15 riders. From there it was a game of settling down and protecting equipment through Lemontwistenburg. I never felt like I had the weekend before, but I did my pulls and ate my food. 

Alexy and Toby on the Black Canyon Climb
@fjimz10 @thefeedme

With 65 miles to go, Matt Beers went solo and would go on to win, an incredible feat in which he burned 7000kj's! As we came into the final 15 miles I was in a group of 6 with Brendan, Pete, Toby and Petr. I felt like I had a bit to give and by that point my bike was perfect for everything that was left on course. I attacked and made an effort to see how much of the 3.5 mins I could take back from Matt.

There were moments where I started to believe I could catch him and win again, but alas with about 4 miles to go at the top of Double Peak I ran out of time and road. 2nd on the day would be my place and secure a full podium set for me at this race having gotten 3rd in 2023.

Rarely is 2nd place the goal as a professional athlete, but I have learned how great 2nd place can feel if you did everything right and it just wasn't the perfect day. Consistency is very difficult as an elite athlete and I am really proud of the last two weekends! 

Chasing Matt Beers
@fjimz10 @thefeedme

BWR California 2024 Race Stats

Race Time: 5:29:45

Distance: 118 MI

Avg HR: 158

Max HR: 183

Avg Power: 265

NP: 302

Max Power: 951

Avg Speed: 21.44 MPH

Max Speed: 52.38 MPH

BWR Bike Check

Frame: ENVE Melee

Wheels: ENVE 3.4's

Cockpit: ENVE Aero Cockpit 90mm stem - 39/42mm bars

Components: Shimano Dura Ace 52/36 - 11/34

Tires: Kenda 4titude

Sealant: Orange Seal Regular

Bottle Cages/Waxed Chain: Silca

Bottles: Polar Bottle

Head Unit: Wahoo Bolt

Grips: ESI RCT Tape

Alexey Racing

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