Signing up for the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) in November left me with butterflies in my stomach. It is by far the longest race I will have done, not only in miles but also time on my saddle. For those who aren’t familiar with this epic event, the BWR is a ~136 mile multi-surface event in North San Diego County. The route is created to be torturous with nearly 12,000 feet of climbing. There are approximately 46 dusty, dirt-filled miles with the rest of the course on paved roads that oftentimes have strong headwinds. It is being held on Cinco de Mayo so heat could be a factor as well though so far the forecast is looking ideal! I chose this event because it is something new. I imagine I will learn a lot about myself as a cyclist, competitor, and person as I am out there in an all day effort. Needless to say, I love challenges that scare me so bring it on BWR!
The first puzzle piece for preparing for the BWR was figuring out my bike set-up. For my bike, I will be racing my trusty Pivot Vault. This bike has already had plenty of dirt adventures before signing up for the BWR because it is the bike I use to race local cyclocross and also…well, I just love dirt and have a hard time staying off of it! For the first few pre-rides I had a Shimano 50/34 crankset and an Ultegra 11/30 cassette. While this works well on the flats I found I was running out of gears rather early on the hideous climbs that BWR’s race director, MMX, has so graciously placed throughout the course. After riding 80 miles with Adam Mills of Source Endurance as well as talking with Phil Tinsman over a Lost Abbey Ale, I decided to order a long cage derailleur and swap the cassette for an 11-34. While this won’t stop my legs from screaming up Double Peak, I am sure it will make me smile going up Black Canyon! Velofix San Diego North has helped me get all of the new gear swapped out as well as a pre-race tune-up. If anything comes up before the race, even in the minutes leading up, Paul and Adam will be the folks that save my ride!
Now let’s talk about the very “delicate” area of such a long race- the saddle and positioning on the bike. I have a saddle that is SO comfortable on my bike fit thanks to Abe at Incycle. He uses the Retul System so my fit is dialed. I have the Specialized Mimic Saddle in a 155mm width. In my opinion, a bike fit is pretty much mandatory for such a long event in order to not only be efficient, but also comfortable. In addition to the saddle, to keep that area comfortable I have a chamois that is great for long extravaganzas in my KS Kenda Women’s Hyperthreads Pro kit. It is a women’s specific chamois so it is made to fit women in a comfortable way by not being as wide in the saddle area. I also use Pedal Power chamois cream!
So, the nitty gritty of my bike…
Bike: Pivot Vault
Tires: Kenda Valkyrie Pro 28c’s with 60/65psi. These are slicks and they have worked just fine in the sand!
Sealant: Orange Seal Sealant, 4oz per tire
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra Disc Brakes
Bar Tape: Red ESI RCT Tape
Chain: Shimano XTR chain with Wend Waxworks Pink, Blue, and Orange
Saddle: Specialized Women’s Mimic
Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeaters