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The Belgian Waffle Ride in San Diego on April 30 will have $50,000 in cash and prizes on tap for the top five men and women and the top three male and female junior riders.
Race promoter Michael Marckx said the cash portion will be at least $30,000 dollars, making BWR California the highest-paying gravel race in the world. “Plus we have expensive custom-engraved watches, custom jerseys, sunglasses, helmets, and shoes,” he said.
Belgian Waffle Ride now has four events, which collectively make up the Quadrupel Crown of Gravel Series, and which will have its own to-be-announced purse for the top four male and female riders overall.
The eleventh annual BWR CA is the original Belgian Waffle Ride and first up on the calendar. The other races are BWR NC in Asheville in June, BWR UT in Cedar City in September, and BWR KS in Lawrence in October.
Each event will offer the long ‘Waffle’ course, the half-distance ‘Wafer’, and the more approachable ‘Wanna’ distance.
The events feature a mix of pavement, gravel, and dirt, and they often have some unique challenge thrown in, such as rocky singletrack in Utah, or a cyclocross course in Kansas.
At BWR CA this year, the Waffle event is on Saturday and the Wafer and Wanna are on Sunday. Riders can even to the ‘Dubbel Header’ by doing the Waffle and the Wafer on consecutive days.
Throughout the four-race series, BWR will have prize purses for each event for different categories, including:
• BWR CA – top five elite riders and top three junior riders
• BWR NC – top three elite riders and top three junior riders
• BWR UT – top three elite riders and top three 45+ riders
• BWR KS – top three elite riders and top three co-ed teams of two (must ride and finish together)
“We are so excited about this year’s guaranteed prize purse, which includes a payout for the top junior riders, because it will allow us to better reward the elites while broadening the pool of recipients and shining a spotlight on the burgeoning talent we have here in the United States,” Marckx said.
Life Time recently announced its Grand Prix series of three gravel and three mountain bike events. That series has a $250,000 purse for the overall, and is limited to 60 invited riders.
Marckx said BWR is investing in more police and Highway Patrol to have on course, plus roving mechanical support, 11 feed zones, and scores of volunteers for BWR CA.
“With other events placing the elite racers as the focus of their efforts, we have made a conscious decision to provide rider safety and support that covers everyone who registers. We want to complement our significant prize purse offering with unparalleled aid for all the riders who approach these events as some of the most important days on their calendar. It’s our mission that the final finishers will receive the same love and support the first finishers get,” Marckx said.