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Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville (Wafer) - Cycle

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Hendersonville, North Carolina
United States
Belgian Waffle Ride
78F / 26C
Total Time = 4h 58m 3s
Overall Rank = 169/268
Age Group = F45-54
Age Group Rank = 6/10
Pre-race routine:

Check in on Friday. We drove to the Kanuga Conference Center for packet pickup on Friday afternoon. We confirmed that we knew where we were going on Saturday morning, went through the expo, attended the "mandatory" meeting, Kevin had a beer, and I picked up my packet. I ran into a few people that I knew and that was nice.

4:45 wake up
I walked Zoe and then had breakfast -- a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, and coffee.
Event warmup:

We left for the race venue, Ride Kanuga, at 5:15. We got there quickly but the parking situation was not good. There was a line of cars to the parking which was on a narrow road through the Camp Kanuga campground. There was one in and that was the same as the out so people were on bikes or walking their bikes into oncoming traffic on a narrow road in the dark. The parking was nearly 1.5 miles from the race start. Even though we arrived at the parking 90 minutes before the start, all of this parking and walking took quite a bit of time and we didn't get up to the ride start quite as early as I would have liked (I walked my bike with Kevin. It would have been faster if I had rode but Kevin was trapped by the traffic and I did not want to ditch my "Uber" driver.)

At any rate, Kevin held my bike while I hit the port-a-pots. I put on my bike shoes and lined up. The Waffle was off at 7:00 (578 riders) and the Wafer at 7:10 (268 riders).
  • 00m
  • 57 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

We rolled out on grass. With the recent rains, the ground was quite soft. At least two people lined up in front of me went down before the start line. I scotched up and clipped in right before the start line.

We had a short gravel section about 4 miles into the ride followed by the 3-ish mile Lake Falls gravel climb at 7 miles. This was followed by a fast, fun Mt Olivet descent (where I achieved nearly 38 mph) all the way to Tuxedo. It was mostly flat with one little bump until just before the Green River Road gravel climb. The first feed zone was just before we got on the gravel part of Green River Road and started the climb. I stopped briefly to pee and then was on my way.

The Green River part of the climb was a long and gentle climb of about 3.5%. The road was in good condition and the field was spread out. We then turned on to the Pinnacle Mountain gravel climb (still going up!) which got progressively more chunky. As I was riding on Pinnacle Mountain Road, I had some doubts that I was on the course. I mean, I knew that I was but there were no riders in front of me and there were not riders behind me. I thought to myself, "Am I doing that well or and I doing that badly?" There were two sections where there were so rutted that it was almost a culvert across the road and I wasn't sure about riding through. I got off and walked a few steps to get over one. Of course, this is where other riders appeared! The other one I kind of dabbed through. It turns out that if I had not unclipped, I could probably have made it but from far it looked like there was not line. Anyway, I got through both safely. By the end there was just rock gardens until finally -- finally! -- I could see Sky Valley Road. All told, the Green River/Pinnacle Mountain climb was over 7 miles.

The second feed zone was most of the way up the climb. I stopped and had half a PB&J (cut in half uncrushable from the table there) and refilled my bottle (added Skratch).

After finally making it to Sky Valley Road, we enjoyed a five mile gravel descent before turning onto DuPont/Staton Road. (Interesting factoid, it's DuPont Road in Henderson County because there was already a Staton Road there. It's Staton Road in Transylvania County because it's named after the person who advocated for the road to the DuPont plant that was located there and is now DuPont State Recreation Forest.). We faced two shorter climbs on the DuPont/Staton pavement -- one 1 mile climb at 5.5% and one two miles at 4.8% before turning onto Cascade Lake Road. But first -- I hit the pavement to gravel transition with too much speed and the bump was larger that I expected. I ejected my phone and food from my bento box (since replaced) and had to stop to retrieve them. The phone still worked but the screen was cracked (since replaced).

Cascade Lake Road is a gem. I've ridden on it before and it's just so pleasant. I think that I've said before, Cascade Lake gets the bad Pinnacle Mountain taste of of my route. The gravel section is just under five miles and then we hit pavement for a little bit. I stopped at the third feed zone and got more water and another half of PB&J along with a pit stop before tackling the last gravel section -- where the race leaders (doing the Waffle route) passed me.

And then there was Jeter Mountain. According to Training Peaks, I had my all time 5 minute power and all time 10 minute power on Jeter Mountain... until I cracked. I saw some other riders were walking and then I saw a place to unclip and that it was steep steep steep. My heart rate was super high (192 which is pretty much my max heart rate) and I cracked and unclipped. I've never had to walk a section during an event before (not counting the previously mentioned ruts because I think of that more as getting over an obstacle). I got back on the bike as soon as the grade was shallow enough I could actually get started again. I don't personally know a single person who cleared Jeter Mountain. I'm sure that a good number of riders did but no one that I know.

The good thing about Jeter is that it was almost at the end! The finish line was about seven miles from the top of Jeter and that was mostly downhill.
Ride time (including feed zones) 4:58:03
Moving time: 4:$2:27

Cervelo Aspero with GRX 810 48/31 crank and 11-speed 11-34 cassette
Panaracer GravelKing SK 700x38
Reserve 32mm DT370 XDR wheel set

Nutrition Plan
3 x 1.5 Skratch (2 bottles on bike plus a bag with more)
5 x servings shot bloks (2 with caffeine) (pack 6)
1 Clif bar or sub on course pb&j
Plam to get a coke on course

Nutrition Actual
3 x shot blok
3 x scratch
1 coke
1 uncrushable pb&j

Start: Broken clouds, 64°F, Feels like 65°F, Humidity 97%, Wind 1mph from W
End: Clear sky, 78°F, Feels like 80°F, Humidity 80%, Wind 2mph from N
Post race
Warm down:

The finish area was nice and they really did turn the Kanuga Conference Center into party-like biergarten. The had lunch for the riders plus food to buy and free (and paid) beer. The announcer did a nice job. I picked up my finisher shirt, special BWR-branded Siera Nevada beer, had some lunch, visited with some riders and generally soaked it all in.

Event comments:

The course control was excellent, the route signage was top notch, the post ride setup was great. The expo has great potential.

That being said, like most inaugural events, there is room for improvement in terms of pre-race communication, parking, and route planning (it was billed as a 77 mile route until just before the event). Also, as a North Carolinian, I'd love to see a "best of North Carolina" course.

That being said, I'd do this one again.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2021-06-11 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 57 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/10
Overall: 0/268
Performance: Good
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2021-09-02 1:19 PM

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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville (Wafer)

2021-09-03 9:06 AM
in reply to: #5277887

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Subject: RE: Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville (Wafer)

Excellent report!  This sounds like a very fun event minus the parking snafu and Jeter Mountain.  Jeter Mountain sounds crazy!  Nice work out there, I'm sure you learned a lot as well about this relatively new endeavor of gravel racing.

2021-09-07 7:08 PM
in reply to: #5277887

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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville (Wafer)

Excellent write-up, as usual. It looks like a great event. Even cooler is that it looks like you had a great time!

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