Hey everyone. We’re 6 weeks out from BWR:NC so I wanted to go ahead and drop a thread for the 2023 edition. Last year’s thread is actually quite helpful as people posted both before and after the ride with their specific questions, suggestions, and pro tips.
Would love to hear which training plans people are doing to prepare, and if there are any specific workouts that people feel are helpful to do (Disaster, anyone?).
Drop a note if you’re planning on doing BWR:NC this year, or if you have any tips from last year.
I’m doing it for the second time this year. Work has been busy, so I used Plan Builder to build a low-volume plan for this race, a marathon MTB race at the end of July, and another at the start of September. I’ve been adding a group ride and at least one one off-road day per week to the plan, and my volume is actually up from last year, even though I’m on a low-volume plan.
I’m looking for tire pressure advice if anyone can help. I’m running Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H. I used the same tire last year at 36lb rear and 34 front. That felt too hard, but I’m afraid going lower would cost too much on the pavement.
Any thoughts? Thanks!!
So not doing it this year, but interested in how they changed the route. I think this year is better than last year. Hitting pinnacle in the beginning and the end, but opposite directions is an improvement. Still has the stupid falling creek camp section……if there was fun there, id be okay with it, but mowed grass “singletrack” is just silly. Hitting the reed ranch singletrack going up is rad, but at mile 7 is going to be hella bottleneck, they really should’ve put in some sort of hill before that. Overall they are finally starting to get it figured out and maybe ill give it a go again next year.
I’m not doing it this year either.
I didn’t mind the grassy switchbacks and passed like 10 people through it. I really didn’t like the 30% climb going into falling creek. I think maybe 10 people actually rode that section (some pros couldn’t even ride it) 30% grade was and is crazy.
I enjoyed both years in Asheville and I am kind of bummed I’m not going this year. The entire event feels very organized and respectful of everyone’s experience level besides some sections
I might be there next year depending on life.
For anyone who considers this race in future years; this was the feedback I sent to the organizers.
For context I flew down from Vancouver and ended up snapping a derailleur cable and ended up after some jerry rigging going single speed but missing the first time cut so ended up completing 150/210k.
- Communication - As per prior emails in this chain not having a clear schedule of when information was going to be released made me assume I had missed something. .
Posting the release dates of information a month (or more) prior would address this
Separating the schedule information from the course information would allow earlier release
Race BIJBEL - In the sections detail include an image of the map to orient. The image of the rider is not helpful especially when the strava segments are hit or miss
Balance sponsor emails / obligations with athlete information; I found the volume of explicitly marketing emails (14) uncomfortable for a race I was paying a significant cost for
- Registration / Check-in - This was reasonably smooth, the first volunteer couldn’t find me so the supervisor had to do so
- Put together a google map or just links of the parking locations; the overview map was not clear how to get to many of the locations.
- Communicate when the beer ticket is used; also that ID will be required
- Loved the seat bag and the Musette
- The car air freshener I felt was a joke; both it and the associate sticker just ended up as trash. If a sponsor isn’t aligned with an event production from that sponsor will be negatively perceived.
- Race Briefing
- Include information on what happens at the time cut. At mile 39 I followed signs to turn right which cut the course shorter; however neither me or the other athlete I was riding with knew it had occurred.
- Overall I loved the course; I ride MTB and the single track was generally a lot of fun, albeit more challenging on a gravel bike single speed
- The F2C nutrition was fantastic; zero issues and felt fuelled all day will be picking their stuff up locally. Good spacing of aid on course.
- Why did all the feedzones not include waffles?
- REED ranch single track to start was basically walking up a hill for most folks; as there is no safe way to pass this was challenging and added a massive chunk of time and frustration to most athletes
- Mechanical support - when I got to the 2nd aid station with my kludge fix I was told support had gone up the field; I ended up finding them at the last aid station after racing single speed thru the day. Not clear how I was supposed to have used them; the volunteers didn’t know either. Recommend informing volunteers on mechanical aid access.
- Course marking was good; used a garmin head unit with the course loaded that was helpful in some grey areas as recommended
- Time cut was done without any notification; me and another athlete guessed based on garmin beeping and looking at our phones - adding a time cut sign; or adjusting based on the extra time for the first section would have been preferable. The person I was with completed the Waffle the year prior and looking at the overall times it seems like the new course added an hour.
- Coming through the finish chute after 9h of racing with zero commentary by the race announcer or any kind of volunteer was deflating; while I have my own feelings about my performance / DNF I might as well have just riden back to my car.
Post race - This was an absolute joke
- Went to get a beer and was asked for ID (I am 35) and did not have it so no beer. (I was not interested in getting back on my bike and going back up the course to my car unless I was leaving the venue) Communicate the need for ID, or better yet have wrist bands or similar at registration so this is not necessary
- The burgers were being sold?!? I’ve been to races that cost half as much that included a burger, fries and a beer with admission. Provide a burger or something to complement the waffle at the end of the race.
- The waffles felt like an afterthought dried out in; with half melted ice cream at an unstaffed table. I love waffles…this brought a tear to my eye as I ended up tossing the last quarter I could not stomach
After race - Follow up emails were good
Overall I was left with the impression that this race catered towards the top 15-30 athletes and the rest of the race was designed to cut costs to increase profit at the expense of the athletes’ experience. This race has the potential for greatness with spectacular scenery and a challenging mix of terrains to unroad on.
Good review. I was there as well, and I concur with your feedback. Reeb Ranch was a disappointment - a singletrack pinch point that early on in a gravel (yeah yeah, UNROAD, I know) race was a bit silly. None of that section was unrideable, but a ton of people probably shouldn’t have been on singletrack on their gravel bikes. I saw a few people crash while walking, lol, and it wasn’t close to being muddy. I’ll be down again for Dirt Diggler in September, which I believe rides DOWN that section (as BWR did in 2022), and I’d like to ride up it just for the fun, as I’ve already been forced to walk up most of it behind a mile of people, lol).
Parking was a mess. At the rider briefing, I asked a volunteer if it would be marked and was told not to worry about it; there’d be a ton of volunteers to make it painless. Instead, it took about 20 minutes in a huge line of cars to get the final spot in one of the grass lots (and this was a little after 6 AM).
I didn’t get a waffle or even see them anywhere. I did get hassled about the beer ticket with no ID (I’m 50…) but managed to convince them that I’d almost hit puberty. I think that must have been a host policy and not BWR - the guy at the stand was pretty apologetic about having to “just do his job.” A burger would have hit the spot, but I’d already spent WAY too much.
These “events” are just that - events. They are getting way too expensive, and they are starting to cheap out in the name of profits, IMO. Not sure if I’ll be back next year - it is doubtful. I can spend way less money to ride better run events (Check out the Southeast Gravel series if you like riding in that area - it ROCKS). I hate to be negative - overall, it was a VERY FUN day, it just could have been run a little smoother.
I didn’t do BWR Asheville this year, but I did the past two years. I did like how they were organized but it seems they didn’t do well this year. I actually thought the past 2 years were ran very well.
I didn’t really have complaints about the Course except the vallende Creek ridiculous 25-30% grade climb.
My other complaint both years was the super small portion post race meal they gave out. After paying 200+ dollars for an entry fee. I expected a portion four times the size of the one they gave me. It was like half a cup of pulled pork a small thing of cornbread and a cup of cooked rice and beans. Sad, I wonder how they factor food cost in or maybe they need a bigger restaurant to help out.
I don’t know how long people are going to want to go to big events like these where they either ruin your bike or run out of water or give you a kids size “recovery meal. The business model won’t last long if they keep doing it but then again I’m only 1 person.
I did BWR Ashville last year, all I have to say is that last year I stayed onsite in a cabin and they made waffles fresh and early that morning so I indulged before the race… They probably were the best waffles I have ever had in my life, I do have a sweet-tooth and those bad boys had little chunks of sugar in them.
Thats all I have to report!