BWR: CA 2024 - equipment and training

It is getting close to race season, and my first race, and also my A race, is Belgian Waffle Ride San Diego. Who else is in? What equipment/tires are you running? What does your training look like?

I’ll be back on my 2019 CruX with 40mm TerraSpeeds (35mm brought along for backup in case of rain and mud), running 44T up front and 11-42T in back. Im hoping to stay upright and improve on last years sub-8hrs and around 150th overal.

I’m averaging 10-11+ hours, with one 3-4hr fat bike endurance ride on the weekend and remainder on TR. Already completed base 1 and 2, and onto a somewhat modified build focusing on VO2 (weekdays) and O/Us (weekend). No real science behind my plan, just trying to fix some gaps I felt I had last year. And definitely plan on showing up more than 30 mins before the start! That cost a few minutes in the first couple hours. Fingers crossed it doesn’t hit 100F like in ‘22, heat is a killer for me!

Who else is going? What kind of training are you doing? What’s the tire, equipment and gearing choice?

Sub 8?

You should be the one giving us advice. That’s blazing fast. I got nothing for ya.

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Looking forward to hearing tire advice here from those that have done it before because a few friends and I are going this year and it will be the first time for all of us. We’re doing the Wafer.

I usually run 40’s on my gravel bike and that seems to be the perfect size here in MN for fast gravel riding and still being able to cruise on pavement. I’ve considered everything from 35’s to 40’s for BWR. I have a Canyon Grail, gen 1 and that will be the bike unless I buy something else before then. The bike came with a 40t chainring and is 10-44 in the back. Largest it can fit is a 42t according to Canyon so I just changed to that. I’m considering buying a Checkpoint frameset and putting all my parts on that bike for future use and so I can run a normal handlebar and aerobars for certain days. The CP can run a larger chainring as well.

As for training, I’m completely indoor in the winter months on TR. I do the high volume plans and often extend the endurance rides for a little extra volume without making it harder. This week, I’ll get in 12.5 hours. BWR is kinda perfect for me because my winters of structured training cause me to come out blazing every Spring and then my random riding all summer outside slowly chips away at that fitness. End of April should be great.

So conflicted on tires! Sounds like you’re happy with the TerraSpeeds? My concern was the aero penalty created by the knobbies for the extensive paved sectors, usually pushing into a headwind. I ran specialized roubaix slicks in 22 but I’ve heard the course is a bit more challenging now. Running a stigmata with 2X GRX.

This is my only A race for this year that I have planned.
I’ll be running my '23 Crux Expert, most likely with stock running gear of 40f -10-46r 12s Rival. Currently I’ve been running the stock 37mm Pathfinders which are great on pavement and most of the trails here in SD. Last year I ran 40mm Nano and those were awesome on the dirt and a little slow on pavement. Last October I ran 42mm Pathfinder Pros on the Filthy 50 MTB/Drop Bar course which basically covers all of the dirt sectors that BWR covers plus. The conditions were dry, and portions of the trail were soft/sandy on top of hard in which the Pathfinder Pro’s did not shine but were pretty predictable. I don’t quite remember what pressure I ran but I never went down. As the even approaches I’ll test both tires on portions of the actual course - one thing is for sure is that I’ll run Pathfinders and not the more aggressive Nano’s or anything knobby like that.

Training wise I’m wrapping up Base 2 which has me progressing in sweet spot and now getting into threshold. I’m working with a Fascat coach this year and it’s been a very solid progression. I have a series of C and B races leading up to April. Time wise I’m at anywhere from 11-14.5 hours and it’s balanced between inside and outside. I usually have two intensity session during the week, a big Sunday Sweet Spot Session which has 1 or 2 recovery rides mixed in as well as 2 endurance rides throughout the week.

For those in the area and are familiar with the events I have Gravel and Whine 60-70 miles next weekend in Temecula, then Strada Rosa Redlands 60- or 90-miles 2nd weekend in February, South Bay Brewbaix free event in 2 weeks BWR in April - my final prep event.

I’ll be fine tuning fueling, equipment, fitness and pacing during those events while also gauging my progress and competing leading up to the big event.

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Thanks for the kind words :slight_smile: I know of at least two here that went faster last year, lots to learn from everyone!

I’ve done it twice on wildly different tires/bikes. 2022 was on a road bike with 33mm Challenge Stradas. Definitely under-tired for me. A few loose sections where I lost concentration meant I went down, once pretty badly, which shook my descending confidence. The fresh gravel and washboard on black mountain and leading up to Piuma climb was soul sucking on such narrow tires.

Last year went with 40mm Terraspeeds and was very happy with the choice. Toying with the idea of 35s, but I don’t think it’ll make a sizeable difference except on rougher terrain. I had no problem keeping up with anyone on the road. While they’re a little slower rolling than Stradas, and I’m sure there’s an aero penalty, they have me enough confidence off-road that more than made up for it. If the race was in October, it’d be different storey as I’d have a lot more off road experience. Being in April means I will have no chance to ride gravel before the race, so handling is rusty.

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I found last years course easier than ‘22 because they couldn’t do the black mountain descent. That’s back this year, so it’ll probably look much the same. I didn’t worry about any aero penalty, though I’m sure it’s there. I find it won’t matter until you’re on the flat to Ramona, you’ll likely be indecent size group up then.

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Are you progressing into specialty? TR has me starting in 5 weeks, but I am second guessing it based on how early in the season it is. I think I’ll do another build block instead focusing on threshold/VO2 instead and hope for the best. Less likely to burn out before June …

I’m not able to see my plan the way it’s presented in TR, but in general I’ve gone from pure endurance rides with things like muscle tension intervals, high cadence z2 work and also some testing for my 1 minute, 5 minute and most recently 20 minute power. Then some tempo and SS, now SS and Threshold, and I’m sure progressing toward more Threshold and VO2 max has to be right around the corner. I’m not sure what the “specialty phase” will look like but I’m guessing it’ll be balanced between plenty of endurance rides, recovery rides and VO2 and perhaps longer threshold efforts to increase TTE.
In other words I don’t know exactly, but I plan to be my fittest in recent memory. :slight_smile: My coach basically said we’ll be putting all of the pieces together before the event.

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Trust the process, I love it!

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South-Bay Brewbaix was genuinely one of the hardest rides I did last year!
It’s on the same day as the last LA Tourist Race this year so I’ll probably make a game time decision during the week to see which I’m going to do

That should be good for gearing, especially in the Wafer - 1:1 or better is great!

Exactly like me - train hard in winter, lose mind by spring-time, spend time riding and abandon training. I’ve learned that I love riding far more than training, so why not!

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Which course did you do last year? I did the full pint and will repeat the same course this year. I dubbed that ride “The Leg Buster” because that is exactly what is was for me. I also thought it was harder than BWR and it certainly took so much out of me, although to be fair - the massive temperature swings were pretty crazy - starting coast side then the heat reaching over 80 degrees after 3 hours in…brutal ride.

I intended to do the Growler but switched to the Full Pint after my friends vetoed that post-Otay. I’ll probably stick with the Full Pint again if I do it this year. The single track section after Jamul took it out of me, just one creek crossing after another

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Cool - that reminds me to buy some waterproof socks - not a fan of creek crossings except when others do it. I’ll be passing on all L.A. Tourist races as I’m not willing to get away for those events at the moment with my fatherly duties, although they look very cool.