BWR California WAFER Rider Traffic

For someone who is on the spirited end of wafer - could you let us know how wafer riders filter in with the waffle riders? How much later do you start compared to waffle? It appears the first 46 miles is the exact same route. Do you get jammed up at the first gate and the unroad sectors as you pass the slower waffle riders? Are you constantly asking for passes? Just thinking through these two events.


The biggest determinant of how much traffic you encounter will begin before the ride starts, in the starting corral. From there, you have a few miles to get to, or stay near the front. The first climb will shed some of the slower riders who happen to be up front. Last year I started near the back and it took a good 7 plus minutes to get past the start line and I could never see the front of the race and I passed hundreds of people leading up to the climb.

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Last year I started further back than I wanted to, maybe a couple hundred people in front? It was busy but not jammed - passed a bunch leading up to and through the climb. Clearing the gates took maybe 10-15 seconds, but the first dirt section and the dirt climb before Sandy was slower. Probably lost 5+ minutes on the two sections.

If you’re starting further back, bring a picnic for the choke points, you’ll be held up.

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My OP should have been clearer. I’m interested in the race dynamics of inter-traffic between waffle and wafer divisions versus the intra-traffic amongst wafer participants. Or another way to frame it - between the wafer racers vs. the waffle conpleters as it seems the first 46 miles of the race is shared course.

The front of the waffle isn’t asking for any passes vs. the front of the wafer is something different? Is a big effort early on going to be rewarded with a conga line?

It’s all one single race for the first 45 miles, you can’t tell whether you’re passing a waffle or a wafer from behind as plates are up front. Last year they claimed wafer started later, but it was same time start. The closer to front, the more aggressive the passes on dirt are, but I’ve never had anyone actually ask me for a pass :man_shrugging: pay attention though on the single track and if you notice someone faster just slide over slightly to let them by. Vast majority of my passing is in the aid stations anyway, so I don’t sweat it. You’ll see people blasting by only to stop for 5 mins to fill bottles.

Big efforts early are rewarded with a clearer line and possibly tired/blown up legs :rofl: it’s easy to get carried away but you’re in it for a shorter day at least.

Not knowing this years course, I can offer my experience from last two years. Show up and line up early to the start, think 45-60m early. The first climb is 8-12m, depending on whether it goes to top of San Elijo or if they turn onto dirt early. If they turn onto dirt, you’ll want to put in some effort so you’re top 200ish, or you’ll lose time. If they stay on road until Questhaven, don’t sweat it until the first dirt sector after Harmony (Lemontwist/dam). Try to be at front of the group entering that dirt sector to minimize time loss. Once you get past the 2nd aid station, it thins and stretches out, and road widens. After that, the only real choke point is Raptor Ridge climb, everything else is smooth. I’ve managed to hide in the group on the road except on the Harmony sector, where it may pay off to try to catch a group ahead and get a draft.

It all depends on your power and where you think you’ll place. You can definitely bleed time on the few early choke points, but if you aren’t racing for top 50-75 in the wafer, it’s a bit of a wasted effort.

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Ahhhh, I was under the assumption wafer was a separate wave start 30-60 minutes later. So wafer and waffle riders were literally intermixed and not corralled separately? That actually makes more sense to get similar speeds together given the identical course start. Thank you so much for the elaboration. Seems like the courses don’t change too much year to year so very valuable.

I did the wafer at Arizona last week, not California so take my words as you may. I swear some wafer riders went with the waffle riders. At the end of the race I could’ve sworn I was top 30-40 and was truly shocked when I placed 58 overall.
Anyways, that course in Arizona started with 7 miles uphill on road. Then dipped into a downhill sector of singletrack and moto trails.
I put a big effort to stay with the 2nd big group behind the front group. I passed about 40 riders on the single track and was held up a lot a times in the first hour. It is kinda what it is with these events. You have so many different types of riders at these events like roadies with great fitness on the road but no handling skills. You can either show up real early at the start to be far up in position to begin with or be ready to be held back at some point.
End of the day it’s supposed to be fun and you have to make some sketchy moves if you want to get ahead. I probably pissed some people off on the singletrack that day. We were going to slow and I wanted to get ahead.
I ended 58 overall and 8th in my age group, fun day. Next year I might try to start with the waffle riders if possible.

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Correct - same start last year. Two years ago it was on a different day, I suspect that’s too much to organize. Same day this year again, not sure on start time though, details to be released yet.

Plenty wafer riders went in with waffle at California. There was actually no separate corral that I saw, official guide just said they start a few minutes later. It’s such chaos that it really is hard to police without a dedicated corral.

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Yea I figured because looking at some of the times, I don’t know how they had a time like that with all the traffic. If I didn’t get stuck behind people, I would’ve easily saved 10 minutes or so. Then at one point I helped pull a piece of cactus out of some of guys rear end. :joy:

@sasa nailed it. Get there early, hammer early and then settle in where you fit in.

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