BWR Scottsdale AZ 2023

The newest edition of the BWR series will kick off March 4-5 next year in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ll try and get some intel on the route.


My dad lives out there and makes me want to sign up for it now!

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Just saw the announcement - very cool but not sure if it fits in my calendar next year (that is still the middle of ski season here…).

We are less than 90 days away from BWR AZ. I’m not looking for route info but general planning info: i.e. Where is the Start? Where is the Expo? Where should I get a hotel? Coming from out of state and would like to bring my RV trailer.

Location here:

The start/finish is in Cave Creek. I’m assuming the expo is near the start/finish but, I don’t know for sure. As far as hotels, as a frequent hotel stayer, I’ll leave that burden up to you. There are literally hundreds of options depending on price, amenities and distance from Cave Creek. As far as RV camping I’d get in touch with the promoters first and see what they recommend. There is Cave Creek RV park to the west of the start finish by about 10 miles (I’m not familiar with it) and then there is McDowell Mountain Preserve RV camping to the east by about 30 miles. I only mention McDowell because the route will utilize Mcdowell Mountain Preserve for at least the 130 mile event. Bring a mountain bike as the trail system is fairly extensive and some rather rocky chunky sections exist.

In addition, I do know the route will find it’s way east and slightly north of Cave Creek up into the Tonto National Forest in the vicinity of Bartlett Lake. If I had an RV that’s where I’d focus to camp. It’s relatively close the Cave Creek and at the edge of Scottsdale human hustle and bustle and true wilderness (quiet/no lights etc…). TBH I’m not sure how much camping is allowed up there but, It’s worth checking into.

Thinking of doing the 70 mile Wafer:

  • 70-miles / 115-Kilometers
  • ~5,000 feet of climbing
  • 7 categorized climbs
  • Steepest grade of 23%
  • 15 off-road sectors / 32-miles worth
  • 6 Feed Zones
  • Water Crossings

This got my attention:

“The roads are spectacular and the variations between gravel and mountain biking have allowed us to create an incredibly dynamic course that will take place in perfect spring weather in Scottsdale.”

Thoughts on gravel bike with 40-ish tires, or mtb?

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If you want to be comfortable and just sort of experience the day go with a mountain bike. If you want to race it go with a gravel bike with 40’s.

The mountain bike with suspension will handle the chunky sections I’m guessing you could encounter the best. But, there is enough road and faster flowing dirt and crushed granite that a gravel bike will just way out perform a mountain bike. The fastest times will be gravel bikes. However, the sorest riders will be on gravel bikes IMO.

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Just a word of caution here. Just because this is a BWR event don’t assume it’s all going to be well organized. I’m not privy to how they internally run things, but based on the way the inaugural (and final?) BWR MI was run, it seems to be more of a franchise type arrangement. I say that because there were multiple ‘official’ websites with conflicting info or missing info. And the race day experience was not so great.

See :point_down:

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Registered for the Wafer and rented a Checkpoint SL5 :+1:


This is the beauty and challenge of all BWR events: you will always be under-biked at some point regardless of the bike you choose. This is one of the sole intentions of the organizers. It is meant to be HARD in every possible way, and they emphasize it in a RIDICULOUS climb near the end of the course. Guaranteed!

I’ve been doing BWRs since 2017. After the first one in SD, I said WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?? And wrote an email to Michael M asking him why he chose the course was “stupid” and hard just for the sake of hard?? I never got an answer but I got a genuine letter of appreciation from Michael that he appreciated me coming out to accept and complete the challenge. From that point forward, I was HOOKED and IN LOVE with BWR!!!

They love HARD and they love a CHALLENGE, but they really LOVE bike racing. Nothing is perfect, especially in the inaugural edition, but I know how much the RIDER is the primary concern for BWR. As HARD as they make the course, first and foremost in their mind is concern for the RIDER EXPERIENCE on that hard and challenging course.

I dont know what happened at BWR MI and why it wasn’t renewed, but I do know that the BWR Team cares deeply about their brand and it’s high priority on the rider experience. They listen and learn from every event and I’m confident that there will be bumps and changes at BWR AZ, but also that Michael and his team will do all that they can put the RIDERS first. I cant wait for AZ and I hope to see you all there!!

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The issue wasn’t the terrain. As long as the course type is accurately described, nobody should complain (even though there’s always some whiners).

The issue was poor course marking, incorrect course files, and inadequate communication. Which resulted in a lot of people getting lost in a spiderweb of trails, riding extra miles or DNFing just due to that.

I don’t know who to blame for that, but it was a BWR event so it affects their reputation.

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I’m traveling from Utah to do the Waffle. It’s way to early in the season to have any serious goals so I’m just planning on spending a week in Scottsdale and getting some quality spring training in. I’ll be solo but I’d be interested if anyone wanted to put together any group rides.


@Logan would love to but as it stands right now I’m flying in Thursday and not riding until BWR on Sunday morning.

@KorbenDallas got an email Monday. I have zero experience riding single-track. A few parts caught my attention:

The course in and around Cave Creek will boast a fantastic concoction of terrible terrain, including pitchy undulations in Carefree, Tonto forest mountains & washes, Rio Verde, sinuous single-track in McDowell Mountain Regional Park & its Sonoran Preserve , and smooth roads connecting gravel sectors completely unique to this desert playground. The dynamic nature of the course, which at roughly 123-miles is slightly less than the usual BWR, will surely devastate even the most well-trained professional gravelleurs by its finale – a series of steep, paved climbs with pitches of 20%. How do you say, “ouchie,” in Flemish. Oh yeah, it’s AUW! Kind of like, WTF!

That is written about the 122 mile Waffle, but I’ve gotta believe the 79 mile Wafer is similar.

And then this:

Half the course is Unroad and the road stuff is smooth and very nice, which are not things we can say about the Unroad stuff… gravel, sand, rocks, DG or dirt, and the single-tracks, oh, the single-tracks. This is not to discount the other challenges of the course, of which there are many, including the need for tires at least 40mm in width. Please don’t say we didn’t warn you. THIS IS YOUR WARNING: When it doubt, add more rubber, more gears, more training, more grit, more waffles, more beer.

I’m with them on the training, grit, waffles, and beer… but I’m a roadie and renting a bike.

Course info from the email:


• 122-Miles/196-Kilometers
• ~9,000 Feet of Climbing
• 8 Unroad sectors (the rest is really nice road)
• 50% Unroad (Long, Sandy, Single-Track, Gravel, Double-Track, Rocky)
• Numerous Washes, Water Crossings, Rocky Sectors
• 3 Queen/King of the Mountain segments
• 3 Queen/King of the Dirt segments
• 3 Queen/King of the Sprint segments
• 6 Feed Zones

I’m signed up to do the Wafer:

• 79-Miles/127-Kilometers
• ~5,600 Feet of Climbing
• Several Unroad sectors (the rest is really nice road)
• 40% Unroad (Long, Sandy, Single-Track, Gravel, Double-Track, Rocky)
• Numerous Washes, Water Crossings, Rocky Sectors
• 4 Feed Zones

and after reading the email the junior woodchuck course is sounding better as a fun bday ride:

• 37-Miles/60-Kilometers
• ~3,700 Feet of Climbing
• 1 long Unroad sector (the rest is really nice road)
• 25% Unroad (Long, Sandy, Single-Track, Gravel, Double-Track, Rocky)
• Numerous Washes, Water Crossings, Rocky Sectors
• 2 Feed Zones

Renting a Trek Checkpoint with 40c tires, no single-track or sand experience. Going to be honest, I’ve come around and WANNA do the junior woodchuck course cause I’m WAFERing about sand and single-track. Originally signed up thinking it would be more like BWR in San Diego, but with real cactus. That 40c tire warning is making me nervous, not riding my own bike, not having tubeless, and, well, going to be honest, the scorpions are kinda creepy too.

Somebody, anyone, tell me its going to be ok, or tell me I’m crazy.

Tire recommendations? Should I overbike and rent a XC bike?


Honestly, it will be fine. I’m pretty old school though and rode mountain bikes in the days pre front shocks. We rode them everywhere. Just slower. Now with gravel it feels a bit the same. You can ride them anywhere a mountain bike can go just slower.

With that said, I do not know the route for BWR AZ. The “washes” could be either rocky or really sandy. We’ve had a lot of rain this winter so, expect both. But, it’s not worth worrying about especially if you are just riding the event. You will be fine. That’s not to say it won’t be difficult but, it’s just riding a bike. Literally, there is nothing to worry about.

Enjoy the day. Let go of the “Lifetimeification” of gravel scene and soak up the fact that there will be really interesting and cool people all around; hopefully good support; great weather and a hell of a big Kj day! You will be a better rider after you finish for sure.


Thanks and I get it and will try and chill out. During registration they asked cat level and I answered Cat5, that should mean its a mullet start and I’ll be with the party in the back :smile: and nobody hassling me if I get off and walk the sketchy stuff.

Old school too, bought my first ‘mountain’ bike in 1988 but was starting my career in Silicon Valley and working 60-80 hours/week so didn’t do much riding with it or the '91 StumperJumper after the first one got stolen from my garage. I’m only in BWR for the adventure and meeting people.


If you find a scorpion, I’ll be impressed. But one of my neighbors found her first rattlesnake of the season last week…

If you get cold feet, come down to Tucson and do TBC instead!

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I’ve registered and going to roll with the BWR. We are going to Tucson on Thursday/Friday to see friends and watch their daughter play in a college softball tournament.

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Hey @WindWarrior Frank and some others from Fascat are pre riding some sections of the course IIRC. Can you hook up with them or is that part of his Tucson training camp thing? Listening to the latest podcast I swear Ben said anyone can join but, now to sure…get you coach to get you in there.

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Yeah I’m not sure who is going to BWR. The Tucson camp is next week I think. I’ll ask when my coach replies to last night’s “oh crap did I bite off more than I can chew?” panic email.

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