The Belgian Waffle Ride is a classic adventure that challenges the young, old, strong and stronger in ways many veteran bike riders can’t begin to comprehend. We had a couple clients at the 2015 edition and based on their data, we expect the following output from the day.
7-9 hours of pedaling covering 140 miles,
5200- 6000 kJ of work performed.
+12000 feet of climbing
But there’s much, much more than that. What we found was that rate of fatigue was important at the BWR. In this case, the ~4 hour point marked the end of prolonged high intensity efforts as pacing became much more important and overall output dropped by ~20%. Considering how tough the first part of ride was, it had become apparent that the current level of exertion would not be possible for +3 more hours.
The distribution for BWR is very deceiving indeed. Reports coming back from the ride and debriefing with riders agree that the ride was “insanely difficult.” However, the distribution chart does not show much out of the ordinary. ~2 hours ‘active recovery,’ ~2 hours of ‘tempo/ threshold,’ and around half of that spent at intensities above ‘threshold’ output is not an extreme distribution. So why was it so damned difficult?
It’s so difficult because of the sheer volume of the day. 140 miles is a LONG way! To put it that +5000kJ number in perspective let’s look at it from the perspective of a bike racer. 2500kJ seems to be the breaking point for nearly every amateur racer across the board. Many professional riders are typically good for 3500kJ before they run into trouble. When the BWR hits that number you still have about 1/3 of the route remaining. Ouch!
To make things, more difficult the BWR has +12000 feet of climbing, some of it steep.
Here, you’ll see a cadence distribution chart (green bars) with a section circled where you have some good time at a low cadence. That’s mostly from grinding uphill. To further demonstrate the point, a Quadrant Analysis graph is here too, with the high power, low cadence, high torque area circled. That sort of effort equates to using lots of fast twitch muscle fiber, which fatigue much faster.
BWR Survival Camp was created to give you a chance to pre ride the 2016 BWR route so you know what to expect, and not just how to survive, but how to make the most of this extraordinary day.
Day 1 Recon
We will target the first 2/3 of the course and bump right up to that point where fatigue really starts to take a heavy toll. At this point your ability to remember the nuances of the route and manage danger becomes impaired, so we’ll pump the brakes and head back to base.
Day 2 Recon
What we didn’t do yesterday, we’ll hit today. Today we’ll see the final 1/3 of the BWR route and you’ll be able to see it firsthand, fresh and energized. Don’t let that fool you. There are still challenges aplenty in the final stretches of the BWR route.
We’ll fine tune the camp route as we continue to do weekly r
econ rides which we’ll post on Strava. Stay tuned for more!
To learn more about the BWR Survivor Camp click here.