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This Sunday, April 15, North County-based Spy Optic is hosting a grueling 124+ mile bicycle ride that will see 150 participants climbing over 9000 feet on a partially off-road 7-hour circuit.

Starting at Spy’s Carlsbad headquarters, the Belgium Waffle Ride will head north to Oceanside, up to Rainbow, through Valley Center, around Escondido, and back to the starting point via Leucadia.

“This one-day event will require superhuman efforts from some just to even hold the wheel of the lead group, and many will either need to resign themselves to marking their palmares as ‘finisher,’ whereas others will consider it a victory of the highest caliber to reach the finish without being reduced to whimpering, tears, or the ignominy of being cracked and spit out the back by the undulations, attacks, dirt, and climbs to proudly finish within an hour of the leaders,” a press release reads as it extolls at length the severity of the ride.

“Belgium has been for nearly a century the epicenter of international professional cycling in the early spring race season, and the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride is an homage to the storied history and folklore of bike racing in that region, a tribute to the incredibly arduous competitions staged there, and a celebration of our cycling heritage as a brand,” says Michael Marckx, SPY president, CEO, and USA Cycling/UCI Category 1 bike racer.

“With the similar terrain to Belgium that North County offers, we’ve done our best to emulate the race experiences of rural Ghent, Wevelgem, Flanders, Liege and Bastogne, with wearisome rolling hills, steep climbs, gravel and dirt roads, and a distance that few racers will ever contend with in the United States. We’ve also baked-in a fun Belgian breakfast and dinner, a whole lot of twists in the way of awards, and there’s a great charity that we’re excited to support through donations this year and moving forward.”

Funds donated by registered Belgian Waffle Ride competitors will support the UCSD EyeMobile for Children at the Shiley Eye Center, which provides eye exams and care to youth throughout San Diego.

In order to deter “Freddy Freeloaders,” who are wont to spend entire races drafting off of other riders, the Belgian Waffle Ride will have a number of secret Purple Peloton Police distributing Purple Cards, which feature the smirking mug of renowned Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx and read “Eddy don’t want no Freddys. You’ve been served. Go to the front.”


In addition to being forced to break the wind for the rest of the pack, Purple Cards enter riders into the running for the Wawful Freddy jersey, a purple shroud of shame to be awarded at the race’s end, when participants will celebrate with Moules Frites, bread, cheese, and kegs of Belgian Ale from the Lost Abbey.

“We will drink deeply, and laugh more deeply still, and it will be the laugh of men, of friends, and of comrades in common cause,” the press release ensures.

The post-ride awards ceremony will honor participants with custom-made Squadra jerseys designed by Joe Yule of StageOne.

Designations will go to the overall General Classification winner (Waffle Winner, Yellow Jersey), most aggressive (Belgian Hardman, Blue Jersey), the best overall climber (King of the Waffle, Red/White Waffle Dot Jersey), and the best sprinter (Sprinter Studmo, Green Jersey).

Belgian Waffle Ride Schedule:

7:30 a.m. — Belgian Waffle Feast at Spy HQ (2070 Las Palmas Drive, Carlsbad)

8:15 a.m. — Course and Ride download

8:30 a.m. — Roll out

2:30 p.m. — Belgian Ale kegs are tapped and feast begins

3:30 p.m. — last rites for a few overly confident fools

4:30 p.m. — Sag wagon brings in the detritus

5:00 p.m. —Awards

To enter, RSVP with a shirt size to Victor Sheldon at [email protected]

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