On Sunday, April 15, San Diego-based eyewear brand SPY held its inaugural Belgian Waffle Ride. The event brought 160 of the nation’s best cyclists and bike industry luminaries together for a grueling, hilly, 124-mile ride with 9,000 feet of vertical climbing through scenic North County San Diego.
Riders began with an authentic Belgian waffle breakfast before embarking at 8:30 a.m. from SPY headquarters in Carlsbad. The route took riders through a 20-mile “neutral” processional—which hit speeds approaching 30 mph—through Carlsbad and Oceanside, followed by 100 miles of high-performance terrain that challenged even the toughest riders as they climbed, sprinted, hopped and clattered over the sinuous roads and off-road trails that carve through San Diego’s backcountry. For most of the participants, the most challenging part of the route was a five-mile climb to the top of Double Peak—the second highest peak in the San Marcos Cerro de las Posas Mountains—at the end of the race, via a climb up the dirt road of Questhaven and then San Elijo.
Nationally-ranked cyclists, including SPY cycling team members such as U.S. National Champions Ryan Trebon, John Walsh and Nicole Duke, participated in the ride. SPY donated all entry fees, upwards of $5,000, to the UCSD EyeMobile for Children at the Shiley Eye Center, a mobile eye exam and care resource for underprivileged youth in San Diego County.
Inspired by SPY CEO Michael Marckx’s Belgian roots and the early-season road race traditions of Europe, the course replicated the cycling experiences of rural Ghent, Wevelgem, Flanders, Liege and Bastogne, but added much more climbing than any Spring Classic in Belgium. The event concluded in true Flemish fashion with an irreverent awards ceremony, featuring specially-crafted Belgian ale from The Lost Abbey Brewery, mussels, frites and more waffles. SPY presented custom-made Squadra jerseys and SPY Performance glasses to the best of the best, and the worst:
- Waffle Winners (overall general category winners): Brent Prenzlow, David Jaeger, Steve Klasna
- Sprinter Studmo (best sprinter): Phil Tintsman
- King of the Waffle winners (best overall climbers): Ryan Trebon, Neil Shirley, Lars Finanger
- Belgian Hardman winners (strongest contributors): Phil Tintsman, Brian Zink, Michael Marckx
- Wawful Freddy winners (most selfish, uncooperative, inconsiderate riders—destined for ignominy): Greg Stern, Andrew Lee, Todd Parks
Photo courtesy SPY Optic