Monday, May 4, 2015

SPY Belgian Waffle Ride 2015

An update from the dirt&gravel-loving Panda:

Here's a nice throwback to my first attempt at the BWR in 2013:

A photo posted by Amanda Nauman (@amanda_panda_) on

Fast Forward to this year:


The tweets.

The Strava:

I’m sitting in the common area of a University of Arizona owned student housing building in Downtown Tucson. My brother graduated in May 2014 and finished up a handful of credits during the Fall semester. Now he’s home working for my parents and his apartment lease is still in effect. He goes back frequently to visit his girlfriend and stays there.
I signed up for the Chino Grinder held in Chino Valley, Arizona, and figured I’d make the trip out to Tucson for a free room at my brother’s place with the permission of his bff/roommate still there. So here I am! AZ is pretty great so far.

While I’m here, I figured I’d recap the epicness that was the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride.

Women’s Wave:
This was the first year that SPY had a whole wave designated specifically for the women. From the outside looking in, this was such a great gesture for the women signed up! From the inside looking out, this forced us to suffer a bit more than we should have in the beginning. You’re only going to be as fast as the fastest group in your wave taking pulls, so the pace of the first 30 miles of our wave was pushed by Jill Cederholm, Rhonda Quick, and myself. Had there been some strong males in our wave as well, we wouldn’t have had to do so much work in the beginning. Perhaps next year Wave 3 starts 5 minutes behind us instead of 10 so they catch us sooner and let me draft earlier on : )

More Asphalt than Dirt:
I came out in the lead after dirt section #1 and I came out in the lead after dirt section #2! Shortly after Ysabel Creek, the Wave 3 men started to catch us. “Finally,” I thought to myself. However, at this point we came upon Old San Pasqual Grade where I fell off the back of the group that Rhonda Quick was able to climb to the top with and there went the lead with a full Century still left to ride.
Luckily I found a few guys to ride with after Cougar Pass Climb (KOM #2 segment) and came into the halfway point back at Lost Abbey with a decent number of guys to regroup with. Lap #2 was underway and suddenly I found myself in a group of about 20 guys hauling ass through Del Diablo Hwy. I went for it on Sprint #2 segment not knowing that the women weren’t getting a separate Sprint category and that was a full 3 minute effort at 274 watts. Ouch. That burnt a match, so when we turned around and went through Lemon Twistenberg I faded slightly and then took it easy on the road til Lake Hodges were I went as fast as I could and had a blast through the sandy, rocky, dirt. From there it was only Saint Lusardi to look forward to, the dirty Questhaven climb, and the Double Peak dirt descent.

Next year: 28c skinnier tires for sure
Just for comparison’s sake: On BWR KOM#1 which was the only one I really went for I pushed 297W average for 5:28min. The other women that beat me up it went significantly lower and obviously there are a lot more variables there (body weight, equipment weight, etc) but I’d like to think a big part of that was the 35c tires with ~40psi on my ‘cross bike. Even during the beginning of the ride one of the women said, “You are definitely working harder than all of us with those tires.” Hah! But you know what? If SPY had done QOD (Queen of the Dirt) this year I would’ve totally won that because I crushed the dirt segments and loved every second of ‘em.

Mental Power & Emotion:
Shoutout to Devin Riley (Marketing Manager of BMC) and the other guy we were with for pulling me through some mental blocks in between Bernardo to DP and getting rad during the Saint Lusardi awesomeness. In all seriousness this is the part of Gravel Grinders I love the most: making friends while suffering along a crazy adventure. The guys I met along the way and who let me sit on their wheels are true gentlemen and great athletes.

Important to note: I almost cried at the top of Double Peak. What a feeling to know it was downhill back to Lost Abbey.  That sort of raw emotion and joy is what we all live for when we sign up for these crazy events.
There was also more emotion when I saw my mom at the finish of 140 miles. So happy she came to cheer me through the finish!

I'm the only one without a child in this photo. Proof that ridiculous Mom-Strength does exist! 

Kudos to Rhonda Quick for dominating at the young age of 50. I was so impressed by her strength!

Did quite a bit of route analysis the week before the event.. thus I made my own personal top tube route cheat-sheet. Due to the morning-of course reroute around Lusardi Pt1, all checkpoints were off by 1-2 miles but easy to figure out.

Finally, big huge thank-you to SPY. What an amazing company filled with truly incredible folks behind Michael Marckx. I am proud to ride under the SPY banner and with the best-looking shades around. The "other" brands don't even come close to this sort of uniqueness. 

Panda out

1 comment:

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