Everyone loves Belgian Waffles, but this one will take a lot more effort to get through than most.
The Belgian Waffle Ride is a huge North American off-road biking event that is hitting the Island soon. And it’s far from a cakewalk.
Up to a thousand cyclists will be hitting the road in Cowichan on mass at the end of May.
They’ll kick off with the first of seven events that make up the entire event on the gruelling roads, gravel, and single paths that surround the valley.
Jon Watkins of Panache Cycles in Victoria says Cowichan’s trails create a fantastic regional outdoor cycling network. The topography and infrastructure of cycling trails, such as Maple Mountain and the Cowichan Valley Regional Trail, are a big draw.
The local infrastructure is perfect, and the event will likely help improve the infrastructure around the region further.
Watkins expects the Belgian Waffle Ride to generate “millions of dollars in economic impact to the local region.”
If it becomes an annual event, which he says is the goal, it will boost the area’s revenue yearly.
Plus, once you come to the Island, you’ve got to come back.
The event will introduce new visitors, who will likely return in their own time.
So far, six-hundred cyclists from around the world have signed up, and registration will likely reach about 1,000.
The ride also offers distances that cater to different ability levels, so no matter if you get out occasionally or are a biker extraordinaire – there’s a ride you can sign up for.
“The shortest distance is about 50 kilometres called the Wanna, and it’s not too difficult, and it’s good for maybe more of an enthusiast, you know, a weekend warrior kind of rider,” said Watkins
The full waffle ride is 218 kilometres. So you need to be extremely prepared and experienced to finish.
“It’s almost like an Ironman type of commitment. You can’t fake it, and you have to build up and train.”
If you’re not quite ready for the Ironman category but want to be there for the excitement, then the finish line is the place to be.
It will be held at the Cowichan Exhibition grounds, where you can get an authentic Belgian waffle and a host of other delicious local eats.
There will also be an Expo featuring local crafts, and global bike brands, a large beer garden, live music, and family activities will be set up to provide entertainment for all ages.
For more details or to register, visit the BWR website.