Rally Cycling’s Jesse Anthony took a break from his regular racing schedule to compete in the grueling 2017 Belgian Waffle Ride. Touted as one of America’s fiercest gravel events, the ride lives up to its reputation with 130 miles of punishing backcountry roads, rocky singletrack and seemingly endless climbing. Equipped with his Lezyne Super GPS computer, Jesse impressively blazed the course through searing heat and came away with a hard earned victory! After the race, Jesse shared the data he recorded using his Lezyne GPS device. Then, with the help of our GPS Root website, Jesse offers an exclusive look into the winning numbers from the Belgian Waffle Ride.
BY THE NUMBERS WITH JESSE ANTHONY – BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE
Distance: 130 Miles
Ascent: 10,500 feet
- Lezyne: You averaged 19.5 mph (31 kph), which is slower than what you’d normally average in a road race, but when you consider the savage parcours it’s rather impressive! How much of the event did you spend on the front or solo?
Jesse: I was only solo for about the last 20 kilometers of the event, but I really started putting the pressure on in the dirt sections with about 65 kilometers to go. So, for the last two hours and twenty minutes, we really had the throttle wide open.
- Lezyne: You averaged 244 watts for nearly seven hours, which was enough to win the event. Did you do any special preparation to maintain that average for an event like BWR? Or did you pretty much just rely on your current race fitness?
Jesse: I had to fully rely on my race fitness from this Spring. I wanted to do a long training ride or two about 10 days out from BWR, but I had been feeling really tired after Redlands and didn’t get to do the training I wanted leading up to the event. I naturally have good endurance, so it was the hard climbing efforts that hurt me the most.
- Lezyne: The heat hit triple digits while you were out there. How did you stay hydrated during a (mostly) self-supported event?
Jesse: I drank a LOT of water and electrolyte mix out there. Thankfully the lead pickup truck had a ton of water on board and they were handing it to us in the lead and chase groups. Also, the staff working at the feed stations were really on point and handed up bottles every time we came through. I knew hydration would be extremely important all day, so I drank as much as I could possibly get my hands on and into my stomach.
- Lezyne: Your heart rate exceeded 195 bpm a few times, but max’d near the top of the final (and very steep) ascent at 198 bpm. Were you attacking, trying to gain time, or just keeping it pinned at that point?
Jesse: Haha! Funny story actually: I knew that after all the technical dirt sections that several of the riders I had put time into might form a chase group and start bringing me back. So, for the last 40 kilometers, when I was riding with Sam Boardman and then by myself, I was fully committed to the effort. I was trying to keep a very high tempo on all of the climbs and be steady and smooth attacking all the dirt sections. Then, someone told me about halfway up the [final] Double Peak climb that I had a 45 second gap on the next rider. I freaked out and started pouring everything I had into the pedals. At that point I knew I just had to get to the top of the final climb with a decent gap, and then there was a lot of downhill so I could survive even with 30 seconds. In reality, I had over three minutes to the next rider — so that extra effort wasn’t necessary, but it was good training for me.
- Lezyne: You totaled over 10,500 feet of climbing during the event. That’s a solid amount! And with all of that climbing there was plenty of descending. You topped out at just over 53 mph less than 10 miles from the finish going down the final descent. What was going through your mind at that speed after such a brutal day?
Jesse: I was SO happy to get to that final descent off of San Elijo that I couldn’t go fast enough. And I was so happy to be able to coast for a minute or two. Unfortunately I couldn’t even super-tuck that whole downhill because my hamstrings kept cramping. Then, when I tried to stretch my hamstrings my quads would cramp. I compromised with a neutral, on-the-saddle tuck and got as aero as I could.