ENVE Racing

BWR-Cedar City Wafer; The first race getting back on the horse

In brief: - Awesome race! Perfect course. Friendly volunteers. - I rode the entire sand section and 4.4 mile technical section… proud of myself. - Sand sucks.  Sorry for all the cursing to anyone who was around me on the course. - Ladies of amazing midrace paceline: That was fun! Hope to see you again soon! - A few things to improve for next year: be consistent with color coordination, more signs, more volunteers, avoid hosting running race and bike race on the hardest part of the course simultaneously. - 10/10; would recommend! - Congrats to all the finishers!  - I completed the 78 mile race in about 5 hours and 50 minutes (according to Garmin; official time still pending 2/2 confusion over my entry)


In full: 



Overall, this race was great.  I would definitely do it again.  Beautiful course with a perfect buffet of all possible challenges expecting on a gravel course, not to mention the exceptional support staff and friendly faces.  This being BWR’s first year in Cedar City, there were a few bugs (more below) but I rest assured that the staff is full of obviously well-versed people and I am very certain it will only get better every year.  



For perspective, keep in mind that this comes from a currently under-trained, moderate bike handler, who started in the last corral and can cat 5 herself with a waxed chain, but I STILL really enjoyed this course.  



Out the gate, we had a four mile neutral start that narrowed down to fit through a pedestrian bridge to get us to the other side of the highway.  This opened up to the first gravel section that EVERYONE, naturally, hit too hard.  Good bit of crashing and bike repairing that happened along this road, so just be mindful of that in the future.  Small road section to recoup that lead into another gravel road, this one a little more sandy than the last but was otherwise unremarkable.  Another small break of road to rehydrate and snack before hitting the next dirt section. This one was memorable for fast downhills into slick 90 degree turns and the, “the climb.”  “The climb,” challenging enough to broaden the gaps but not so challenging to kill you.  It was the perfect lead into a deceivingly fun but unexpectedly slick downhill.  I saw quite a few people get overly confident here and have some notable wipe outs… its looser than it looks.  The next segment thinned out the pack even more with a series of rolling hills.  I caught on to a REALLY fun paceline here with some awesome ladies I WISH I had the opportunity to get to know better; hopefully we’ll see each other again in the future.  Enter, the ranch: prefaced by a cattle bridge (if I could ride it, then anyone can) followed by a gorgeous, gentle climb and swoopy, descent, which concluded with your first, well-stocked, perfectly placed aide station. Take a second to appreciate the granite mountains you pass through on the way out.  It’s a nice send out and peaceful beginning before ultimately getting thrashed in the sand pits.  The segment starts off simple enough, but with each turn, the sand gets a little worse, until you finally take a right-hand turn into wheel-sucking, ankle-deep sand.  I was able to ride the entire thing, but not without dropping lots of gears, keeping the RPM’s high, and cursing every 5 minutes (sorry to everyone within earshot of me). Several people just got off and walked the segments... either way, this portion takes patience.  There is an aide station immediately after this stretch that marks 50 miles followed by a much needed, fun road descent.  We were greeted next by the course split; unfortunately, the colors were mixed up (more below) and that took a second to figure out.  From here, the wafer was mostly road (about 20 miles worth), which was modestly disappointing but allowed for a little recuperation before hitting the infamous 4.4 miles of single track.  With a full suspension mountain bike, this segment would be easy.  On a gravel gravel bike and after 60+ miles of riding, it’s a bit tricky.  I was able to ride the entire segment which, again, if I can do it, most people could definitely do it... but it is admittedly intimidating, and there were a number of people walking large portions of it.  The remainder of the course is just bike trail into the finish.



Suggestions for the future: 

- Mind the colors.  In all of the pre-race material, wafer stuff was red, waffle stuff was blue.  However, at the first fork in the two races, there was a GIANT BLUE sign that said, “wafer this way,” and a GIANT RED sign that said, “waffle this way.”  From here on out, at least on the wafer course, all the arrows were blue (I assume the arrows on the waffle were red) which was pretty disconcerting, and I know it did ultimately result in some people getting on the wrong course… which sucks.  

- A few more volunteers.  There weren’t a whole lot of intersections, but there were a few big ones that would have benefitted from having at least one volunteer manning them, if for no other reason than to be present if (god-forbid) someone got hit.  I had one scare myself with a car, and I heard several stories afterwards of people talking about some close calls with cars. Not something any race wants its participants to suffer. 

- A few more arrows. It’s a little unsettling to go several miles without seeing an arrow, especially when you cross over intersections and especially towards the end when you are tired and mostly alone / in smaller groups.  You find yourself going, “I don’t think I turn there… do I? I don’t see an arrow?” 

- Do. Not. Simultaneously. Host. A. Running. Race. On. The. Same. Technical. Section. You. Host. A. Bike. Race. This was frustrating for both the runners as well as the cyclists.  Each one was tired and struggling to ensure they did not get injured on the 4.4 mile single track, and no one was happy to have to yield to the other while maneuvering through the rough terrain. 

- Lastly, this is kind of a minor point, but the finish line was a little awkward. There was no, “Hey! You finished!” Or water, or volunteers… just a short stop, and a confusing exit.  Maybe some water and bananas with a couple volunteers at the very least?  But this also could be more of a personal-preference thing.  



Notably good points:

- PERFECT course.  Seriously.  The quintessential gravel course with all the major features and beautiful scenery.  Some may argue that the 20 mile segment of road towards the end of the wafer was a bit long, but I think the overall setup was on point.  

- Inclusion of the KOD, KOM, KOS was a very nice touch!  This made for some fun mini-goals within the larger race and the segments for each were well chosen!

- The food, beer, and comradery at the end was great!  Generous helping of chicken and waffles complete with two free drinks… perfect ending to a fun ride.  

- Very friendly and helpful volunteers with well stocked aide stations!  

- Notably well organized race with very helpful and well-done pre-race communication.  Nothing was hard to find, even when we were confused at the course splits, it was very simple to pull up the official course map and verify the course.  



BWR – Cedar Point was a great race that promises to get even better as the years come.  I am really glad I was a part of its first year, and I look forward to working on my power and testing myself against it, again, sometime in the future.  Congratulations  to everyone who finished the course (including the runners!) It was a notable challenge and is worth some bragging rights!



Comments


Emojis don't work... the ???? is supposed to me a muscle emoji...haha!


Nice work! ???? I hope to do it next year!