The Belgian Waffle Ride Cedar City gravel race is likely to be remembered as one of the biggest mass attendance amateur sporting events in North America since the pandemic started.
Over 600 road, gravel and MTB cyclists itching to race after seven months of non-racing journeyed to Utah in droves to partake in the first and last Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) of 2020.
After local officials cancelled BWR San Marcos, CA and BWR Asheville, NC due to COVID19 risk, Utah officials welcomed the event with open arms, even as COVID19 surged out of control and the governor declared the situation in Utah “unsustainable.”
Nonetheless, big name cycling stars of past and present donned face masks and opted to line up on Saturday 17 October in downtown Cedar City to compete in either the main 120 mile ‘Waffle” race or 80 mile ‘Waffer.”
Making a first appearance at BWR was American pro cyclist Quinn Simmons, 2019 World Junior Road Champion, who was racing for the first time after being suspended in early October by his Trek-Segafredo team for making “incendiary” controversial comments on social media.
Also on the start line trying to win his second BWR race was former WorldTour pro Peter Stetina (CANYON), who is now exclusively a Pro Graveler.
USA National XC Champion and Utah native Keegan Swenson (STANS NOTUBES), just back from the XC World Championships in Austria, was also on hand.
World Downhill Champion Kathy Pruitt was looking to add a BWR title to her palmares.
Former BWR winner Brian McCulloch, who doubles as a pro roadie for ELEVATE PRO CYCLING TEAM, started on the front line too.
Aging pros from the past also came out to race including Neil Shirley, Karl Bodine and “Racing and Training with a Power Meter” author and coach Hunter Allen.
After 5:55:15 of racing on mostly gravel roads it came down to a 2-up sprint between Stetina and Swenson – watch the sprint video here. Swenson easily crossed the finish line first with two arms up – even without a front brake that was lost earlier in the race.
Professional mountain biker Alexey Vermeulen was third, almost four minutes back at 5:59:02. Quinn Simmons was listed as “Did Not Finish.”
In the women’s race Rose Grant (STANS NOTUBES) soloed to victory in 6:33:00 after World Downhill Champion Kathy Pruitt suffered a crash and subsequent bent rear derailleur that lead to a second place finish in 6:39:30. Kaysee Armstrong was third.
Full Belgian Waffle Ride Cedar City results here.