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Belgian Waffle Ride tire selection

Old 10-16-23, 02:25 PM
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Belgian Waffle Ride tire selection

Hi, all.

I just signed up for the 2024 BWR San Marcos today. It's going to be my first BWR, and winning is the furthest thing from my mind (I'm 52 and I've never raced before). Honestly, I'm going to be happy if I just avoid a DNF.

Since 90ish miles will be paved road, I was going to take my road bike. I was considering one of two wheel choices:
  • My existing Reynolds Black Label Aero DB 46 wheels with some sort of 30ishmm tubeless gravel tire
  • Either an existing 650b wheelset (I have some Crossmax Pros that are sturdy AF but pretty heavy) or maybe a new, lighter one, with a 650x47ish gravel tire that would give me a little more grip, but be a tad slower on the road.
Any suggestions for wheel choice and, within that, tire choice?

For reference, I'm 52, and I will likely be at the back of the pack / getting dropped from any serious groups, so there will be a lot of slogging on my own (which is totally fine, and what I'm here for).

Thanks!
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Old 10-17-23, 05:07 PM
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It depends on the wet winter we may or may not get. If you're doing the full waffle, once we got to Ramona the dirt was soft and or mud, the water crossing was more often and deeper. Mud so deep it jacked up my rear d and was bottom bracket deep. Skinny Slicks would have been bad. One water crossing was knee deep at least, half bike was under water pedaling through it.

I'd say anything with a specialized pathfinder pro style tread that is tubeless is good. 38-42c.

It's still 70 miles of pavement and it sucks the life out legs with fat tires, Tried 50c one yr and hated all paved sections and paved climb, it was that much slower and more watts to push.

Pathfinder Pros 42c or IRC Boken Plus 42c. I ran the IRC in 38c this past year and its fine for mixed surface.

That said, I ran the event 3 times with normal road bike 53/39 cranks and 28c tires (Gravel King file threads). Back in days before there wasn't a gravel bike yet, just CX or Roadie. Skinny tires just beat you up a heck lots more after say mile 80 range. You will hit bandy canyon at mile 90 some and those single tracks will tear you up with all of the bumps and ruts for the next 22 miles. Those were dry years and very few water crossings. I think just the main one at Lake Hodges. Gloves are a must to avoid blisters in this section as well.

Worth it 110%


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Old 10-17-23, 05:29 PM
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I was a BWR rookie last year. I did the Wafer (80mi) version with 35mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H (rear) and M (front). They were excellent for me everywhere. Fast enough to feel efficient on hard stuff, and grippy enough to be confident at speed in the loose stuff. My riding buddy was on 32mm GK slicks, and had a couple of minor surprises in the dirt, but he didn't seem to have an advantage on the pavement. I will be running the same 35mm Pirelli tire setup for the Bovine Classic in a couple of weeks.

EDIT: FWIW, I'm 55. I finished dead middle of all the Wafer riders, and dead middle of my age group, but we spent a lot of time - especially early - at a very moderate pace, expecting to need more at the finish. In hindsight, I could have gone harder earlier. However, I would have struggled just to finish the full Waffle.
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Old 10-17-23, 06:20 PM
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Thank you both--this helps a ton! I'll probably set up some 650x42 and some 700x32 and choose the right tool for the conditions on race day. Tome to go do some squats!
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Old 01-21-24, 11:23 PM
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I was 50 and training for my first BWR (I live nearby in Carlsbad) and stupidly rode with regular road tires. Broke my FEMUR on a downhill. Of my 27 broken bones, that femur hurt the worst.
Not only a DNF, but a DNS.
I'd rather have ridden an MTB and finished last than to not be able to ride (which I'm no longer able to do.)
Take your MTB and enjoy the day. You might finish better than you hope.
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Old 01-22-24, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
I was 50 and training for my first BWR (I live nearby in Carlsbad) and stupidly rode with regular road tires. Broke my FEMUR on a downhill. Of my 27 broken bones, that femur hurt the worst.

Not only a DNF, but a DNS.

I'd rather have ridden an MTB and finished last than to not be able to ride (which I'm no longer able to do.)

Take your MTB and enjoy the day. You might finish better than you hope.

pretty much agreed. strict roadie that has ridden many of those dirty, unpaved north county roads on '23's at my bleepy slow pace. when the adrenaline is flowing with hundreds of riders on a variety of tire sizes, questionable technique/questionable set-up's and a multitude of fitness ranges, wider tires are usually the right call. better to finish at the end than not finish at all. with so many riders on course, you're rarely able to take the "preferred line."

calamarichris very sorry to hear you're no longer riding. you are one of the guiding lights of this socal forum. please continue to shine on where and when you feel the pull.

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Old 01-24-24, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
I was 50 and training for my first BWR (I live nearby in Carlsbad) and stupidly rode with regular road tires. Broke my FEMUR on a downhill. Of my 27 broken bones, that femur hurt the worst.
Not only a DNF, but a DNS.
I'd rather have ridden an MTB and finished last than to not be able to ride (which I'm no longer able to do.)
Take your MTB and enjoy the day. You might finish better than you hope.
Oh, $#!+. I'm sorry to hear that happened to you. I hope you are able to get back to riding again in the future.
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Old 02-01-24, 12:50 AM
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I got some 47c pathfinder pros, they roll good so far, just need to dial in the PSI for mixed surfaces. Fat Plush tires are so nice in the dirt but usually roll so bad on the pave.
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