Monuments of Cycling has partnered with Panache Cycling Sports to deliver the first Belgian Waffle Ride outside of the United States, to be held May 26 – 28, 2023 on Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. The first ever international Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR BC) will kick off the summer on the west coast of Canada in the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island. Along with the Belgian Waffle, Wafer and Wanna Rides, the accompanying Unroad Cycling Festival will feature live music, a massive beer garden, a variety of food options, and all sorts of family fun that will exemplify the unapologetic Canadian hospitality in its most apologizing of ways.
For the first time, Monuments of Cycling is bringing its iconic form of ‘Unroad Racing’ across international borders to Canada, where a vibrant cycling culture anxiously awaits this new spectacle soon to be known as The Hell of the Great White North.
Hosting multiple bike racing events and a summer cycling celebration to kick off the racing calendar in Canada, the BWR BC promises to allure a deep field of Canadian, American and world class road, gravel, cyclocross and mountain bike racers from around the world looking to take on the uniquely beautiful and challenging terrain that only Vancouver Island can offer. The BWR will be celebrating 12 years of pedaling perversity in 2023 and this international affair promises to provide professional and amateur cyclists alike the opportunity to ride the most coveted unroads of this spectacular venue, utilizing dozens of gravel and single track sectors to connect the best roads of the area for a truly dynamic multi-surface race… the unique complexion of road and unroad dynamics that are hallmarks of the BWR.
Next May, the BWR BC will kick off the Canadian racing season in Cowichan Valley, which is known as Canada’s “Warm Land” and outdoor recreation playground. Specifically, the Unroad Cycling Festival and race festivities will take over the Cowichan Exhibition Park in Duncan B.C., debuting as Western Canada’s premier bike festival for a soon to be annual gathering of riders, racers, enthusiasts, and curious onlookers!
The venue was chosen because it is surrounded by the world-class single track of Mt. Tzouhalem (the Zoo), Maple Mountain, and Mt. Prevost. The weekend-long festival will include a refreshing menu of spectator-friendly Cyclocross Races, an Expo featuring local crafts and global bike brands, a large beer garden, multiple food options, live music and a venue with tonnes of family fun. Accommodation options will include onsite RV / Van Life parking, Tent Camping / Bike Packing, Airbnb, and excellent hotel selections in Duncan, and nearby Nanaimo and Victoria, including Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay, Best Western Cowichan Valley Inn, and the Four Points by Sheraton Victoria Gateway.
“To have BWR come to Canada, especially in BC, is the perfect fit given the limitless possibilities of trails, gravel roads, and varied terrain that we have to offer,” said Jon Watkin, CEO of Panache Cycling Sports. “Combined with excessively polite Canadian hospitality, great food, and incredible brews, we are looking forward to providing an experience that participants will rant and rave about.”
A healthy confluence of glorious mountains, dedicated trail stewards and moderate climate has turned Cowichan into an incredible cycling destination. Its extreme variety, from downhill daredevil descending to flowy cross-country trails, the area’s terrain is an incredible mix of roots, rocks, roads and unroads that lie beneath the thick west coast forest and the island’s arbutus charm, the likes of which combine into the perfect cocktail for BWR intoxication. And the community of Cowichan is overflowing with passionate locals who build and maintain trails, promote the region and educate riders. These denizens can’t wait for us to see what they’ve curated for us.
The BWR, created as an extremely challenging race in the spirit of the great European one- day Spring Classics, is a truly unique series of races in North America. There will be three distances on offer in B.C.; the longer Waffle Ride, roughly 130-miles (210km), and the half-as-long Wafer Ride for those looking to get a taste of the glory without the full-time training commitment the full Waffle requires, and the taster, the Wanna Ride (half the Wafer).
This inaugural BWR BC race, like other BWRs in California, N. Carolina, Utah, Michigan, and Kansas, will have a deep field of professional riders and an expansive list of hungry amateur riders drawn to the unparalleled opportunity to race alongside their heroes. The Waffle will be offering prize purse to the top three riders, both female and male! Racers and event patrons will be treated to Belgian waffles and ales, frites, and a variety of culinary delights, more waffles and more beer on race weekend. Registration for BWR BC will open in October 2022.