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Choosing Your Own Adventure – the Belgian Waffle Ride with Yuri Hauswald

Choosing Your Own Adventure – the Belgian Waffle Ride with Yuri Hauswald
Posted in: Blog
By Zack Vestal
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Choosing Your Own Adventure – the Belgian Waffle Ride with Yuri Hauswald

Have you ever noticed how bike racing can be a lot like those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the early 90s? Follow this acceleration/move, and it may stick, allowing you to gap others, or it may blow you up. Pick the wrong wheel to follow in the paceline, and you may end up in a ditch, or you may get up the road in a break. One of the best things about bike racing is that it’s dynamic, unpredictable and that you don’t always know what consequences/outcomes will come from the choices you make and how that will affect your adventure on two wheels.

Speaking of adventures, I made a last-minute trip to Cedar City, UT, for my first Belgian Waffle ride, and boy howdy am I glad I did because Michael Marckx and his crew set a REALLY high bar when it comes to event productions. I mean how many events have steaming hot waffles and bacon at 6:00 a.m. so riders can have full bellies for the day’s #gravel adventure?! You Can't Choose Your Own Adventure without any fuel in the tank!

During the beginning of the race, much like the start of any Choose Your Own Adventure series, I was faced with two options when it came to my starting pace: “ease into it” or “full gas”. Both choices have consequences, so being that I’m more Volkswagen diesel than Ferrari, I chose the more metered approach, as full gas would’ve blown a valve, possibly ending my day right there. That choice led to an 80-mile flyer with two intrepid souls, a journey that saw us swapping pulls and working together for most of the day, so much so that we turned over 100 miles in just over five hours.

But it wasn’t a glorious ending for me as the choice to ride a brisk pace blew the wheels off my bus at mile 110, on the final KOM, a climb I had to walk portions of so I didn’t completely seize up. Needless to say, my two adventure partners dropped me, leaving me to go it alone up the final ascent, which gave me plenty of time to think about the choices I had made earlier in the day that led to this spectacular physical meltdown.

But you know what? My choice to walk portions of the climb allowed my legs/back/body to recover enough so I COULD finish the ride, so I could pedal another twelve miles and cross that finish line and close the chapter on this amazing race. Even though I limped to the finish dusted, done, and detonated, I was completely satisfied with my first Belgian Waffle Ride adventure and the choices I had made that allowed me to survive to tell the tale.