Training in Fear — Getting Ready for the SPY Optic Belgian Waffle Ride

They say fear isn’t a proper motivator. I say bullshit.

The SPY Optic Belgian waffle ride has me training scared—scared I’ll get dropped, scared I won’t finish, scared I’ll be bestowed the freeloader’s Purple Jersey. But, the point is, the Spy Beligian Waffle Ride has me training—more than I have in quite some time.

SPY Optic has been out of the performance eyewear game for a few years, but that is changing quickly. With the introduction of their new model, the Screw, which we featured in the Spring issue of Paved the brand is back on the cycling scene—though it is no surprise given the number of cyclists on the company’s payroll.

Celebrating the company’s return to cycling is the first annual Belgian Waffle Ride, a innocuous sounding name for what is sure to be a painfest of epic proportions.

Roughly slated to be around 120 miles, with plenty of climbing—a lion’s share of it on dirt roads—and plenty of “friendly” competition in the form local pros and hammerheads, on paper, it’s enough to strike fear into any untrained legs (read: mine).

If that’s not fear-inducing, the race promo materials left no room for misinterpretation:

Dear Hardmen, Wheel Suckers, GC Contenders, Domestiques, Posers and Freddy Freeloaders:

You are hereby invited to the inaugural SPY Belgian Waffle Ride, scheduled for March 25th, 2012.

When the snow lingers but the days start to lengthen, thoughts turn to romance. For us, romance means long, painful, nasty, bone-jarring, hilly, and leg-numbing bicycle races known as the Spring Classics. Consider this your first love letter of Spring. Created in the spirit of the great spring monuments, the SPY Belgian Waffle Ride will take its victims on a ronde
through North County San Diego, where participants will clatter through agrarian hamlets and the Ardennes-like hills, over mountains, and along roughly paved roads carved through inland San Diego's beautiful backcountry.

So, to get ready this past this past weekend, I took to the hamlet of San Luis Obispo to try and find some sort of preparation. 103 miles, nine creek crossings, two beers, and one nap at a gas station later, I’m still scared for March 25th.

But, hey, I never made it past Tenderfoot while in Boy Scouts, so being prepared has never really been my strong suit. Here’s to winging it.

And here’s a few photos from said ride.