Austin Killips (nice bikes) and Adam Roberge (Jukebox Factor) won elite titles Saturday on the long ‘Waffle’ route for the Belgian Waffle Ride North Carolina, the fourth of seven stops on the ‘un-road’, multi-surface endurance series.
In the 79-mile Wafer division, Andrea Dvorak won the women’s title and Luke Vrouwenvelder won for the men.
The Third Annual Belgian Waffle Ride North Carolina covered 131 miles and 14,000 feet of climbing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A little more than 40% of the course consisted of non-pavement, called “bone grinding roads” by organisers, that provided sandy and rocky paths, arduous climbs and single-track strewn with water crossings and cacti.
Run in very hot and humid conditions over undulating terrain and difficult off-load sectors, the race promised to be among the hardest if not the hardest course of the series.
For the women, runner-up in the third event of the series in Canada, Killips claimed the victory in a time of 8 hours, 28 minutes and 7 seconds. Crossing the line four minutes later was Paige Onweller (Trek Driftless) in second place. Second at Belgian Waffle Ride California, Flavia Oliveira Parks (Excel Sports p/b Specialized) took third place, a further three minutes back.
“It was a drag race from the start since the first selection at Reeb Ranch single track came early at only 7-miles into the race with a mostly downhill start,” said Onweller. “The top 3 women split up around mile 80 through a dirt sector that included numerous rocky sections and what seemed like neverending switchbacks.”
In the men’s race, Adam Roberge took the win in a three-way sprint to the line ahead of his Jukebox Factor teammate Dylan Johnson in a time of 7 hours, 23 minutes and 23 seconds. Finn Gullickson rounded off the podium.
After the race, Onweller addressed, via a race release, what she described as "some controversy" surrounding Killips' being a trans woman.
“For those following women’s road cycling, you are aware of the UCI rule that this is currently allowed. Rather than sharing my personal opinions about the UCI rule, I think it’s most important to recognize that all athletes, no matter how they identify, should have a space to compete and race. Additionally, underneath all helmets is a face and a person who deserves respect, dignity and a safe space to ride bikes,” Onweller stated.
“In the future, I feel a separate category is appropriate but event promoters are also learning what is best to preserve both female cycling while also creating an inclusive space for all to ride. These things take both time and grace to resolve."
"I plan to continue to support and attend BWR events in the future as I trust they will navigate this with respect for all riders going forward. I want to thank all event promoters for the work they do and the difficulty they face in these decisions."
Killips hit global headlines after winning the recent Tour of the Gila, and opened up about her experiences and her vision for the future in an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews.
|3||Flavia Oliveira Parks||8:35:37|
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Lyne has been involved in professional cycling for more than 15 years in both news reporting and sports marketing. She founded Podium Insight in 2008, quickly becoming a trusted source for news of the North American professional cycling world. She was the first to successfully use social media to consistently provide timely and live race updates for all fans. She is proud to have covered men's and women's news equally during her tenure at the helm of the site. Her writing has appeared on Cyclingnews and other news sites.