SAN MARCOS – The City of San Marcos is hosting the 2021 Belgian Waffle Ride this weekend, featuring a challenging new route for cyclists, a beer garden and Belgian waffles.
The event was postponed last year due to COVID-19 but is returning with a newly augmented 132-mile route with more than 12,000 feet of climbing, over 50-miles of off-road terrain, as well as more than 70 vendors.
Almost 5,000 riders are expected for the weekend of July 16 to 18. The race itself, which draws world-class riders from around the globe, is set for Sunday, July 18.
The three-day expo is open to everyone and will take place in San Marcos’ downtown area, North City.
“We are excited for the opportunity to host one of the largest cycling events in the country,” said Andy Tenn, senior project manager at Sea Breeze Properties, in a statement. “North City’s ideal location, urban layout, accessibility and variety of local businesses make it the perfect venue to entertain cyclists and observers alike.”
Inspired by the European one-day Spring Classic, the challenging race was created by Michael Marckx, founder of Monuments of Cycling.
“The Belgian Waffle Ride is the biggest event of its kind in the United States this year and it’s incredible to see how the event has grown in popularity and participation,’ Marckx said. “Now, we’re settling into an expanded footprint at North City and look forward to growing the event there along with the continued evolution of the ‘city within a city.’”
San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones told The Coast News that she is excited about the positive economic impact that this event will have on local hotels, restaurants and businesses during a time when they need it most.
“We are thrilled to welcome cyclists back in-person to the beloved – and ridiculously tough – Belgian Waffle Ride in San Marcos. Not for the faint of heart, this ride is known throughout the country for its challenging mix of off-road racing,” Jones said via email. “This event truly puts San Marcos on the cycling map, and we know the riders who finish the race in San Marcos’ thriving North City will enjoy rewarding themselves with ice cream and tasty treats from our local restaurants.”
This is the first event of its size that the city will be hosting since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. A year that saw multiple canceled events and a big hit to small businesses everywhere.