Duel in the Desert
THE DUEL IN THE DESERT: A UNION OF CYCLING LEGENDS – SPECIALIZED CACTUS CUP AND BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE ARIZONA
In a historic collaboration, two iconic cycling races, the Specialized Cactus Cup and the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR), are set to merge for a thrilling back-to-back cycling extravaganza, the “Duel in the Desert.”
Taking place on consecutive Saturdays, March 2 and March 9, 2024, this combination event of mountain biking and gravel racing promises an unparalleled celebration of cycling prowess, camaraderie, and the breathtaking Arizona landscape in and around the magnificent McDowell Mountain Regional Park.
THE DUEL CHALLENGE:
Queen and King of the Desert Awards Cyclists daring to conquer both events stand a chance to earn the prestigious Queen and King of the Desert Awards. This unique challenge combines the Belgian Wafer Ride’s 72- mile unroad gravel racing with the technical excellence of the Cactus Cup’s 40-mile XC race.
EVENT DATES & HIGHLIGHTS:
March 2 | BELGIAN WAFFLE RIDE ARIZONA
A spectacular weekend of unique unroad racing and the BWR Unroad Expo open to all.
March 9 | CACTUS CUP 40-mile XC RACE
A legendary weekend packed with warm weather, good vibes, and intense racing. Notably, the Cactus Cup is Arizona’s Original Mountain Bike Stage Race, with a rich history dating back to 1991.
THE BELGIAN WAFER RIDE: FIRST EVENT OF THE DUEL
The Second Annual Belgian Waffle Ride Arizona is a unique desert and mountain gravel experience known at the Hell of the North Desert. The Arizona event is the kick-off to the largest gravel series in the world, the Belgian Waffle Ride Series, as well as the Tripel Crown of Gravel. The BWR AZ, which will take place in Cave Creek, Arizona, on the fringes of the Valley of the Sun, embodies the three ingredients that make the BWR so special. 1) A dream destination, 2) varied terrain to accommodate an extremely dynamic racecourse, and 3) a cycling community that is both vibrant and desirous of the unroad experience only the BWR can offer. There are three different events gravelleurs can compete in at the BWR. The shortest is the Wanna Ride at approximately 36-miles, the Wafer at 72-miles (for the Duel in the Desert), and the full Waffle at roughly 120-miles.
THE SPECIALIZED CACTUS CUP: SECOND EVENT OF THE DUEL
The Cactus Cup is Arizona’s Original Mountain Bike Stage race, its history dates back to 1991. This is 3 days of racing to crack open the season featuring Time Trial (age groupers) / Short Track (Pros), XC and Enduro events. For the Duel in the Desert, riders can choose the one-day option of the Cactus XC 40-mile or Compete in the entire weekend’s line-up beginning Friday, March 8th through Sunday, March 10th. Family and spectators will find this a one-stop weekend of fun and entertainment that unfolds under the warm desert sun. With bike racing for kids of all ages, shorter distance events for the first timers, large industry expo including food trucks and a weekend long beer garden. It’s no ordinary bike race. Pack your sense of adventure and join us for unforgettable escape! You can join for 1, 2 or 3 days!
MCDOWELL MOUNTAIN REGIONAL PARK:
A Cycling Paradise Nestled in McDowell Mountain Regional Park and home to some of Arizona’s finest mountain biking trails, both events take advantage of this paradise. The Cactus Cup covers over 40-miles of pristine desert trails. From technical terrains to friendly paths, the park offers a diverse range of landscapes, including cross country, flow trails, and a competitive short track. With 76 individual camping sites, including tent or RV options, the park provides a picturesque and sought-after camping experience.
The Duel in the Desert marks the beginning of the cycling season with combined mountain and gravel bike racing set against the stunning backdrop of saguaros. Both events cater to the entire family, creating an unforgettable weekend for cycling enthusiasts
RULES AND AWARDS:
The Duel in the Desert will crown the fastest cyclists based on the combined time of both events. Only 1st place will be awarded King/Queen in each category based on Cactus Cup age groups. Participants on the Cactus Cup weekend can register for either the individual XC or the full cup Stage Race (day 2 is the 40-mile). OmniGo! Timing will be on hand to score both events.
All category winners of the Duel in the Desert will receive a specially designed winner’s event-branded RaceDay Bag™ from PEDAL Industries!