Cyclists take on a grueling 136-mile course in Spy Belgian Waffle Ride

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of cyclists spent Sunday tackling an extreme bike ride that is one of the toughest around.

Willie Stewart was one of the first of about 500 cyclists to show up for the Spy Belgian Waffle Ride.

"This is a real challenge," Stewart said. "This is one that's going to kick my booty … can I say booty?"

He said it, and he meant it. It takes a lot for extreme athletes to get nervous, but as race time got closer, nerves seemed to be setting in for more and more people.  

Cyclists ate waffles to load up on carbs because that fuel had to last from the breakfast hour to dinnertime. Race participant Rebecca Guss held up a full plate of seconds, which she said were delicious.

"I'm a little nervous," she said. "I'm going to need the fuel, I'm pretty sure."

10News anchor Steve Atkinson was among the 500 who left Spy headquarters on Sunday morning.

The 136-mile course through the North County was designed to be brutal, going up steep cliffs and drastic drops through rugged terrain. There was a lot of sweating, huffing shouting and wiping out across the grueling course.

There are some theories as to why they would put themselves through the pain.

"Oh, it's low self-esteem. Our mothers didn't like us," Stewart joked.

Jokes aside, they pushed their personal limits so people with disabilities do not have to be limited. The race benefited the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides adaptive technology to people with disabilities.

"I saw a gentleman walking around without his leg earlier and I just thought if I ever had anything happen to me, I would want the support of a foundation like CAF," Guss said.

He was not just walking and went on to race with his prosthetic leg. 

Stewart was doing it without an arm. About 25 years ago, a rope wrapped around it and yanked it off.

"When I didn't have this arm, I couldn't do these things and that's why it really matters to me too that CAF is here," he said.

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