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“Holland to Belgium” Group Bike Ride
Saturday, May 21
Café Hollander – Mequon
5900 W. Mequon Rd., Mequon WI
Join members of our Hollander Benelux Racing Team on Saturday morning for a 48-mile group ride from our new location to Belgium, WI and back, along the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.
We’ll also offer a more leisurely 16-mile ride to Grafton and back. Meet at Café Hollander Mequon at 9am. (Please park at the Logemann Community Center lot just West of Café Hollander, it runs right next to the Interurban Trail and then meet at the Cafe on the corner of Green Bay and Mequon road.)
48-mile Hollander to Belgium Faster Pace
48-mile Hollander to Belgium Relaxed Pace
16-Mile Hollander to Grafton Relaxed Pace
If you’d like to have brunch afterward please remember to make a reservation!
To make a reservation for dining after the ride, do so here:
The thing that makes the world fall away. The thing that sets and resets you? Where you get to live within yourself and along the way uniquely experience a life that not many have lived?
In 2016 make it a point to find that thing. This sentence is preaching to the choir who associate with the Orange Blur but riding a bike really makes you free.
There are a couple things that happened this year in Wisconsin that have really made bicycling connect deeper to the culture of the people who ride here.
There are many more so please add them in the comments below…
• High school mountain bike teams and the folks that make that so successful
• BMX Racing where most of us started
• Masters Cycling Racing Teams shifting their focus to support and growing the sport
• IS Corp’s Women’s Pro Team
• RAW – Race Across America
• Race the Lake
• Rays MTB
• Dream Bikes
• Wisconsin Bike Fed
• Small group rides throughout South Eastern Wisco
o Drop the Doc
o Highland House
o Tuesday night ride @ Hollander
• WE Energies building bike paths
• Draft and Vessel for getting bike parking in the street
• All the local bike shops that continue to be awesome community members
• Meeting Jens Voight
• The bike lanes everywhere in Wisconsin
• To people stopping when you have a flat to make sure everything is OK
• Your riding buddy
Wisconsin is awesome for riding a bike and this community is unique to be part of. So ride more miles in 2016, have more fun, spend more time doing your thing. Spread the love of cycling and maybe more people will join in.
Ryan White won the Wisconsin State Criterium Championship on Saturday June 13 at the Muskego Criterium Course sponsored by Lakes Area Physical Therapy and the Wisconsin Cycling Association.
This annual title is hard fought and the competition in the Masters 1/2/3 category (the top category for men 35+) is tough. The season will see over 75 racers in this category. The State Criterium is a test for Wisconsin Masters for the Tour of Americas Dairyland Series.
The State Criterium race covers 60 minutes of racing on a tight circuit of just over a 1/2 mile long. Average speed is about 28mph with maximum speeds close to 40mph. In the hour riders will go nearly 30 miles.
The course in Muskego is a classic eight corner criterium making it technical and fast.
Ryan White and the five man Hollander Benelux Racing Squad came for the championship and Ryan White delivered in dramatic fashion.
Early in the race White flatted and used an important free lap to get back in the race. After several attempts to break away the pack continued to counter and bring Ryan back into the main peloton.
In the closing laps Dave Jablonowski, Ben Lund, Mike McKenna, and Chip Pieper cranked up the pace to launch Ryan into a position to win. In the last four corners Ryan was able to separate himself from the pack and finish 1 second ahead of second place.
This win marks Ryan’s 8th win of the season and boosts the team’s confidence going into the 11 day Tour of America’s Dairyland.
Sunday brought out rain, clouds, wind, and glorious sunshine at the Diablo Criterium in Menansha Wisco. The course sets up in Jefferson Park on a channel connecting Lake Winnebago and Little Lake Butte Des Morts. Back in the Wisco cycling history the course was part of the Otto Grunski Weekend, that was held in August in the 80’s and 90’s brining in many of the top continental racers of the time. Folks like Tim Swift, Steve McGregor, Jason Olson, and Tommy Matush to mention a few.
Diablo Cycling Club has breathed new life into the criterium running one of the fastest criterium’s in the Wisconsin Cycling Association’s race calendar. They have organized and staging one of the most entertaining races as well, with food, beer, great primes, and a very supportive community. Well done Diablo!!
Hollander Benelux Racing fielded a team of three racers for the day.
Ryan White was best with a second place finish and his 6th podium in a row. Carlos Casali from Intelligentsia Coffee won the race.
Both Ryan and Carlos relentlessly attacked the field lap after lap. With 8 to go, Ryan got clean of the field, Carlos Casali and Todd Miller jumped the gap to Ryan and the three of them worked together to bell lap.
Carlos made a decisive attack up the back straight into turn three and was able to create a gap on Ryan and Todd. Carlos held the gap to the line as Ryan came charging back out of turn four. It was a great race.
Full Results on the USA Cycling Website.
First off, thank you Team Velocause and Team Wisconsin for making South Eastern Wisconsin a destination for Memorial Weekend racing.
Today, at the MOSH Race (Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital) Ryan White of Hollander Benelux Racing took the win in the M123 category. A wet course, but warm by recent Wisco standards, and Ryan’s technical skill put him on the top step. Team Wisconsin fielded 9 guys in the race up against a solo Hollander. Ryan attacked, and attacked, and attacked again till it was just down to him and 3 Team Wisconsin guys. In the end Ryan was able to power through for the WIN!!
This is Ryan’s 5th podiums in a row! Keep Rollin!
Ryan White had a strong weekend of racing with two second place podium finishes at the Silver Lake Criterium and 4th place at the Wheel and Sprocket Neenah Criterium.
In both races Ryan was in a select group that formed a 5 man break-away that was able to get away from the main field of racers.
The Silver Lake criterium features a technical course with hair-pin turns and rolling hills totaling 2000 feet of climbing per race. Ryan finished 2nd in both the Masters (age 35 plus) Category 1/2/3 race and the Pro Category 1/2 race!
In the race, Ryan experienced a small mechanical issue – he was unable to shift and finished the last 9 laps in a single gear. No shifts for the hills and no extra gears for the final sprint.
Think of an anvil, then think rule number 5 and you’ll see a picture of Ryan!
Fast and slow
The morning of the first stage greeted us with sunshine and some rather warm weather. Harry and I both carried backpacks, which were both a blessing and a curse throughout the stages. A blessing in that you had extra food, clothes and water when needed. A curse in that the extra weight added up on your back and shoulders.
There were nearly 600 other two-person teams, making it a rather bunched beginning. The start was fast, and was a gradual climb on a highway for nearly 30 kilometers. Harry and I wanted to be conservative at the start, knowing that it will be a long 7 days, the hardest stages were ahead of us, and getting in a mishap on the first hours of the week would really suck. It was definitely the easiest part of the week.
We soon crossed into Austria, and hit the first segments of forest roads and singletrack. And more foreshadowing of the week ahead began. Trying to funnel down 1,200 bikers from a two-lane road to a gravel road, to a narrow path, brought us to a standstill. We were backed up several hundred deep as riders had to push their bikes around an obstacle on the trail. There were no alternatives, since the trail snaked along a high, steep ridge for several kilometers. The delay was frustrating, but the weather was clear and most folks were in a good mood.
Then the real riding began, and I knew it was going to be a long week.
At the start, the organizers gave you a small book that contained each day’s stage description. I would learn to study the stage closely. Under the tour data, the track’s characteristics were given: asphalt, radweg asphalt (paved bike path), shotter (gravel), wald (forest trail), pfad (path) and schieben (push).
As part of the “race within the race” sections were marked sections that included a timed hill climb (who could climb 100 meters in elevation the fastest) and an Enduro section that, as best I could figure, was supposed to be ridden down. Through the week, I made it down two Enduro sections without stopping, or crashing, or walking. I made the decision that there is no shame in walking if it meant no trips to the ER.
I was struggling to keep a good pace, and the weather wasn’t helping. It was getting hotter, and I knew one big climb remained to the top of Marienbergjoch. At 1,810 meters, the total climb would be about 800 meters over about 10KMs. The clouds started gathering and a gentle rain began as we started the climb. It was a ski run, so the open space allowed me to view what was ahead…a serpentine crawl up to the top. The final few meters had us pushing our bikes. At the summit, we donned vests for the ride down.
When looking at the course profile, it’s easy to get complacent when you see a downhill finish. And from KM 75 to the finish in Imst, with the exception of a small climb it was all downhill. But the road was a mishmash of gravel, washouts and large boulders for the first few KMs after the summit…along with some sharp switchbacks. It was a challenge to keep the bike steady, but we soon got back into the cover of the trees and worked our way further down the mountain.
We crossed the finish line in Imst, Austria, found our hotel, and walked back to the start/finish area to get something to eat and see the day’s winners. We also got a preview of the second stage from the organizers.
An experience beyond all others…that in a nutshell is my succinct description of the 2014 CRAFT Bike Transalp. The seven-day mountain bike stage race would take the Orange Blur team of Café Hollander-Benelux racing (Harry Dörner and Mark Moore) from Oberammergau, Germany, to Riva del Garda, Italy. Along the 587KM, we would climb a total of 19,145 meters. Here is my recap.
Harry, who lives in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, was looking for a willing participant to take part in the 2014 version of the Transalp. He is a veteran of the event, having competed twice before. For me, living in Germany made it an easy decision. I rolled over the odometer to 50 in April, and was up for the challenge. Prior to this discussion, however, I had secured my place at the Frankfurt Ironman in early July. Yes, I did bite off a bit much…but Harry convinced me it was doable (and I convinced myself). I had two weeks to recover from the Ironman (on July 6) to the start of Transalp.
Training began last fall, and a common ride was on Saturday morning to Duensburg, one of the highest points in the region and an area with a wide variety of mountain bike trails. So in the rain, or snow, I would head out with some friends to ride to Duensburg, ride up and down several times, and return home…usually wet and cold. Little did I know that this training would foreshadow the Transalp.
Those that know me also are keenly aware that I am not, nor have I ever been, a “racer” when it comes to these events. I love to compete, and my reward is finishing with a respectable time and not being caught up by the sweep wagon. So with the Ironman completed, I worked on recovering for Transalp and focused on getting my bike ready. Yes, I ride a Trek Fuel that’s seen its better days…and I still ride V Brakes.
Saturday before the start I headed to Oberammergau with my wife, Christine, and son, Nathaniel. Christine would drive back to Staufenberg (our home), the kids would finish their last week in school, the family would drive to the finish in Riva del Garda. From there, we would spend some vacation time in Italy. Of course, I had this little ride to complete before vacation could really start.
We arrived in the small village of Oberammergau with no problems, and quickly met up with Harry and wife, Petra, to gather our starting packages. Each team member is given a large duffel bag to store all your belongings for the week, and the bag is transferred to the finish town (or your hotel). So that night I went over my list of items, packed and re-packed, and nervously counted down the hours to the start.
The pre-race briefing was uneventful, although the description of the teams competing was impressive. World champions, national champions, Olympians…a who’s who of mountain bikers. And ofcourse…Orange Blur.
Thanks to the Café Hollander-Benelux racing team (and the great sponsors), Harry and I came to the line in some excellent riding kits that allowed us to stand out in a sea of colors from other clubs and countries. More than a few times were we asked if we were from the Netherlands (perhaps folks were watching me struggle on the climbs and realized I was more accustomed to the flats), and that quickly evolved into a rather long discussion of the formation of our Transalp team. Perhaps the only lingering impact from the clothes is that after following Harry through hours of chugging up the hills, the Badger Alloys name is burned into the back of my eyes.
Harry made the right call for our hotel accommodations. We decided to go with a mid-level package deal in which organizers would secure us a room (and shuttle transportation) near the various stage finish/start towns. Of course, you could decide to camp (at gyms, sport halls, etc.) It was not without its hiccups, but for the most part was better than spending the night with a few hundred other mountain bikers on a gym floor.
More to come….
Words by Mark Moore
The course was a six corner, half miler, tight, and well protected from the wind. It being in the heart of downtown a large crowd was on hand. The prize list was $10,000, with $1,500 for ten places in the master’s race, $500 bounty for the win. The purse is sure to draw top riders it’s the biggest and last race of the year on the Portland calendar. The day was beautiful and sunny which also brings out the people like a 50-degree day in a Wisconsin winter.
On the line for the masters race, I noticed a few riders I knew who would be going well. Emile Abraham from Atlanta is as fast and as smart as they come. He was also racing down with the masters so he was the odd on favorite for the win. Former world champion on the track, David Klipper was there as well with a bunch of guys. I had no idea as to who or how good they were.
The race started and immediately became single file. The announcer told the field prior to the start there would be $250 in primes during the race. As luck would have it the first time I get to the front is on the home straight and they ring the bell for a $20.00 prime. I continue to lead going through the first four corners and begin to think maybe I can win this. I slowly accelerate into corner 5 and come out of six full gas only to have Klipper beat me at the line by a half of a wheel.
Back in the field after the sprint a counter attack goes, one rider emerges with more than half the race to go. He gets about 10-12 seconds but never out of sight. He gets caught within five laps and another rider tries his fitness. At this point the guys off the front are collecting all the primes. The final solo rider is caught at 13 laps to go and it appears we are going to be setting up for a field sprint.
Eleven to go I’m at the front again and again the bell rings for a $20.00 prime. I lead through corner three, but this time one guy jumps around me into four. He’s not full throttle and I am easily able to roll back onto his wheel. As we head into corner five I let a small gap open between us. The guy in front of me hits a dip on the road and looses it. He goes down right in front of me, I’m able to slip by on the outside of him without loosing any momentum. I hear bikes on the asphalt and give a quick glance as I head into corner six. I make an effort to the line and win the prime. Taking the next few corners relatively easy thinking the field will be on me real fast. Rolling past the spot of the crash I see the guy who fell, he’s out. Coming through the last corner toward pit alley, I see Klipper and a couple others just arriving. Surprised, I realize I am still off the front with no idea how far. I start rolling a little faster. Next lap through I shake my head, getting my mind right, see nine to go, and say oh shit, THIS IS IT! Going for it now I could win or get caught and get nothing. As I cross the start/finish I begin my best impression of a time trialist and GO.
The crowds of people were cheering like crazy, encouraging me to stay off. This helped me keep focused, but no time splits. Then two to go, I begin to think… I can do this. The field is still not in sight. Maybe they’re setting up for the field sprint?
Oh Jesus, one to go. With just six corners left a guy I know tells me the gap is 12 seconds. In my mind I am thinking, oh shit this is going to be close. Between corners two and three I can get a glimpse of the start/finish. You never look back when you’re off the front but I took my first look back, I didn’t see anything. Out of five I take another look back. Now hammering out of the last corner on to the finishing stretch, maybe 250m to the line, I pinch myself and take one last look back. No one is there! I straighten myself up, sit up, hands off the bars, zip up, and the hands go up!
Solo win for Hollander!
The winning margin, 20 seconds at the finish.
Next up and the last for my season is the Masters Nationals Race.
Words by Mike Buechel
Photo credit Lisa Harvey and Emile Abraham
In a spirited ride today Joe Sulse of the Hollander Benelux Racing Team presented by Badger Alloys won the East Tosa Grand Prix as part of the Tour of America’s Dairyland. The team rallied to establish Joe in a XX break. This lead grouped lapped the field and consisted of race leader Heagney (Intelligentsia) and Berry Rohling not before Berry attacked dropping Heagney and in doing so taking the overall lead.
Unfazed and determined to redeem the previous nights near miss – Sulse head on tight -rode with victory in mind. After the group lapped the field, the team went into protect mode; making sure Joe was set for the win.
Heagney after licking his wounds was not ready to go down without a fight and had his team lined up at the front for the finish. Out of the last corner Heagney sitting second and two of Joe’s breakaway companions in front of him, the sprint opened. Pushing to his right Sulse passed Berry Rohling and former BMC pro Michael Sayers for the win and came within a half of bike of passing Heagney (1 lap down) for the outright win.
Joe Sulse (Hollander Benelux Racing) took the fight to the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin securing a second place finish in a very difficult race. The Hollander Benelux Racing p/b Badger Alloys had a squad of six in the race supporting Joe for the win. Ryan White controlled the race ensuring the late race push to the finish. Chip Pieper and Dave Jabo log laps working for the podium finish. This is the first podium for the Hollander team during the 2014 TOAD race series.
By Matt King
As I slowly spun around the parking lot trying to keep warm, the hissing noise from my front tire was not a good omen before the start of the 2014 Cheesehead Roubaix.A 63-mile on- and off-road ride through the scenic terrain of Wisconsin’s northern Ozaukee County, the event, now in its fifth year, has grown along with the explosion in popularity of gravel grinding. But as the turnout last Sunday proved, there is often much greater enthusiasm for the concept of gravel riding than the actual doing of it.
The ride started out in 2010 as a handful of Washington County Bike Club riders on a group ride organized by West Bend resident Dave Hanrahan, the event’s founder, promoter, and mastermind, and the first two Cheesehead rides were by all accounts pretty low key affairs. But in 2012, sparked by a growing buzz on social media, about two dozen riders showed up, myself included, and in 2013 the event tripled in size to about 75 riders who congregated in Fireman’s Park in Newburg, Wisconsin, for the start. This year’s ride was shaping up to triple in size again, until Wisconsin’s slow-starting spring took a turn for the worse the morning of April 27. The 225-plus “confirmed” attendees on the event’s Facebook page actually produced a group about the same size as last year. Morning showers combined with the threat of more to come, temperature in the mid-40s, and a stiff 20-mph wind from the east turned this year’s Cheesehead Roubaix into a blustery ride for the hard men.
Part of the Cheesehead Roubaix’s appeal is that it has no registration, no entry fee, no scoring and no awards. It’s essentially a big group ride that incorporates about 10 miles of gravel roads scattered among otherwise wide-open rolling country roads. Although not technically a race, just like the local Wednesday Night Worlds, it usually feels like one by the end, especially when half the riders are license holders.
Although several members of Hollander RDC Racing had expressed interest in attending, on the morning of the ride I was joined only by teammate John Young, who arrived with a cross bike shod with knobbies. I rode my Ridley X-Fire cross bike with 23mm slicks, one of which picked up that piece of glass right before the start, forcing me to use the first, and fortunately last, of the two spare tubes I brought .
Somewhere in the middle ground between these two options would have probably been the perfect tire choice for both of us. The Cheesehead route is primarily a pavement ride, but while its 10 miles of gravel may not sound like much, a few of them are among the worst to be found in southeast Wisconsin, especially the ironically named Lovers Lane near Boltonville. Lovers Lane in reality is more of a washed out farm access trail than a true “road,” even if it does technically have a street sign, with a flat half-mile section that kicks up to as much as a 10-percent grade right about where the worst of the double track ruts appear. With numerous muddy, off-camber trenches and ruts to negotiate, it’s quite an experience to ride up full-gas in a pack of riders bunny-hopping from side to side. After three years of Cheesehead Roubaix attendance, the score is now Lovers Lane 2, me 1.
My first trip up I got a flat about halfway, rode it for a bit, and then had to shoulder my bike for the last quarter-mile run-up to the top. In 2013, I hit it near the front of the pack and hammered up ahead of the chaos. This year I started near the front of the pack but got crossed up in a muddy rut about halfway up and went down, narrowly avoiding getting run over by Belgianwerx’s Bill Kohler. I ran up to a clear spot, promptly dropped my chain, remounted, and found my seat cocked at a 45-degree angle. At the top of the climb I stopped to knock the seat straight and chased back onto the pack. This was not to be my last meeting with the ground.
After Lovers Lane, the bunch eased up and rode an easy pace into the stiff easterly headwind out to the rest stop in Belgium at mile 27.5, sponsored generously by Mequon’s Belgianwerkx bike shop, where we grabbed bananas and a few snacks before the real riding began. As riders trickled in, I looked around for John, but he was missing. Earlier I had seen him stop to take off his rain jacket, which shouldn’t have put him that far behind, but when he finally showed up he told a woeful tale of the hastily packed jacket flying out of his jersey pocket and yard-saling his gear all over the road.
About two miles out of the rest stop we hit Alder Road, the ride’s second gravel sector. I had just taken a pull at the front of the paceline before we made a quick left-right off Highway LL, so I was at the front when we hit the mile-long stretch of gravel and was clear ahead to pick my own line. Team Pedal Moraine’s Jeff Melcher passed on my left side and I followed his wheel across some nasty potholes, but just as we both bunny-hopped a particularly cavernous trench on the right-hand side of the road, a rider tried to pass on my right, nearly off the edge of the road, hit the edge of the trench and swerved left into my handlebar, throwing me down pretty hard. Another rider behind crashed into me, but after a few seconds of damage assessment and with adrenaline flowing, we were both back up and chasing with no major injuries to skin or bikes. Since we had been so close to the front, I didn’t lose too much ground to the pack and was able to quickly get back on.
Next we hit a wicked stretch of rutted washboard road through Herrington Beach State Park, a wide straight section that usually produces a few stray water bottles strewn across the road. After Herrington, the road finally turned back west, bringing with it the much anticipated tailwind. But that’s just when the action started to get real. The pace picked up over a long uphill grind just west of the park, and when the pack made the first left hand turn after about a two-mile drag race, the crosswind shattered the peloton.
At this point we were about 35 miles into the ride and it was a battle of survival for anyone off the back. I had spent too many miles in no man’s land, futilely trying to chase back up to John and the others in the second group on the road and was pretty close to bonking when I finally sat up with about 14 miles to go, crammed a Honey Stinger lemon waffle in my mouth, and joined a six-rider group that worked together to the finish. It was a relief to roll back into Fireman’s Park again and I was somewhat regretting my decision to ride the nine miles up from my house as I watched all the other tired riders changing into street clothes and hopping into their cars. The effects of the weather and the pace really showed on the faces of even the hardest riders, and nobody stuck around too long for beers or back-slapping.
After a few minutes rest I headed towards home, stopped about halfway for an energy bar, and finally limped into Wayne’s Drive-In in Cedarburg for a well-earned fries and a Coke. Simple satisfaction at the end of a long, hard day.
Sunshine, an east wind off of Lake Michigan, had everyone still in their winter gear. With a high of 45 degrees for the day windy and chilly was the weather. No rain, means a good race!
In the Masters Category 1-2-3 race, Mike McKenna and Ryan White joined forces with Ben Lund, Jim Broennimann, and Corey Dempski. Early in the race Ryan attacked several times to organize a break. Two attempts were close to going off but were reeled back in. With 7 laps to go the pace was upped by Billy Jones and his crew pushing the pace at the front and stringing out the field. In the end McKenna and White both fought for the win,
taking 2nd in the photo below and 6th 7th at the Spring Classic in Whitnall Park.
Dean Gore from Trek sent some pictures of velodrome racing from days gone bye. Dirt tracks, big crowds, and the bare minimum in equipment. Makes you wonder how they got there, what the pre-race ritual was – no fancy trainer machine to warm up, no car rack to get to the race, or ironic cycling themed hat, no extra bike to cool down on, or foil wrapped energy food with impossible to pronounce ingredients. My bet a cigarette, a swig of whiskey to calm the nerves and inflate the ego, and then BOOM, GO!
It takes your body 5 years to adapt to a race bike. Or at least that’s what the urban legend was when I started racing in the late 80s. Things were a bit different back then – I was nineteen, flexible, tenacious, and could’ve doubled for Jim Morrison (look at those locks). Plus, my bike never gave me pain. Ever. It became an extension of my physical being; it fit perfect. Fast-forward 25 years and here I am with a phantom limb. As Ziggy once suggested, 5 years is an important length of time. Five years is what it took for me to realize how much I missed being comfortable on my bike. That wasn’t all I had, I had more.
During this period, I’d had half a dozen fits, countless tweaks, and bought new equipment like handle bars and stems. Phil Godkin, both the man and an employee at Wheel and Sprocket North Shore, set me up with a professional bike fitting last spring. All those familiar feelings came back; the hoods, able to grip, the bike being under me and stable. What you need for the fight. The main event. The race. Fitting rouleurs for years, Phil’s trained and certified through Trek and most recently Guru. He’s my spiritual guide. My tomahawk. My sherpa. My beacon in the storm. He also knows how to make people go fast on bikes. If you don’t have Greg LeMond’s Complete Book of Cycling from 1988 in your fitter toolbox, you’re a hack. LeMond knows the perfect fit. With the help of Phil and LeMond’s wisdom a year ago, the mystery was unraveled. Eyes were opened.
Earlier this year Wheel and Sprocket North Shore purchased a Guru Fit System. This state-of-the-art bike fit system made me eager to get fit again for the 2014 season. The experience only takes an hour or so. A couple days before my fit, John Rodriquez another fit specialist at Wheel and Sprocket took my measurements and when I got on the Guru, it felt exactly like my road bike. Other than a body scan, I rode on the machine for almost the entire time. As I rode, we discussed a plan about the things I could change. These adjustments were as easy as touching your iPhone, and the entire time there I was, riding away on the bike.
Two days later I picked up my bike, and it felt brand new. John is meticulous at setting up a bike, everything was perfect. And then the bombshell hit; I felt 19 again. I felt young, the new fit gave me some room on the bike, but now I look more like Sting. Nothing wrong with that.
The Hollander Nordic Ski Team continues the season with a top 10 finish at the 2014 Hoigaard’s/Breadsmith Slush Rush Race in Elm Creek Park Reserve this past weekend. The 10K masters event featured a strong field of skiers with Tommy Matush taking 6th place in the event.
The season of the cross country skier rotates around a snow centered axis of misery. Mother Nature pulls the strings: too much, too little, too early, too late. We skiers deal with it all with an eye on the one race of the season that is so big it goes by one name: Birkie.
This season, arguably the best in years, delivered a full season of skiing starting in December. Even the most cynical were forced into silence as perfect conditions blanketed all the local trails right up through February.
And then the payment came due…two days before the Birkie, Frankie McDowel YouTube Video predicted the chaos. Scheduled departure times shifted, then days slipped…then decisions had to be made.
Just getting to Birkieland would prove to be as heroic task as skiing the 50k race. The advance vehicle piloted by J’Bro, and also containing Beeks, and Sean Hart, chose the aggressive gambit of a mid-storm departure. Their northerly trajectory, via Green Bay, turned them into the eye of the storm… for the last 120 miles. Whiskey stops in small hamlets along the way had locals shaking their heads at the impossibility these explorers were wrapped up in. Having committed to going the distance the snow came heavy. Two ruts on the road, visibility down to 4 feet, the gas was kept to an even 40mph. As they turned off of HWY13 into the Chequamegon Forest things got deep, real deep. The snow packed wheels and suspension screamed and rumbled through the winter wonder land. When the hills came, Sean and Beeks were forced out of the car to ensure cresting the little mountain tops.
Friday morning, the Butter Bus left Wauwatosa with Kevvy and Smithers. Seeing two spin out accidents in the first 30 miles only steeled the nerves of Butter, driving a brand new, off the lot Honda Odyssey. The traditional route, via Eau Claire, revealed roads no better in daylight. The 25 mph sustained winds, and blowing snow, produced a track as slick and shiny as cue balls. The van grew silent as the committed pilot navigated the last 3 hours of the trip on roads better suited for Hans Christian Anderson.
The entire crew, finally assembled by 3, strapped on the skis in Cable and did a brief recon on the trail system. Following a 30 minute shush through ankle deep powder, it was agreed — the outlook for race day looked grim.
The axis turned. A frigid Saturday dawned with 20 mph headwinds, and tauntingly sunny skies.
The misery started before the Power Lines less than 3k in with squishy soft momentum sapping conditions. With each push, you could HEAR the styrofoam squeak as skis continually fought against the new snow. I came on to fellow Wave 1’er Jeff Bradley before Timberline Trail. Looking into the face of the former 7-Eleven uber-sufferer, I shuddered at the look of the suffering invested…and that yet to come.
The race unfolded in painful slow motion. Typical landmarks arrived late or later. Fifteen, 20 minutes, 30 minutes… each check point only delivered another psychological body blow.
By 39k Hill (the new longer, more painful version of Bitch of a hill at 41k), I was never happier to see Kevvy, who was cheering (heckling) trial-side. “Get mean with that LEAN,” his chants only meant that there was (in theory) less than an hour to race.
By this point Butter and I had been trading pulls (or blows) since Power Line. The motivation of a fellow Hollander team mate had us picking off racers one by one as the K’s ticked down.
For others in later waves, trying to find a familiar face to ski with was impossible. JBro spent sometime at feed zones staying hydrated and slowing to survival pace. Buechel kept the engine running throughout the race as it was his second time on skis all year. He spends most of his time in Atlanta and Portland. Not snow states.
The last turn of the axis came as we stepped onto Lake Hayward. Some years, there is legitimate debate on the ability to ski across the 1.5 mile long (most times) frozen body of water. This year wouldn’t be a problem, what with 24+ inches of snow on the sidelines. But the winds…oh, the wind. The full brunt of winter now punched us in the face, with 20 mph headwinds staring us down. It was like being shot at by pins and needles.
It was only the final 200 meters, under the protection of Hayward’s Main St. that the wind finally cut out. There was a few brief moments to revel in the celebration that starts at Angler’s Bar, ends at the finish line and continues well into the night.
A woman carries cross-country skies along 86th Street on the Upper East Side after returning from skiing in Central Park as a winter storm brings frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall to New York, NY, on January 21, 2014. The storm is expected to bring up to 14 inches of snow in parts of the five boroughs, wind gusts up to 30 MPH and freezing temperatures that are expected to be in the single digits overnight.
Credit: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/Newscom
That would be a cool place to ski, if they groomed.
All cyclists are welcomed! (21+)
Sponsored by the Lowlander Cycling Club and Lowlands Grand Cafes
Proceeds benefit the Wisconsin Bike Fed
Costumed bicycle crawl stopping at six locations with games, contests, and raffle prizes
Saturday, October 26th – registration begins at 9:00am
Begins at Cafe Hollander-Downer, then crawlers head to Lakefront Brewery, Cafe Centraal, Great Lakes Distillery, Trocadero, and end at the Nomad World Pub for a Halloween dance party!
If you’d like to volunteer as a lead or tail rider, please email