Big weekend for Ryan White

2nd in the Masters 1/2/3 35+

2nd in the Masters 1/2/3 35+

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!


Snow Day brings 3 Podium spots

Terms & Conditions for the 2014 ski season were reviewed the first weekend in January with an impromptu “pre-season” training camp at Lapahm Peak.  The morning session attracted a hearty bunch of Hollanderinians including Tommy Matush, Mike  McKenna, Jabo, Butter, J’bro, Smithers, and Lindsey. It also featured the return of Kevvy, nursing a busted wrist since a Doc ride in Summer. He gets the early season “Rudy Award” for gamely plying the trails with one pole!

After a perky hour-plus squence of laps and banter, many headed into Waukeshalandia for the Nashotah Loppet, a 12k wizbang of a race offering an early season test (albiet short!). Lindsey was on formest, finshing on the top step amongst the women. Tommy and Jabo represented well, both posting 3rd place age group finishes.

Smithers and Butter duked it out for bragging rights. Trail side footage shows the commitment of dedicated team mates as they block the field, setting the stage for Tommy and Jabo to shine.

Full results:

Sunday October 20 – Gordeldier Cross 2013


Cyclo-Cross Race at Doyne Park in Milwaukee County



Sunday October 20 at Doyne Park the Hollander Benelux Racing p/b Badger Alloy Team presents the Gordeldier Cross Race. The cyclo-cross race is a debut event for the Hollander Benelux Racing Team. Races start at 9:00am with the Elite Pro 1/2/3 race starting at 3:15.

 Check out the route via Strava. 

Pre-registration is available online!


 Doyne Park Map of Goldier Cross Event

Badger Alloys - Milwaukee County Parks - Benelux Grand Cafe - Trek - Bonk Breaker - North Shore Wheel and Sprocket - Cafe Hollander

No time for good sensations at Chequamegon Fat Tire 40

Racers talk about having “good sensations” during a bike race. That is to say, the race unfolds in a way that is comfortable, easy to interpret and, ultimately, leads to good result.

For me, the “watch check” remains the one proven marker for sensations on the day. In a mountain bike race bubbling over with good sensations, I may not glance at the watch until 2 hours in with the finish line is in sight. The flip side? The watch check count on Chequamegon ’13 gave all the premonitions of a disaster.

Mixing in to the top 100 by Rosie’s Field, it quickly became obvious the dudes (and dudettes!) don’t ride with watches; they were fast up the hills (duh), and even faster DOWN (say what?). No coasting, or shoving lungs back into their sockets. NO! Downhills were attacked with a vengeance that caused me to do a time check after the first couple hills: a meager 16 minutes in! My neck quickly became sore with all the subsequent watch checks.

The first half of Chequamegon tends to gain elevation to the psychological mid-way point of Hwy OO (actually only 16 miles in to the 40 miler). But, I was hemorrhaging  positions on every pitch, no matter the incline. :23 minutes in 6 guys bound past. :30 minutes in; 10 guys skip by, I start drifting back, mix in withe groups…and then fade. :42 minutes in and the signs keep indicating OO is 2 miles, then (:49 minutes) 1 mile away. More pass and it starts to feel as though I may challenge for the Stone Saddle (last place finisher of Chequamegon).

And then gloriously, pulling through OO, the trail seemed to flatten, grow less angry. I stole a quick peek  (1:03) after blasting the downhill right after this “midpoint”…and then didn’t peek again until the threat of Fire Tower Hill was on me. After this high point, 1:45, the trail opens up full throttle for four glorious miles of down hill!

From here, the numbers on my watch blurred with the new clanging within both legs. It hurt worse to see how much time had elapsed compared to the cramps now lighting up each pedal stroke. At 1:56, and 32 miles in, the roller coaster dumped me out on to a section of the Birkie Trail that is as sinister and ill-placed as to warrant a look by authorities. While only two  miles but excruciatingly long (and slow) and steep pitches crack many. I focused on not falling over, or looking at my watch.

With the blessed end of that section, I took one more look: 2:06 and revelled in the fact that only seven miles of mostly downhill remained! Things got a little blurry from that point on…until the clamor of the finish line party helped produce the right sensations not a moment to late! Super fast and dry conditions helped generate my best run on the fabled Chequamegon track…2:27.

Epilogue: Bar side chatter indicated that Lindsey suffered an ill-timed flat, torpedoing what was shaping up to be a good run (3:04). Tommy reported that the wheels fell off right after OO, “limping” home  in 2:35.

Race Report By Steve Smith, documenting his 23rd attempt at finding a reason to not do Chequamegon ever again. 

Smithers the clock watcher...

Smithers the clock watcher…

Tommy before the booster rockets began to sputter.

Tommy before the booster rockets began to sputter.

Linsey on Main St. Hayward...before things got hairy.

Linsey on Main St. Hayward…before things got hairy.

86’d at Cam-Rock WORS

After the uphill, it all went downhill.

My upper tolerances for dealing with heat just got torqued down with a jumbo monkey wrench. The baking heat on the WORS Cam-Rock course delivered the re-calibration with both hands of Mother Nature muscling it down…righty-tighty…one lap at a time…to 86 degrees.

Despite rising temperatures throughout the morning, and despite spending the prior week over hydrating at a company event in Orlando, I felt oddly confident at the start line. The family was positioned up the hill, providing a raucous Father’s Day cheering section. And, I was ready to charge off the line first to replicate my strategy in Rhinelander, which produced a 3rd place age group finish.

And it went perfectly accordingly to plan…for the first 3 miles.

Stomping the pedals, I moved up quickly through the field right to the front. As the head of the spear, I confidently led the group up and over the first big hill and into the single track. A quick peek back showed a loooong line of age groupers stretched out, with gaps already forming. The Milwaukee 29’er ripped the rutty, rocky trail with alacrity, and I was feeling groovy enough to ignore the pleas behind me to “…go faster!”

Leader on the road

And then came the first open field section.


And then the next field.


Smoke was billowing from the crank case and the engine sputtering mightily. I watched in agony as others in my age group moved past, completely unable to respond with my head in the oven.

Challenging single track wound back into smoldering open sections, backed up by grinding power climbs. It took a miserable toll. Were the goosebumps caused by that 14 year old who effortlessly scooted past, or a failing radiator of an old timer?

Struggling across the finish almost 8:30 in arrears of the winner (and well down in the standings), the reality set in: 86 is the new threshhold at which this engine is not recommended to run.

The fashionable tifosi cheered on the Orange Glacier.

Birkie closes out hellish winter

The volunteer, a jowly church-going grandma from Hayward, was smiling and cheerfully jabbering away as she searched through the racer packets for “Smith”. In a blink, pulling my envelope from the bin, her demeanor convulsed as though I’d just stood up during the homily and cussed out her congregation.

“Well,” she sighed, perhaps whispering a silent prayer, “Good luck with this.”

She laid the envelope on the table and quickly moved away, leaving my burden clear for all to see: #1666. The Bib of the Beast. Fittingly, in the midst of the 5th  warmest winter in the history of Milwaukee, I’d be skiing the Birkiebeiner with a “bad luck” bib more suitable for a member of the Demons of Styx Ski Club.

But the Birkie is nothing if not unpredictable. Over nine runs on the fabled track, I’d learned to adapt to whatever the Birkie gods had in store: new snow, ice, rain, and yes even too MUCH snow! This year’s run-up to the race had been particularly trying based on the the complete lack of snow. So it would be “just another year,” even if devils would be chasing me down the trail.

The threat of six inches of snow Friday night never materialized and race day arrived with a “perfect” forecast of 15-25 degree temps and partly cloudy skies…and a solid blanket of white throughout the Chequamegon National Forrest.

Eager to get underway, I lined up in the middle of the 500+ Wave 1 skiers — Embrace the mayhem! Many of Team Hollander opted to start 2 minutes after the start gun, strategizing that the trail would be “thinned out” once they moved across the official electronically monitored start line. I’d be the rabbit. They’d be the pitchfork wielding diablos!

The race erupted in its typical chaotic glory as skiers flailed away from the start banner; bodies flopped; poles snapped. It always demands that one eye focus down the trail and the other behind. Marty Feldman would make a great skier. If the start is unpredictable, there is one constant:hills. Big ones, small ones. Rubberizers right from the gun called Power Line. These gave me (us?) a wake-up slap. Sure didn’t get much training time on the upslopes this year! Skiers started drifting backwards with each grinder.

There are no devilish details in my Birkie approach, which breaks down the course into “four hills”: Tower Line (17k), Double OO (22 k), B-hill (38k) and the Wicked Sisters (45k). I’d planned to ski hard in between, evaluate physical condition at the top of each and repeat as necessary until Main St.Legs and skis held steady through Double OO.

But the relentlessness started to make the gams quiver. I’d jump on a skier’s wheel, then he’d fade, then a twinge would flicker through my quads after a climb, and that dude would pass me back.

Just before Mosquito Brook Road, with head-bone struggling to stay focussed, I skied into a guy’s glide…saw his ski cross my tip and down and over I went! Staggering to my feet, Jeff Bradley came gliding past looking fresh. He’d caught the 2-minute man! Butter, Jabo..they all must be back there!

So I hammered it hard, rejoined Jeff on B-Hill (and quickly lost him again on the backside) and then skied out of fear. At any moment, I’d get the tap and hear the three words any competitor hates to hear from his hard-charging teammates: “Keep it up!”

Technique was anything but textbook, but I reached the base of the final climb, the three-tier “Wicked Sisters,” all alone with nobody in sight behind. Two years ago, Jabo made the catch here and took 5 more minutes out of me in those final 5k…so I put the head down and charged right into her. Each slope of the Sisters hurt, ice-picks were jabbing into my quads and I feared a massive cramp would limit the ability to pilot the fast downhill remaining. So it went. Ski/look/ski/look/ski/look. The top of the Sisters would be a celebratory moment were it not for the reality of making to make a final passage across Lake Hayward.

The demons in my head were screaming. They made that flat expanse disappear into a shapeless horizon. Despite their recommendation, I dare not look back. The finish would never come!

The sight of fans cheering on the shoreline drew me home and up into the cake mix snow of the streets of Hayward. The 2 feet of snow trucked onto the closed roads always turns into a maddeningly slow slog. It’s only a block, but feels more like a bonus 1k packed in the last 500 meters. Legs don’t fail me now. The final obstacle is to look sharp for the patrons of Angler’s Bar & Grill. Composing what was left in the tank for a passable V-2, I joyously cruised up Main Street.

Crossing the finish line, I was happy to call this hellish winter “over”…let the cycling season commence!

— Smithers —

Low snow creates a fast and furious approach to the Badger State Games

Back in the “old days” (think mid 90s for you youngsters), any event far afield required careful scrutiny of maps and a built in “get lost” buffer time.

We wouldn’t have met one of Outagamie County’s finest lawmen had we studied the Wisconsin Gazetteer, done the calculations and KNOWN that Appleton was one hour, 45 minutes.Instead, on our way to Badger State Games, the car was going on an optimistic time/distance recommendation. The promise of snow made any estimate seem plausible, and clouded the reality that that the estimate was off by a good hour.

Panic ensued, such that the gas pedal became depressed to a dangerously aggressive degree.Such is the state of affairs created by the snow-less winter in southern Wisconsin.The Badger State Games Nordic race was to be a logical stepping stone in the training for the Birkebeiner.Now it took on a dire necessity. Each of the skiers in the car HAD to ski the race. It would be the only extended effort prior to the big one. “Sorry officer…how fast was I over,” muttered our driver, alias “Butter. “Weweretryingtogettowausauandskiandtherehasntbeenanysnow..”

“License please”

Reports said two inches covered the trails in the Nine Mile County Forest. Most years, that pathetic number would be openly ridiculed.
Yet, here we were, about an hour from start time with a good 25 minutes to wait for a ticket. The promise – the NEED — to ski, that tiny red ember, had all but faded to black.And then came the miracle. “You have a clean record and I don’t want to mess it up today,” said the officer. “Good luck in the ski race…and drive slower.”

We completed the trip, and lined up with a full five minutes to spare.

The race was fantastically hard and fast and schizophrenic, with snow-covered trails and even full white carpeting throughout the woods.
A general excitement filled the first hour as each turn on the 18k course revealed yet more snow and trails in near ideal condition.More than 200 competitors seemed inspired to ski faster than I remember being able to go on two skinny skis.

But it was joyous!

The start of lap two brought the thrill of clanging cowbells and the “pleasure” of having a whole ‘nother 18k to get through! By this time in the race, I’d lost contact with my road buddies, AKA Jabo and Butter. Occasionally I’d regain contact with Butter, and I counted on an eventual crack that I would exploit. Everything was near perfect, until I crossed the finish line, which wasn’t the finish line.

Again, I should have studied the map.

It showed a “bonus” 7k loop for all competitors, added to make it a solid 45k-ish race.“Get back out there quick,” the finish line gendarme encouraged after I stumbled around the paddock for a good minute or two.And then the memories of “marathon skiing” came back in full force. The aching triceps, the thighs and calves that protest the slightest of elevation gains, the stumbles and near tumbles as technique swirled into its death spiral.

The 2k to go sign was greeted with a wary eye, but I soldiered on in the 35-degree temps and eventually came into sight of the finish line…the glorious finish line! Crossing it in a disputed two hours, 34 minutes left me exhausted, encouraged, disappointed…and ironically happy to be off the snow.

For the record, Jabo skied it clean in 2:23. Butter suffered the “phantom lap” symptom, which penalized him 15 minutes. (His time shall not be mentioned.) And Kevvy rolled through in 3:09-ish, confident in his own course map reading abilities.

Brent Wesolek, of Stoughton, took home the gold medal in the men’s freestyle race, and Claire Luby, from St. Paul, poached a victory in the Badger state.

by Steve Smith

WCA 2010 Race Changes

The 2010 WCA Annual Minutes have been posted and there are some significant changes to the coming 2010 WCA Cup Point Series.

They are…

  • Masters are now 35+, and the Cup Categories are 35-44, 45-54, and 55+ – which is the National age brackets.
  • WCA points for Criteriums will be awarded to the top 15 places in each category. 1st place will receive 15 Cup pts, 2nd 14 Cup pts, and so on to 15th place receiving 1 Cup pt.
  • Road Races and Time Trials will have double Cup Points, 1st place will receive 30 Cup pts, 2nd 28 Cup pts, and so on to 15th place receiving 2 Cup pts.
  • WCA surcharge at race events was increased from $1 per racer to $2. These funds are used to run the WCA.
  • For other updates please reference the Minutes of the December 5th meeting.