Grass track velodrome – different mindset to outside is free

March 22, 2020 AUSTIN, TEXAS – Outside is free – yeah that was never really the case, but to hipsters it sounded cool. Cars are coffins, cars also put cyclists in coffins when they are on their cell phones or driving like idiots. Random solo or group ride crashes on the roads can also happen. Given the current Covid-19 situtation, we have to be consistent socially with what is going on. Cyclists on group rides will probably look like teens at spring break partying without a care. Caring about others and not hoarding toilet paper should be a concern. And I am finally raising the white flag of social distancing, but I still would like to go outside while I can, ride my bike at night after work and surrender group rides for awhile.

I created my grass track velodrome last week with a local biker buddy who helped me string it out and burn it in just by pedaling around. I thought it would be fun to do laps with 10 of my friends (the current Texas social gathering limit), but even that number now seems unwise. But I’m happy to share my kinda secret location at different hours, or encourage others to make their own grass tracks locally. And when we’re allowed to do group rides again, we might circle back to the good old days and try out some Madison’s, Miss-n-Outs, Team Pursuits, Scratch and Points races on grass tracks.

Check out my page on making your own Grass Track Instructable.

April 5th 2020, Sunday – Holland TX Classic EDITION #2 COVID-19 CANCELLED

Captain Obvious sayin’ Yes this like all other group rides and events is cancelled.

April 5th 2020 will be the CASTELL HANGOVER EDITION for our challenging gravel and road 22 mile circuit starting in Holland, Texas on the day after the Castell Grind. Gravel sections are fast and smooth, so skinny gravel or road bikes are acceptable. Riders are expected to self-maintain their own tires, tubes and equipment. This event is promoted and sactioned by USA Cycling under permit pending – licenses are not required, but helmets are mandatory at all time when on a bicycle.

Sorry if the first sand pit got you in Castell Grind, your pity party is over and it’s time to come bring your best groad bike setup. Same noon start and some small changes. We will be teaming up with the University of Texas Cycling Club and recruiting new young riders and collegiate racers to a new race wave for U23 (you must be 23 years old or younger on race date to qualify). Lots of new details and how to prepare your road bike as a classics road bike for this course. Or tips on how to setup your gravel bike for more speed at the Holland TX Classic.

July 13th 2019, Saturday – Holland TX Classic REMATCH – #GROADSOHARD

July 13th 2019 will be the REMATCH for our challenging gravel and road 22 mile circuit starting in Holland, Texas. Gravel sections are fast and smooth, so skinny gravel or road bikes are acceptable. Riders are expected to self-maintain their own tires, tubes and equipment.

GO here to see all course details and GPS MAPS.

Location: Holland High School, 100 Rose St, Holland, TX 76534
Course Map: Holland TX Classic on Strava Courses
Entry Fee: $5 (18+under) $20 (non-elite) $25 (elite)

2020 Holland TX Classic – Course Details

The 22.75 mile loop is a mixed surfaces course with road and fast gravel sectors. The course loops back onto itself through the Holland High School parking lot. This tight 180 is intended to slow speeds down and allow safe feed zone grabs. A fence line will allow mussett bags and bottles to be attached and grabbed on the go. There will also be a neutral Nuun feedzone station to fill up water bottles. For the July edition, putting coolers on the ground with your bottles inside on ice is the best strategy.

Bathrooms and registration will be located in the High School cafetorium.

Soigneur sleep in? We will provide rubber bands for the Nuun Hydration feedzone fence.

Sector # 1 – 1.9km to 3.7km
Sector # 2 – 4.5km to 5.0km (this sector got paved summer 2019)
Sector # 3 – 6.6km to 12.3km
Sector # 4 – 14.3km to 18.2km (big dog chase, he’s really fast)
Sector # 5 – 21.3km to 25.6km
Sector # 6 – reverse of Sector #2 31.7km to 32.2km
Sector # 7 – reverse of Sector #1 33.0km to 34.8km
36.6km – END ONE LAP plus feedzone u-turn 200m

STRAVA Holland TX Classic – 1 lap 22.75mi
https://www.strava.com/routes/17093326
STRAVA Holland TX Classic – 2 laps 45.74mi
https://www.strava.com/routes/23874144
STRAVA Holland TX Classic – 3 laps 68.63mi
https://www.strava.com/routes/23875033

GARMIN CONNECT Holland TX Classic – 3 laps 68.63mi
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/course/30554182

Advanced Cue sheet for 1-2-3 laps on Google Sheets

Holland High School is our gracious host. Please be kind and leave this facility clean and tidy.

February 15th 2020, Saturday – Holland TX Classic HEARTBREAKER EDITION

February 15th 2020 will be the HEARTBREAKER EDITION for our challenging gravel and road 22 mile circuit starting in Holland, Texas on the day after Valentine’s Day. Gravel sections are fast and smooth, so skinny gravel or road bikes are acceptable. Riders are expected to self-maintain their own tires, tubes and equipment. This event is promoted and sactioned by USA Cycling under permit #2020-879 – licenses are not required, but helmets are mandatory at all time when on a bicycle.

GO here to see all course details and GPS MAPS.

Location: Holland High School, 100 Rose St, Holland, TX 76534
Course Map: Holland TX Classic on Strava Courses
Entry Fee: $10 (17+under) $30 (19+ ages) for 3 lap course & $20/25 for 1&2 laps

https://www.bikereg.com/
holland-classic-heartbreaker-edition

ONLINE REGISTRATION CLOSES ON FEB 14TH AT 8:30PM CST,
RACE DAY REGISTRATION 10:30-11:30AM +$10 LATE FEE

OPEN MEN: 12:00 NOON – 68 miles (3 laps)
CASH: $75 1st place, $50 2nd place, $30 3rd place plus swag bonuses
Pay-out provided minimum field of 8 riders is achieved. Payout will be adjusted at promoter’s discretion if field limits are not met. 80/20 prizelist/overhead will be adjustment factor based on paid entries.

AGE GRADED 40+ MEN & WOMEN: 12:05pm – 68 miles (3 laps)
AWARDS: 3 places for men and women
This is a unique race, since this is a rare age graded only start to allow the old guys to duke it out under their own crusty steam without getting buried too hard by the young guns. The age graded women shall vote to start with the men or start 2 minutes under their own power. If a tie vote, the promoter shall break the tie.

OPEN WOMEN: 12:05pm – 68 miles (3 laps)
CASH: $75 1st place, $50 2nd place, $30 3rd place plus swag bonuses
Pay-out provided minimum field of 8 riders is achieved. Payout will be adjusted at promoter’s discretion if field limits are not met. 80/20 prizelist/overhead will be adjustment factor based on paid entries. The open women shall vote to start with the age graded men or start 2 minutes under their own power. If a tie vote, the promoter shall break the tie.

2 LAP HEROS AND SHEROS: 12:20pm – 45 miles (2 laps)
SWAG: 3 places for men and women
Let’s get physical but we understand that you might want to knock out a good 45 miles and bounce. This is where the real fun and banter takes place. Tulips, stroopwafels and Gouda to the top 3.

1 LAP HEROS AND SHEROS: 12:20pm – 23 miles (1 laps)
SWAG: 3 places for men and women
Groad/Gravel noobies are welcome to come out and give this a shot.

1 LAP JUNIORS 17 & UNDER: 12:20pm – 23 miles (1 laps)
SWAG: 3 places for boys & girls
Groad/Gravel kids are welcome to come out and give this a shot.

Continue reading “February 15th 2020, Saturday – Holland TX Classic HEARTBREAKER EDITION”

1st Sept 2019 Sunday – Davilla Gravel Recce 100km p/b Eliel Factory Team & Nuun Hydration

Join us in Davilla Texas at 8:00am (8:15 start) this Sunday to ride our 90% gravel route on 20 mile loop. Plan is 3 laps for 100km. Bring coolers and 6-8 bottles, there’s nothing here. Get grub and drinks in Granger TX afterwards. GPS maps will be uploaded. Park next to Davilla Volunteer Fire Station but do not block access to the station itself. Sorry this is a country event, so tinkle in the woods.

Davilla, Texas is about 1 hour north east of Austin. It is small enough that you will find us. We’ll be at next to the Davilla Volunteer fire station. This is a self-supported fun ride to check out the course, get race course feedback and get in some gravel fun.

I’ll have some Nuun electrolytes samples on hand courtesy of our Nuun reps.

Strava Route:
https://www.strava.com/routes/20707862

July 13th Rematch – Groad Insights

The July 13th 2019 Holland TX Classic Rematch edition had some unique conditions that led to an interesting race & ride for the participants. We had Texas summer heat, but a calm southern wind that shifted to a stiff northern wind due to the storm conditions in Louisiana. We had an interesting mix of gravel kings and queens, pure roadies and a strong women’s open field. Also the typical bad luck that can come up and bite your tires.

Holland is a unique course, since it is 50/50 smooth gravel and road surfaces. You can gain traction, comfort and safer travels over the gravel with fatter gravel tires, but on the road sections dragging those gravel tires over the pavement can really kill your energy and speed.

We had a really good mix of veterans and noobies out including that guy who recently won Dirty Kanza. Below are some of the mobile interviews gathered to share.

Winner of Open Elite Women: Katie Kantzes of Team Wolf Pack Racing (Austin, TX) Katie is relativey new to gravel and groad, but she excels at climbing and her power to weight ratio gives her an edge in these disciplines. (insight, photos coming)

Open Elite Women tied 2nd: Monica Merced of Phemon Cycle Club (Austin, TX) Monica is a cyclocross queen, so she’s got good flow on loose surfaces. But on Saturday, she “did die a lil bit” over the 110km in the lead group. (insight, photos coming)

Open Elite Women tied 2nd: Celine Oberholzer of Resue Project (San Marcos, TX) Celine is powered by sun, plants and coffee. She is also blogging at bethestonecutter.com (insight, photos coming)

Open Elite Women 4th, Samantha rolled with a roadie classics setup:

I rode my steel independent fabrication with 25 ribmos at 80psi and I had tubes. I delivered on ribmos in my jimmy johns days so I knew that they were strong. For next year I would probably go with a slightly bigger tire and lower psi. But with no flats I was pretty satisfied.

This was my first gravel race so I definitely did not eat as much as I should have, but I found that goos were the easiest to eat. I had 3 goos, a thunderbird bar, and some shot blocks. I picked up 2 new cold bottles with nuun in them every lap in the feed zone so i used 6 water bottles total. Electrolytes are my summer necessity. I also drank some pedialyte in the feed zone. Next year Ill make myself eat more during the race, I could have used some more calories.

Samantha Wipff of Phemon Cycle Club (Austin, TX)



ABOUT NUUN, HYDRATION and the FEED ZONE

We’re excited to have Nuun samples and Nuun fluids in a cooler. Let’s get serious about hydration .. each loop is 22.75 miles so you should drink down 2 bottles per lap or 1 bottle every 30 minutes. Bring 6 bottles for the full 68 miles. The feed zone is at the turn around with a slow 180 to encourage proper hydration to grab bottles and go. I’d recommend leaving a cooler along the fence, drop 2 bottles and grab 2 fresh bottles and pedal out. The Nuun sample will only cover 1 bottle, so you might want to buy some Nuun on Friday. Insulated water bottles are the best since colder fluids also keep your core temperature down. Mark your bottles with a Sharpie and we’ll rake up the feed zone so you can get your bottles back afterwards. You can fill up your bottles at the coolers but don’t count on your fellow riders to wait on your time to fill if you’re in race mode. Camelbaks are another option but don’t jet off through the feed zone if you’re in Camelbak mode. Be a good sport and respect good hydration for all riders. Don’t skip the feed zone on the first lap .. that’s just a poor choice that you will pay for in the end. Let the real race take place on the course not in the feed zone. Gels vs bars vs blocks .. hopefully you know your body and what works. Personally I’d recommend 2 Clif Blocks total and 2 gels per lap. If you’re old school .. a flat Coke bomb might be something that you’ve prepped for your last lap boost. 

Thanks again to Nuun for their support and be a smart athlete and treat your body like a temple. Use your watch to remind you to drink. And pro tip .. big gulps are better for your body .. read up on this and why .. it’s really cool science. 

If you got that cooler setup, consider stashing an ice sock to put under your jersey on the top of your back for lap 2 and/or 3. A thin sock or long medical sock is a good setup. A plastic bag of ice will stick to your skin and build up heat after the ice has melted. 

Wash your sunglasses with Dawn and dry them prior. Leave a dry rag or mini towel to wipe down your sunglasses in the feed zone. Applying extra sunblock spray or cream is up to you as well.

March 24th 2019, Sunday – Holland TX Classic RECON DAY REPORT/RESULTS

March 24, 2019 launched our new challenging gravel and road 22 mile circuit starting in Holland, Texas. Gravel sections were fast and smooth. We had approximately 40 recon starters with a mix of road and gravel bikes. With 51% gravel and 49% road and a solid southern wind, this wasn’t your typical Sunday in the South. The speeds were high as expected topping out at 35mph at times and averaging just over 20mph.

An early breakaway was initiated by Dennis Lastochkin (Night Owls Racing) going south on sector #3 with his teammate Jake Boone (Night Owls Racing) making the bridge. Alex Rodriguez (ATC Racing) also made the bridge with his teammate & race promoter Joel Rierson (ATC Racing) in tow. Gregg Ueckert (CCR Roofing) was connected with Dan Piercy (Velo Roussillon Racing). By the end of sector 3, this 6 man breakaway was well established. It consisted of 2 gravel bikes (Dennis & Dan) and 4 road bikes (Jake, Joel, Alex and Gregg). 

This group rotated away and out of sight. Joel was put into difficulty early on after a couple hard efforts by the Night Owls duo, but his teammate helped in picking him up. Gregg suffered a front punture on his tubeless road tire and attempted to fix it at the end of first lap. The fix didn’t hold and Gregg was out. Down to 5 in the breakaway. The group continued intact until Alex suffered a puncture in the S turns on sector 3 on the 2nd lap. 

Down to 4, the next move came with Dennis attacking on sector 4 and his teammate Jake followed in pursuit. Then with a fast southern tail wind and a tight left bend, Dan almost overshot the corner and had to brake hard to regain control. Joel reconnected here with Dan. The two Night Owls hammered into the wind at the end of sector 4. Rolling back onto sector 5, the gap was about 1 minute.  And finally Dan suffered a rear puncture on his back tire. Joel was stuck solo and gave a chase unknowingly that this was going to be a solo 50km effort.

As the race promoter, on limited sleep from the night before, Joel knew that if he could  survive that he would be on the podium. Drink enough Nuun, enjoy his Clif Blocs, turn over the pedals and focus on not hitting any big rocks. First place was a bouquet of tulips, 2nd place a tower of Stroopwafels and 3rd place was Gouda cheese.  As the promoter, these were the items that he asked him mom to purchase at Costco and Trader Joe’s. What was on his mind? Joel responded: “I was risking it going on tubes, but I wanted the full speed advantage of deep dish carbon wheels and a road bike. So we chatted at Mellow Johnny’s and agreed that 2nd best to tubeless would be to go with latex tubes and Continental Grand Prix 4 Season tires with a double Vectran belt. I was still nervous so I floated on the gravel sections and picked the best lines that I could. There were 21 sectors of gravel over 68 miles, so I was only totally relaxed 49% of the time while on the road.” 

Jake and Dennis kept their 1-2 status, Joel held in no man’s land to secure some cheese for 3rd place. Dan rolled in next. And even after a bloody crash on the first lap of sector 3, Stefan Hardie (ATC Racing) finished in 5th place.

HOLLAND TX CLASSIC RECON DAY RESULTS – 110km

1Jake Boone (NIGHT OWLS RACING) road3:20:19
2Dennis Lastochkin (NIGHT OWLS RACING) gravel3:20:20
3Joel Rierson (ATC RACING) road3:26:32
4Dan Piercy (VELO ROUSSION RACING) gravel
5Stefan Hardie (ATC RACING) road

Check out the Velo Fest 360 Facebook page and April 6th Holland Classic event info for comments on bike setup, tires and more.

Holland TX Classic Podium Etiquette

OK so you made the podium at the Holland TX Classic, the same guidelines shall apply at recon day or the official race day. We had our official race jury round up the top tips, so that the event photo looks so pro even Dylan Groenewegen or Tom Dumoulin will be proud.

  1. GOLD, SILVER & BRONZE. Podium is top 3 only places.
  2. BRAND LOYALTY. Wear your team kit. We’ll be efficient and speedy for awards. Clean podium shoes or race shoes are best.
  3. CLEAN UP. Wear your trucker hat, align your sunglasses, zip up that jersey. Wash your face, hands and legs. Swap out for clean bibs and long sleeve jersey if you can. NO jeans, shorts, jean shorts or tights* (unless it’s winter, which it’s not).
  4. DOGS, CATS AND BABIES ALLOWED. Only for the winner. No nieces or nephews. And you can only pick one of the following under 20lbs: a dog, baby or cat. No fat cats, sorry. We’re not letting you highjack the podium.
  5. NICE & EVEN. Winner’s hands up, 2nd and 3rd one hand on back of winner and outer hand up. Smiles are encouraged. It’s OK if didn’t win and don’t want to smile, afterall you just got a proper beat down at the Holland TX Classic.
  6. NO PODIUM BIKES. It’s just not going to be tolerated here.
  7. DON’T MAKE OUT WITH THE PODIUM GIRL. Lily has a mini army of followers on Instagram, so behave or her fans will unleash on your social media and sponsors. The proper number of cheek kisses is 3 in the Netherlands.
  8. NO HYDRATION PACKS shall be worn on the podium. Sorry CamelBak.
  9. NO HELMETS shall be worn on the podium.
  10. SKINNY LENS, PHOTOSHOP WORK MAY BE NECESSARY. If you’re carrying some extra winter timber but still crushed it; we’ll consider enhancing your podium photo, since it’s still early season. The 2018 Poteet Strawberry King has been known to put on some extra timber in winter and he’s going really well right now.

April 6th 2019, Saturday – Holland TX Classic OFFICIAL RACE & RIDE DAY!

April 6th 2019 will be the big launch for our new challenging gravel and road 22 mile circuit starting in Holland, Texas. Gravel sections are fast and smooth, so skinny gravel or road bikes are acceptable. Course will be marked but riders are expected to self-maintain their own tires, tubes and equipment.

Location: Holland High School, 100 Rose St, Holland, TX 76534
Course Map: Holland TX Classic on Strava Courses
Entry Fee: $5 (18+under) $20 (non-elite) $25 (elite)

OPEN MEN/WOMEN: 12:00pm HIGH NOON – 66 miles (3 laps)
CASH PRIZES: $300 1st place, $150 2nd place, $75 3rd place
Equal pay-out for men and women provided minimium field of 25 riders per category is achieved. Payout will be adjusted at promotor’s discretion if field limits are not met for either open men or open women. 

AGE GRADED 40+ MEN: 12:07pm – 66 miles (3 laps)
AWARDS: 3 places each for men (field minium of 5)
This is a unique race, since this is a rare age graded only start to allow the old guys to duke it out under their own crusty steam without getting buried too hard by the young guns.

2 LAP HEROS WOMEN: 12:15pm – 44 miles (2 laps)
AWARDS: 3 places each for women (field minium of 5)
We’re looking forward to seeing the best of the ladies battle it out for the gravel podium. Tulips, stroopwafels and Gouda to the top 3.

2 LAP HEROS MEN: 12:15pm – 44 miles (2 laps)
Pre-registered riders will receive a Holland Classic commerative patch.
Let’s get physical but we understand that you might want to knock out a good 44 miles and bounce. This is where the real fun and banter takes place.

1 LAP HEROS: 12:15pm – 22 miles (1 lap)
Pre-registered riders will receive a Holland Classic commerative patch.
We welcome all, and if you’ve got one lap in you, then please join us! 

Continue reading “April 6th 2019, Saturday – Holland TX Classic OFFICIAL RACE & RIDE DAY!”