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.
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.
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.