Jul 17

Ride Report: Holland Hundred

On Saturday, I started my day off riding the Holland Hundred bike tour.  This was my first year participating in the event which draws nearly 1,500 cyclists for the 18, 36, 67, and 100 mile loops. My training plan had a schedule 1h15 minute/30m brick planned. So, I chose the 100 mile loop.  Makes sense right?

I had originally planned on riding my roadie for this ride and taking it relatively easy.  However, I have been having some mechanical issues with it and by the time I finally dragged it into the LBS, there wasn’t going to be time to get it fixed for the ride.  So, I decided to ride the Black Rock.  With that decision, I decided that I would do the ride solo and not in a group. I don’t like riding the P2 in a group because it is generally considered bad etiquette (not to mention unsafe) to ride a tri bike in a pace line.

I got to the ride start at about 7:00AM.  There was no organized start or anything; just show up and ride.  There would, however, be aid stations throughout the course, a marked course, and SAG vehicles available. As I walked over to registration, I actually saw a few other tri bikes so I wouldn’t be the only one out there. On the way I bumped into a guy who swims at the EGR pool. I’d never talked to him before because he is usually starting his swim while I am in the middle of mine. We chatted for a bit before getting checked in.

As soon as I checked-in, I headed off.  It was a great day for a ride. It did get a little warm by the end of the ride so I am glad I got started early. 

I started off taking it easy.  However, I soon got caught up in the energy and was going faster than I had planned.  I got to the first rest stop, but I still had a full bottle so I didn’t even stop.  I was feeling really good and decided that I was going to go all out.  I was actually in a semi-hurry to get done and home as Jennie and I had plans for the afternoon and evening.  I figured I would use that as my motivation to fly through.

I stopped at the 2nd aid station to fill up a water bottle.  This aid station was crazy busy as it was also the breakfast stop. There was a pancake breakfast for the riders.  I decided to pass on it. For some reason gorging myself on pancakes at mile 30 of a 100 mile just didn’t seem like a good idea.

Photo Jul 16, 8 58 53 AM
Bikes and people everywhere! Notice the green child seat on the bike in the foreground. Told you this ride had something for everyone.

Shortly after the aid station, I bumped into my neighbor. He decided to ride the 67 mile loop at the last minute. I’m glad he made it out.

About 50 miles into the ride is when it got ugly. I was feeling awesome and having a great time. I was greeting everyone as I passed and everyone seemed very friendly.  Then, I passed a group of 7 riders who were riding in an unorganized pace line. I greeted them with a wave and a “Good morning” and got no reply.  Oh well, whatever, see you later.  Well, I got about 100 yards ahead of them before they organized their group and started charging ahead.  Next thing I know they are coming up alongside me to pass. No big deal, I would expect a pace line of 7 riders to blow me out of the water.  Well, the problem was they didn’t all pass me.  Four of them surged ahead and the other 3 trailed behind.  Next thing I know, I am trapped in their group.  Crap.  Ok, I can deal. I pop up on the horns and settle in until I can find a way out.  This was an absolutely horrible group of riders.  They didn’t communicate at all. No hand signals, no verbal warnings, nothing. And this was a particularly rough section road; probably the worst road of the ride. I was hitting every single pothole and crack in the road.  I was getting pissed and really starting to feel like my safety was at risk.  The thing was that the entire road wasn’t in poor shape, only the shoulder. They could have easily moved over to the left 2 feet and had clear road. We were in the middle of the country so there was really no traffic to worry about.

Finally, one of the guys in front popped a water bottle (did I mention how bad this section of road was?) which they decided to stop for.  That’s when I made my move. While they were slowing down and regrouping, I took off. I laid down the hammer determined to leave them behind me. I put down a couple 23-24mph splits and effectively dropped them for the rest of the ride.

Anyone ever had a bad pace group experience like that? How did you handle it?

After that, I continued to surge forward with the momentum.  The only fault with this ride was that there was a good 30 mile section with no aid station. It was the longest stretch without aid and I was running dry on both my bottles.  Other than that, my nutrition was spot on – drink every 15 minutes, 3 Chomps every 30 minutes.

I ended up finishing the ride in 5:05:05 (and this was my 5th century of the year – weird) for a total of 104 miles! Granted, it was a pretty flat course.  However, with a flat course, there is almost no time to coast and rest the legs. It is like riding on the trainer; continual, consistent pedaling.

Overall, it was a great ride and was another confidence boast.

After the ride, I headed home and got in a quick 30 minute suffering run.  Man did the run suck.  The sun had come out in full force and it sucked all the sap from me.  Good practice though.

With the run complete, it was time for Jennie and I to head up North.  My boss’s daughter was getting married at their cottage and Jennie and I were helping out as bartenders for the evening.  So, for 6 hours, Jennie and drank poured beer and wine.  Jennie had never poured beer from a tap before, but in no time she had mastered the skill.  And don’t worry, the bad test pours did not go to waste.  MMMMmmmm… Oberon…


It was a gorgeous wedding and we had a great time. I actually knew quite a few people at wedding because I went to same high school as my boss’s daughter and have done computer work for a lot of my boss’s friends and family.

The groom’s father is a world renowned pastry chef, so let’s just say the cake was pretty good.  And by “pretty good”, I mean life changing.  There was both a chocolate and vanilla cake and while both were amazing the chocolate was heavenly.

Photo Jul 16, 8 58 00 PM

Cake and beer on the beach after a long day. Not a bad way to end the day.  However, by the end of the night we were both exhausted.

Thanks for reading! I hope everyone had a fun and exciting weekend.  I’m looking forward to reading all the race reports from everyone who raced.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2011/07/17/ride-report-holland-hundred


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  1. Matt Smith

    What a great ride! I’m glad you dropped those guys in the paceline. I HATE unfriendly riders, and it seems like there are more and more of them. There is no reason to be a jerk. I went to Rob Bell’s church yesterday in Grand Rapids (www.marshill.org), and I thought about you. Keep up the good work. Steelhead in 27 days!

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Getting excited for Steelhead??? 🙂 It is going to be a blast.

      We’ve been to Mars Hill a couple of times. It is about a half hour drive away during which we pass probably 3 dozen other churches (at least) which makes it hard to go to all the time. What did you think of it?

      1. Matt Smith

        Mars Hill was pretty cool. I liked the atmosphere and general vibe there. I liked how chill it was. There wasn’t too much connection with other people there, but I think that’s because it is such a big church. Rob Bell always does a nice job preaching. The music was great. We did communion, and it was fine although I thought it was played down a little bit. Overall, I enjoyed my time there.

        I’m getting some nerves about Steelhead like I’m not prepared enough. I’ve been strugglin’ with the running. I’ve been swamped with classes/work/training, but I’ll post a recap blog pretty soon. Keep up the good work with your training.

  2. rachel

    Great ride!

    When you have 1h15m/30m brick on the schedule and decide to ride 100 instead, do you make any modifications to your schedule to accommodate is the surrounding days? I am planning to do this 2 weeks from now and would love any advice…

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      I semi-adjusted my schedule – probably not as much as I should have though. I didn’t skip any workouts on previous days, but I did back off on the intensity. Friday was an hour ride that was supposed to have hill intervals at Z4. Instead, I just did an easy hour ride to spin my legs and keep them loose.

      I’ve gotten to the point this year were I have absolutely fallen in love with biking. Out of the 3 disciplines, if I had to chose one, it would probably be biking which is shocking to myself coming from a running background. So, getting the extra miles in the bike for me is just plain fun and I have no problem adding on a few.

      Good luck on your upcoming century!

  3. BDD

    You can bring a TT to a group ride, that is fineas long as your on your horns the whole time, might get a couple jokes about it, the riding in aero is the part your not suppose to do.

    I been in my share of bad pacelines, way too many in my opinion, best thing to do is take control of the line. If there are riding on rough terrain and its smoother 2 feet to the left. Then just move to the left, either the paceline will follow you or they will close the gap that you left open. More then likely, they will see how smart you were and join the group, second is take the pull and start using signals, both audible and with your hands, its a chain reaction for most people, they more then likely will do the same, third is just drop them, like you did
    BDD recently posted..Q&A with BDD

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Yeah, I spent 40 miles on the horns when I joined up with a pace group a while back. Doable, but not fun at all. It has to be the least comfortable way to ride a TT bike.

      I’m still not comfortable enough in pace line to take control as I had never ridden with more than one person before this year. It’ll come with time though I guess. That is sort of the shocking thing about it though. I consider myself a newbie at it still and yet these veterans have piss poor etiquette. It’s like I want to pull them off their bikes and teach them how to ride correctly.

      And, quite honestly, out the three options, #3 (dropping them) has to be the most satisfying feeling (at least for a triathlete).

  4. Jeff Irvin

    Pretty cool you could do this ride in the middle of training. IT is always nice when you can switch it up and get catered rest stops along the way – just like IM!

    Those paceline snafu’s always happen in these large charity rides. Just stay off the extensions and wait for a chance to get out. I did a century ride with 1800 people yesterday and this happened a few times. At times I was seriously wondering how certain riders made it to adulthood being this stupid?
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Things that Bother Me …

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Thankfully, the immigrant (guy wearing a TX bike jersey) was not in the aggressive pace group. Haha.

      The catered rest stops were nice. However, they looked at me funny when I approached yelling “Water!” or “Perform!”. Apparently I had to serve myself. Slackers.

  5. Jon

    When I was a road biker, I didn’t know what a triathlete looked like.

    Now that I am a triathlete, I have lost some respect for road bikers. They are a bunch of………meat heads! haha!

    Ok, to be fair, that is a broad generalization, but I just don’t see that kind of attitude amongst most triathletes. Wow….another generalization! I am doing awesome! 😉

    You def rocked that ride. You are now ready for IMFL! haha!

    Busy day for ya! Beer = recovery food?
    Jon recently posted..The Official How to Track or Stalk Jon @ Lake Placid Post

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Haha. Two generalizations in one comment. Nice work 😛

      I agree though. I have absolutely nothing against road bikers and I have honestly met a lot of great ones on the few group rides I have done, but there sure are a lot of d-bags too. And, in all fairness, I have bumped in a few meat head triathletes, but they seem to few and far between.

      I actually had the same thought while I was riding! Maybe I can squeeze in IMFL or IMAZ after IMWI???? haha

      And to be honest, the recovery beer was preceded by a recovery slurpee and a recovery $5 Little Caesars pizza. MMMMMmmmm… empty calories….

  6. Mary B

    Kevin and Jenny are amazing!! I am the mother of the bride (and the real boss) and we could not be more grateful and thankful to the most wonderful bartenders on earth!!!! Thanks again, Mary

  7. Chris @ Tri4Success

    Awesome! Some of my best rides are impromptu events, especially when you have plans afterwards. It just alters the whole mental approach. You want to go hard because of the day’s activities but you’re relaxed because the ride isn’t a part of “the plan”.

    As for the paceline issue, that’s common in rallies that cater to all levels. BDD’s response is the right approach.
    Chris @ Tri4Success recently posted..Lake Ladies and Swimming Strong

  8. Mandy

    Some riders are such freaking snobs. I don’t know much about pace lines, because the only thing I ever get to ride behind is a moose. That said, I have been on big rides with lots of people and some of the pace line people are just not smart. I swear, they get in that line and check their brain at the door or something. There are lots of super nice folks too, don’t get me wrong…but a few are just downright rude. This group called the Loan Rangers (a bunch of bankers) freaking sucks. They stick in my head. Them and Charlies Toyota. Bunch of meat heads, but I have a thing against car salesmen and bankers.
    Mandy recently posted..7 Days…

    1. Ironman By Thirty (Kevin)

      Ok, now the only thing I can think of is you drafting behind a moose. haha

      Not sure if you ever had Moose Drool beer or not, but they have an awesome bike jersey (http://store.bigskybrew.com/product_info.php?products_id=2413&sID=202102689e7ffeab232d83aa60e146b5). I saw a guy wearing one on my ride this past weekend. The sleeve (in the yellow part) says “Hold my beer and watch this.” How awesome is that? Sounds like Ironman training doesn’t it?

  9. Morgan

    Well done and I love the finish time! Seems like it was meant to be. I love that you got to spend the rest of the day celebrating as bartenders… I’d say that’s the perfect way to end a day like that!
    Morgan recently posted..Foto Friday

  10. Colleen

    Awesome ride Kevin… nothing better than a 100 mile catered ride. And you were smoking fast out there! 🙂

    The pace lines during rides like this scare me. Honestly, pace lines always scare me because I just not comfortable enough with them yet (I’m working on it), but these guys sound like they weren’t really comfortable with it either. Yikes… Glad you were able to get away.

  11. Beth

    What a great (unplanned) century! I have never ridden with a group before and would probably seriously screw up a pace line… but at least I know hand or verbal signals. No communication is just dangerous.

  12. Matt Oravec

    I am not comfortable enough to ride a pace line. Seriously, I would screw it up and people would go down haha.

    Like I already told you, holy flipping blazing fast batman!

    Love the catered rides. I have a few lined up for H and I to get some long rides in too. Too hard to pack all your nutrition yourselves.

    You made the right calls, awesome bike man.

    I can now say I totally agree with the statement that riding flats is like riding the trainer, no breaks, no relief, just buckle down and spin those legs!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Weekend Recap

  13. Heather

    Holy Hell Batman! Two words: SPEED DEMON!!!!

  14. lindsay

    you came in a little slow on the 1:15 goal time… 🙂 my tailbone is aching just reading about this.

    nice biking, bartending and cake eating though. i could go for that cake….
    lindsay recently posted..moonin’ my honey: i’m on a boat

  15. Elizabeth

    Nice work on that race–congrats! And the bar tending and cake sound like perfect post-race nutrition.
    Elizabeth recently posted..A Rightly Timed Pause

    1. Elizabeth

      Sorry…I meant congrats on your ride…I realized after I commented that it wasn’t a race, but a group ride. But a 100 miles! WOW! (I am new to the biking world and its strange non-runner vocabulary…haha)
      Elizabeth recently posted..A Rightly Timed Pause

  16. Ruth

    I’m not very fond of race, but I have always wanted to join a bicycle touring adventure. I know it will be a lot of fun. It is a good way to improve your physical and mental health. Plus, meeting all kinds of people with the same passion for biking is exciting. Though it was unfortunate for you to have encountered those rude bikers, nevertheless your bike tour was a success. By the way, the cake looks pretty. Now I’m hungry.

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