Holland to The Cut, La Crosse Spring Classic Report

If you like gravel, you gotta love this.

It is 40 degrees and raining outside as sit in my office, as I write this post. It was sunny and 80 degrees by the time I made it up to the Mindoro Cut on last week’s Spring Classic Ride. Between the Dairy Roubaix and the Holland to the Cut Spring Classic, I rode about 130 miles with almost 10,000 ft of climbing. This weekend I got in about 20 miles between grocery shopping and a trip to the dog park. I wasn’t able to make it up the the Strada Fango this weekend, as I was home with the dogs while my wife was out of town.

There is only one rest stop on the Dairy Roubaix, but at least they have all the essentials. Well, they don’t have venison jerky…maybe I can help correct that next year. More Dairy Roubaix photos at the Bike Fed’s Photoshelter Gallery here.

Without any fun rides for the weekend, I thought I would take the time to relive last weekend. The weekend of the Dairy Roubaix and the La Crosse Spring Classic is always one of my favorites. I get to Wyalusing State Park Friday night, sleep over in the Ellis bunk house, wake up and eat oatmeal and coffee and set out to ride as much of the 107 mile long route of the Dairy Roubaix as my legs and water supply allow. I typically make it to Millville when I decide to turn back. Thankfully, the second half of the Dairy Roubaix offers numerous short cuts for the weary and dehydrated.

This was the second year the Dairy Roubaix has been run by Peter and Alycann from Blue Dog Cycles and the Vernon Trails. The ride is free, but Vernon Trails managed to raise more than $6,000 in donations from the 400 people who showed up to ride. That is not a bad collection for a small non-profit. Thanks so much to the organizers, Stewart and Michelle, and all the volunteers who make the event possible. Congratulations for selling out again too!

This year I got in about 75 miles and around 7,000 ft of climbing. I finished in about 6 and a half hours with half a bottle of water left and a smile on my face. I call that a successful ride. The fastest riders finish the full 107 miles in the same time it takes me to ride 75 miles, but this is not a race so who cares? Honestly, I find it inspiring with a couple of the women on the Trek Midwest team ride away from me chatting with each other as I gasp for air on a climb. Genetic gifts not withstanding, their fitness just pushes me to ride more and dig deeper. There but for the miles and training go I is what I typically think.

High five on the iconic Doug Way on the Dairy Roubaix.

While I was riding toward the back this year, I heard that the front group at the Holland to the Cut Spring Classic ride was pushing 27 mph too. I got this report from the local host and ride organizer, Rick Dermeier

For me, I rode with some nice folks from Baraboo.  They were comparing the bluffs to the hills around Devils Lake.  I also spoke with three young ladies that I didn’t realize that I know from Wautoma.  They were talking about Wade’z Bikes in Wautoma while I was walking by just before the start of the ride.  Soon we realized that I had joined a group ride organized by Wade last July that one of the young ladies also participated in.  I remember her well because she beat me to the town line!  Of course, the ride through Holland with members of the La Crosse Velo and EMAG groups was exhilarating, clipping along at 25 – 27 mph.  Big shout out to Karl Tillman, who rode with the lead group for most, if not all of the ride on a fat tire bike!  Who the heck is this guy!

If you have not done this ride to the Mindoro Cut, it is worth the trip to La Crosse. The route is super low traffic, very scenic, and has enough climbing to keep you honest, but it won’t kill you. I always have to pack up and drive back to Milwaukee as soon as I finish, but I have had some good food before the ride at the Red Pines Bar and Grill in Onalaska, where the ride starts and finishes.

It is a testimony to the great cycling scene in the La Crosse area that they can draw as many or more people to a Spring Classic Ride in a community of 100K when Milwaukee and Madison rides might not attract that many.

My apologies to anyone on the ride who wanted his or her passport stamped. I didn’t do a good job coordinating with the ride leader, and we missed the chance to stamp passports. Only on person entered the raffle, so guess what, he was the winner! For those keeping track of Flanders Points, with the high temperatures and sunshine, this ride scored 50. Next year I will do a better job figuring out these details in advance with all the local organizers. I guess this is just growing pains, as we only had a handful of rides last year and this year we had 11 Spring Classics.

There are lots of windmills on this ride. They are all at the same farm, but there are lots of windmills.

Made it!

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

3 thoughts on “Holland to The Cut, La Crosse Spring Classic Report

  1. Great Report, Dave. The weather, organization, and group of people were great to spend 50+ miles with through the bluffs of Wisconsin. It’s always a blessing to have enough miles in the legs to use the Fat Bike on one of these Classics. Looking forward to next year’s ride and seeing new faces.

  2. I don’t see any string cheese or curds in your food photo. If you call yourself “Dairy” Roubaix, “all the essentials” should include some cheese.;)

  3. The ride up to the Mindoro Cut is much more bicycle-friendly since it was downgraded from a state highway (WI 108) to a county road (La Crosse County C).  The old highway ‘C’, which actually was a newer, wider, and better road, was renumbered to become WI 108.


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