The weather for the Lowlands Group Spring Classic Series (suspended for 2020) has always been unpredictable. I have ridden in rain, sleet and snow. I don’t want to jinx it for next year, but every time I have ridden the Holland to the Cut La Crosse area Classic, the weather has been sunny and warm. This year was no exception, as the sun was shining and it was in the 60s at the start of the ride.
About 80 people showed up for the 55-mile ride, which leaves from Onalaska, rolls through New Amsterdam, Holland and up to the Mindoro Cut, the deepest hand-hewn cut in the United States.
La Crosse and the Driftless Region are well known as cycling nirvana. The county populations are low, so there is relatively little motor vehicle traffic once you hit the paved town road network. While the terrain is enough to test your legs, the gorgeous scenery and ear-to-ear downhills are worth the climbs.
The ride to the Cut is one of my favorites in the series, passing through Holland and New Amsterdam. The local organizers mark the course well, and even stash water along the route as there are few places open on a Sunday morning to refill bottles before you get to Mindoro. If you have time, you might want to stop at Top Dawgs Pub and Grub, home to 108 burgers! Yep, they are actually listed twice in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
The route is a loop, with a five-mile out-and-back through the small town of Mindoro and up the last and largest climb to “The Cut.” Like most town roads in La Crosse County, the traffic is very light. This route is also popular with motorcycle riders.
The Mindoro Cut is 74 feet deep, 86 feet long, and 25 feet wide, making it is the second-deepest cut built by hand in the Western Hemisphere and the oldest functional cut which has not been improved upon. Work on the cut began in 1907 and concluded in 1908; the project was completed primarily with hand tools.
The starts and ends at the Red Pines Restaurant in Brice Prairie. The Red Pines has great food and a nice screened in patio overlooking Lake Onalaska. If you come on the scheduled day for the Spring Classic, expect to ride with a group of 75-100 people. The front group rides at 20 mph or more and there are other slower groups down to about an average of 12 mph.
- Windmill Farm: About 14 miles into the route is an old farm with a collection of windmills in the yard along the the north side of the County Highway T.
- The Mindoro Cut: The cut is 74 feet deep, 86 feet long, and 25 feet wide, making it is the second-deepest cut built by hand in the Western Hemisphere, the oldest functional cut which has not been improved upon and the deepest in the United States. Work on the cut began in 1907 and concluded in 1908; the project was completed primarily with hand tools.
- Red Pines Bar and Grill, W7305 County Rd Z, Onalaska, WI 54650 (608) 779-2800
Good food, craft beer, nice screened in deck overlooking Lake Onalaska
- Top Dawgs Pug & Grub, N8292 County Road C, Mindoro, Wisconsin 54644 (608) 857-3077
Home to 108 burgers, listed twice in Ripley’s Believe Or Not.