While only 21 years of age, Daniel Holloway is working towards a very clear goal, the track events – namely the Madison and Scratch races – at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. As part of his preparation, Holloway also races on the road, a member of the Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin team, the U23 development arm of the Garmin-Slipstream program.
Holloway along with his squad is currently racing the U23 Olympia’s Tour in the Netherlands and then will tackle Paris-Roubaix Espoirs at the end of May – an important race for the rider. “That’s what I’m hoping to be going really well for, I’d really, really like a result there.”
I caught up with Holloway – also known as Hollywood - a few days prior to his flight to Europe.
Roadie or trackie? When asked that question, Holloway’s answer was simple. “I’m a bike racer, I just love to race.”
At this point, there is no need to decide on one or the other. “I have to use the road to prepare for the Olympics in 2012, I have to do road races, stage racing, keep my training heavy on the road bike, and then do my specific work on the track to get ready for that. I don’t know if I’ll ever pick one over the other, there’s certainly opportunities to do both all year around.”
Both disciplines help each other, as “the endurance of the road carries over onto the track, the leg speed, the bike handling and the tactics on the track for sure help the road.”
So how did he get here? It’s all about speed, starting with skating and then bikes. “As soon as I could walk my dad put me on skates. When I was around 13 or 14, I needed a little bit more activity in the summer so my dad just took me to the velodrome and it started from there, I borrowed a track bike from a friend and next thing I know I’m racing.”
He added road biking to his repertoire to augment his training, especially as he lived over an hour away from the track. “I started racing crits and then started winning junior races and that gave me more opportunity to race and that’s what I love to do, just to race my bike.”
Holloway moved up through the junior ranks, continuing to race both on the track and road, grabbing multiple Track National titles and racing with the National Team abroad. In 2007, he joined his current team and in 2008 he won the Elite Criterium National Championships.
Back to the present. While many riders take some time off after the road season, Holloway along with Colby Pearce of the Garmin-Slipstream team, went on an adventure and raced the 6-days events in Europe, which can be described as track racing in the middle of a full blown party. He loved it.
“They are a blast. Probably one of the funnest things I’ve ever done on a bike, I hope to continue going to 6-days for as long as I race a bike. It’s unfortunate that nobody in the US has exposure to that, it’s just wild.”
In one of the events, the venue had multiple halls which offered not only track racing, but restaurants, dance hall, concert. “It’s such a great venue for entertainment and the bike racing is a part of that.”
Each venue is different. “In Munich, the bike racing was the sole of the entertainment, it was just depends where in Europe you go for the 6-days. Fans in Rotterdam show up for the show, the entertainment and to see bike racing, it all depends.”
Holloway enjoyed both the racing and the showmanship of it all. “I love racing and I love the entertainment side. For me, I pay attention to both sides. The music is loud, the crowds are insane, everybody is racing their bike, everybody is having a good time too.”
The Pearce-Holloway duo was the first American team to participate in 6-days events “since 2001 or 2002, as the last Americans to go before us left a bad taste in the promoter’s mouth.”
Acceptance. “It’s such a small circuit that for the longest time they didn’t need any Americans now with us being better riders and bigger names, they are bringing us in to see how we do and I think we did a really good job of presenting ourselves, racing hard and racing smart to show them that we are not a bunch of assholes.”
While the pair never finished in the top 5 in the overall they did have strong showings in the individual events and plan on going back.
Following the 6-days racing, Holloway and Pearce raced at the Track World Championship in Poland in March, with mostly self-imposed pressure.
“It was our first Worlds, and there was expectation and there was real pressure from myself mostly. After Copenhagen, I walked away with a bronze medal in my first world-level Scratch ever, so I had expectations of walking away with a medal at Worlds, that’s what I wanted and that’s what I showed up for. In the Scratch race, on that day it didn’t happen, a Scratch race at Worlds is a roll of the dice for the most part. In the Madison, I had a bad day, my legs came apart, the race mattered and Colby rode amazing, did his fair share for sure in that race. It was actually the best placing an American team has gotten in the World Championships in the Madison. I know that there were my first Wolds and I have to take away the experience but I also know that it just makes me hungry for the future to know that I can race at that level and getting a rainbow in the future.”
Holloway then came home to rest for a short period before embarking on his 2009 road season.
“A couple of days off the bike then a couple of easy days on the bike, just tried to refresh myself. I feel really good mentally and the body is following suit, all my training is going well and everything else so I can’t complain.”
It’s tough mentally and physically to go from road season to track season and back to road, but so far that’s the way Holloway likes it.
“I have a lot of variety and a lot of opportunities, a really good solid group of people around me to keep me fresh and motivated, I think my body just follows my mind and when my mind is good, I just keep riding. Ever since I could walk, I’ve raced.”
What type of sprinter are you? A question that Holloway has “been trying to figure that out in the past few years.”
As a junior, he was tagged with the label of raw sprinter which meant that the whole race needed to be flat but since then, he feels that he has started to climb “pretty well”.
“I think I need something with a hill in it, something with hard finishes, a stage like [the Tour de] Georgia where Richard England won, there was a small climb right before the finish. I think races like that but I wouldn’t count myself out for a raw speed finish either, I’m still young enough to figure it out and try a bunch of stuff out before I know exactly where I fit in.”
Holloway expanded his experience when he joined Garmin-Slipstream team as a stagiaire in 2008 and participated in the successful defense of Christian Vande Velde’s overall lead at the Tour of Missouri in September.
“Missouri was an amazing experience. It was a huge step because after the time trial, we had to look after Christian, day in and day out, instead of being a sprinter I was turned into … get bottles, get food, close gaps. For me it was a huge difference to be at the front, rotating with the guys to close gaps for 200k days, it was a huge workload and it taught me a lot on how to handle myself. It was a really good experience.”
Rivalries. The new U23 development Trek-Livestrong was announced this year and garnered a lot of media attention and I was curious to know if there were any budding rivalries between the teams.
“I get along with quite a few of the riders. When the [Trek-Livestrong] team was developed, people were talking about it saying that they would raise above our team and do better and everything like that. It hasn’t happened, they haven’t lived up to any expectations that anybody gave them. The Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin team has showed that we are not only the best U23 team in the county but we’re one of the best domestic teams in the country. The teams showed it at Redlands, we had the best young rider, 2 podium finishes and the team GC with all the other domestic teams that had been racing the circuit for years and years. That wasn’t a fluke and that’s going to happen again.”
“I’m not discounting that those guys aren’t good racers but as a team, we have really good riders, as a team they are not nearly as strong as us.”
For Holloway, the team showing and results at Redlands is a sign of things to come. “That just shows every other domestic pro team that a bunch of 20, 21 year olds are racing at that level and to be honest a few of the guys were not even on top form when they showed up. A small taste of what can happen in the future.”
Goals. Simply put, his goal for the 2009 season is to do as many races as he can. “This year, it would also be really good to win Crits Nationals again, to show people that the first time wasn’t a fluke, show people that I’m ready for the next step, take the next jump in cycling, pro-level.”
And then for 2010, the goal is to move up to a professional team. “Next year, I want to have a pro license and start doing a lot more pro races. It’s actually going to help me for my goal of 2012 and beyond. Whether I start winning right away or don’t start winning, it’s all a step forward. I want to make the step and I’m ready for whatever is next.”
What about joining a Pro Tour team? “We just to see where that takes it. I don’t necessarily think that you have to be a Pro Tour rider to be the top track racer in the world but if my level steps up there and all the opportunities fall into place, I would love to be riding in the Pro Tour in three years, that would be pretty awesome.”
And he does want to race all the big races. “The ones that you dream of when you first start bike racing, the Giro, the Tour, the Vuelta, Paris-Roubaix, Flanders, all the big races.”
And of course, the main objective the track events at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Lastly, I had to find out where the name Hollywood came from.
“I think it was 2005, the year that VMG was the national development team with USA Cycling, we had a big huge camp in Salt Lake City to do testing and to meet all the guys, we went to Holland after that. I showed up in Salt Lake City with a snazzy pair of white shoes on, nice jeans and looking good. I had a puma patent leather like day bag, and so Jim Miller, who is now Director of Athletics at USA Cycling, was there and I was the only guy he didn’t know on the team and so when I walked in, he was ‘nice purse’ and I was ‘it’s a man bag’, and he goes ‘you must be Daniel Holloway’, and ‘I am’ and he’s ‘it’s Hollywood’. From there, it started, and just in the past few years, people started calling that more and more.”
Follow Daniel Holloway on twitter: @The_Hollywood