(WFRV) – Seemingly nothing felt normal in the summer of 2020. Fast forward a year later and things are turning the corner for many events around the state. That includes the Tour of America’s Dairyland bike race, which rolls through Manitowoc on Monday and Tuesday this week.
“We love racing. So to be able to do it, it’s a lot of fun being with everyone, competing, and having a good time,” said Kyle Demerach of Green Bay.
Many bicyclists will race all twelve days with stops in Milwaukee, Grafton, Janesville, and Manitowoc.
“The course was really nice. The big sweeper with the hill was not so bad. It was a fun course, people cheered, and it was great to be here,” said Megan Kelly of Chicago.
“Milwaukee always has so much racing, Milwaukee and Madison, so it’s nice to have something closer. It was really nice to get down here on a weekday and do some racing,” said Demerach.
One of the big challenges this year for the organizers was setting the schedule for the series. Manitowoc, who has not hosted an event since 2009, was a big part of making sure the tour would happen this year.
“It’s fantastic. It’s on lake Michigan, the Badger Ferry is right over there, The Maritime Museum is a big factor in all of this. People love to see what the flavor is from community to community, and that’s what Manitowoc offers,” said executive director and founding partner Bill Koch.
That Wisconsin flavor is another important aspect of what makes the Tour of America’s Dairyland a unique event that shows off different and special.
“The bike race part of it is the same every day. We set up the stage, we pay the prize purse, we bring the racers, but every day we encourage those communities to do something a little bit different. To say, ‘hey, this is what Manitowoc’s all about’ That’s really what the riders who come to race here look forward too is seeing the different cities,” said Koch.
After the year that was 2020, having an event like the tour is important regardless if you finish first or last. Both Demerach and Kelly won their respective races on Monday. Still it’s about getting the band, or bike community, back together again.
Even if you’ve been racing for years or just got back on the bike recently.
“This week I just want to finish all ten races. That’s it. So this is super extra gravy. So far so good, but lets talk again in a week,” said Kelly.
The cycling community in Green Bay and this area is great. We ride on the weekends and during the week with these same guys. So, you always have a lot of fun together. It’s great to race together, and just fun being out there with everyone,” said Demerach.