Today in Spain, many of the world’s top road cyclists hit the pavement again as the Vuelta a España – the Tour of Spain – continues. It’s one of three Grand Tour events, along with the Giro d’Italia, and the Tour de France.
Saturday morning in Wisconsin, some dedicated cyclists will hit the road in Dubuque, Iowa. They’ll cross the Mississippi River, and then ride across Wisconsin to Kenosha in a single day.
Unlike the Grand Tour, this is not a race.
The inaugural Ride Across Wisconsin, or RAW, is being organized by the Wisconsin Bike Federation and the people planning it have high hopes for a long future.
Starting across the Mississippi River, riders will trek across scenic, low traffic roads for 175 miles and end with a lap and a half around the Washington Park Velodrome in Kenosha.
Wisconsin Bike Federation Deputy Director Dave Schlabowske thinks Wisconsin's roads create a distinct advantage for riders and will be able to create opportunities for similar rides in the future.
"One of the things that makes cycling in Wisconsin such a special thing is our quiet paved town road network," Schlabowske explains. "Most other states, when you get down to these really low-volume roads, they end up being gravel."
The thought behind RAW is to create a challenging, but fun, ride across Wisconsin that will attract people from across the country to join Wisconsin cyclists in a unique tour of the lower state. In its first year, the ride is being kept relatively simple, but the Federation hopes to offer more options for riders in the future.
Update: More than 400 people made the 175-mile trek across the state on a cool, rainy Saturday. Among those finishing near the front was longtime German pro cyclist Jens Voigt, who competed in many world-class events over his career, twice wearing the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. We caught up Voigt now works and coaches for the Wisconsin-based team, Trek Factory Racing, at the finish line in Kenosha.