Most of the races during the Tour of America's Dairyland are criteriums, which means that riders are racing around a short, looped course. Fans can appreciate such courses because it brings their favorite riders around and around and gives the ability to cheer for your favorites regularly throughout the race.
Racers, on the other hand, might prefer a road race instead, a point-to-point race that isn't quite so repetitive and is always throwing new challenges their way. Spectators can still cheer for their favorite racers, but it's a less active role. You have a picnic, get up and cheer as the riders fly by, then return to your picnic.
The Tour of America's Dairyland's eighth stage provided a nice mix between the two. The long loop of nearly ten miles of rolling hills, scenic forest, and twisted country back roads dotted with dairy farms served as the backdrop for Stage 8, where Sarah Caravella (Team CARD) and James Stemper (Kenda Pro Cycling pb GEARGRINDER) closed the day in yellow.
The sixth and final lap around the day's 10-mile loop for the Pro Women ended with a spectacular field sprint. Carrie Cash Wooten (Team Vera Bradley Foundation), demonstrated once again her tremendous sprinting ability to snatch the win on the inside from Overall leader Caravella (Team CARD) who was pushing hard on the outside. Cari Higgins (Peanut Butter and Co TWENTY 12) made the day's top three complete with Caravella holding onto the yellow jersey.
The scorching overhead rays combined with extreme uphill climbs and fast descents made for a brutal day of extreme racing but seeing past the burn, racers including Men's podium star Yosvany Falcon (Bahati Foundation) commented on how they appreciated the beauty and intricacies of the course. Taking in the scenic landscape, even ToAD announcer Todd Busteed donned an ABD Cycling kit to race in Masters 4/5 and light-heartedly joked that he perhaps could have used a little more training to tame the beast known as the Greenbush road course.
The men's race saw a dozen or so riders off the front for the last three laps but it boiled down to a hellacious uphill sprint, which Falcon (Bahati) nailed, at the nearly 80-mile mark as Aurelion Passeron (Garneau) and Mike Northey (Rubicon Orbea) bit down hard to lock in second and third, respectively.
The ever-shuffling story under the spotlight belongs to that of the Men's Leader jersey. Ownership shifted today as Rudolph Napolitano (Team Helen's) stood at third overall with Chad Hartley (Kenda Pro Cycling pb GEARGRINDER) returning to the second step and James Stemper (Kenda Pro Cycling pb GEARGRINDER) taking back the yellow and white spotted cow jersey after an impressive eighth place stage finish.
With Stemper in first place and teammate and team leader Hartley in second it will be interesting to see if the top spot overall will be eventually relinquished to the returning champion.
A rider who packed in more than she signed up for was Marnie Pearsall (Team GEARGRINDER) , a Cat 3/4 rider and physician of internal medicine, who braved the sticky air early morning to race and then was later called upon to assist with a potential injury during a Pro Men's crash on the course. Pearsall closed out her stint in Greenbush donning the yellow dress for the overall podium presentation.
Tour of America's Dairyland heads to Fond du Lac on Friday for the Fond du Lac Bicycling Gran Prix before returning to the Milwaukee area for the ISCorp Downer Classic on Milwaukee's East Side on Saturday. Closing ceremonies for the 11-day 2010 Tour of America's Dairyland will take place Sunday after the Carl Zach Cycling Classic in Waukesha.
You can continue to follow the action with daily race reports at tourofamericasdairyland.com.
Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.
In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.
Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.