By Jason McDowell Creative Director Published Jun 24, 2021 at 12:02 PM

With the last four races in the Tour of America's Dairyland returning to the Milwaukee area starting Thursday, now might be a good time to brush up on what each jersey color indicates.

Bike racing aims to be an accessible sport and provide entry points for novices of all ages and genders, while still offering stiff competition for those with more experience. As participants add speed, skills and successes to their race histories, they can advance through tougher and tougher categories (called Cats).

Because of these categories, a typical day at The Tour of America's Dairyland is portioned out into several rounds of racing, from juniors to novice adults (Cat 5), advancing through Cats 4-1, and finally—if you're good enough—the pro level.

Participants can choose to compete in as many or as few races as they want, but there is an overall competition, called the Omnium, which aims to find the fastest rider of the series by accumulating points across each race that's based on a rider's finishing position.

When racers cross the finish line, a camera notes their race number and position, then judges award descending points to each rider in the top 20; the first-place rider is awarded 30 points while the 20th-placed rider gets 1. As points are accumulated across the 11 days of racing, the person with the lowest amount of points is awarded a coveted cow-print jersey (among other sponsor prizes).

When finishers take to the podium, there could be two winners: the person who crossed the line first, and the person who is leading the Omnium competition. On the other hand, a single person could earn 3 jerseys all at once. A Cat 2 racer could sweep the stage win, the Cat 2 jersey and the overall leader's jersey as well!

Because there are multiple categories of racing throughout the day, there are winners taking the stage every hour. So, with so many winners, how do you know who is leading what competition? There is a different color of cow print (and attached sponsor) that is associated with each race category, which is helpfully broken down below:

Junior Boys & Girls:
Red Jones Family
Juniors Boys:
17-18 - Cat 2 Sky Blue  
Cat 5 (Novice) Turquoise Kwik Trip
Cat 3/4 Turquoise Kwik Trip
Cat 2 Green Oarsman Capital
Overall Yellow Kwik Trip
Cat 4/5 (Novice) Purple Pez Cycling
Cat 3/4 Blue Briohn Building
Cat 2/3 Light Blue Ascension Medical Group
Cat 2 Green Oarsman Capital
Overall Yellow Kwik Trip
Masters Men:
40+/50+ - 1/2/3 Black KS Energy
Masters Men:
50+/60+ - 1/2/3 Black KS Energy
Women & Men Green Associated Bank

There is also an additional jersey for the Lowlands Lion Prime sprint competition at locations featuring a Lowlands Cafe (Downer Classics today, and Tosa Village Classic on Sunday). The sprint competition is essentially a race within the race, and it will be announced at approximately the halfway between each race.

Lowlands Lion Prime sprint competition:
All categories Multi-Colored Lowlands Grand Cafe

Now study up, go, and be in the know.

Jason McDowell Creative Director

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.