ToAD: a pot of gold?

Bicycle races bring spectators, racers from across the country (and world) and lots of money to the local communities that host them, and they are easier to find than a pot of gold. (thanks to Pete DiAntoni for letting me poach his Q flash after I put mine away!)

The Tour of America’s Dairyland is the nation’s largest competitive cycling event and it is happening right here in Wisconsin. It might not quite be the Tour de France, but with all the spectator-friendly criterium style races, ToAD might offer and even better pro-cycling ticket. Across the country, and even the world, Wisconsin has long been known as a great place for bike racing. The legend of Otto Wenz and Super Week (The International Cycling Classic) lives on through the ToAD races, many of which run on the same courses Otto pioneered.

White knuckle, fast paced action is the name of the game in criterium racing like this downhill corner on the Schlitz Park course last night.

Otto Wenz, back in the day.

This year Otto will be honored at the start of the pro men’s races at the ISCorp Downer Classic and the new East Tosa Gran Prix. If you have not already been to a race, some of the best courses for spectating are still to come. I am particularly fond of watching the Downer Classic Race, which is packed with spectators, vendors and features but the Ben’s Cycle Super Prime (sometimes up to $10K ). As cool as Downer is, I am particularly excited for the East Tosa Gran Prix because that is in my back yard!  It will be a great opportunity for spectating and to promote all the great new businesses that have opened on the east side of Wauwatosa.

Bike racing let’s you get really close to the action.

You can get a feel for how the races are going and who to watch for by reading Tom Held’s great blog The Active Pursuit. Tom has been covering most of the races this year. If you do come out to the races, look for me and say hi. I will be the guy laying in the gutter hiding behind a Nikon D4.



About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

8 thoughts on “ToAD: a pot of gold?

    • The business model for ToAD is to hold races where there is an active business community that promotes and helps organize the race. The team at ToAD did not find that in Madison (surprisingly), and they had bigger demand from the business strip in ‘Tosa. Sorry you lost a good race, but at least it just moved to a new neighborhood rather than completely going away. The ToAD really can’t take too many more races on the schedule. People can only take off so many days to race in a series.

  1. Thank you ToAD and local sponsors! My wife and I have been fortunate enough to host some of the Pepper Palace Women’s Pro team the last two years and they love the venues as do we! Favorite run is Schlitz Park as it’s in our backyard!

    • Thank you and your family for hosting Gregg. Our family has hosted racers many times as well. It has always been a wonderful experience. The races couldn’t happen without host families.

  2. Even through The Carl Zach Race happen this last weekend in Waukesha it is to bad you did not mention this race since it is also part of ToAD and has been part of Super Week and more recently ToAd for the last couple of years. It is another race that the Milwaukee area can take in.

    • Mark,

      You bet, the Waukesha race is great as well. The Fond du lac road course offers incredible rural scenery, the Elkhart Lake course is unique too. Grafton is growing a big following. In fact, all the races are great. I had to pick a couple to mention, so I just wrote about what I know best. But definitely people should check out all the races.

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