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Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW) veteran Lynne Senkerik, from Wauwatosa, will be among the passionate cyclists taking on the epic 2024 RAW August 17-18! This will be Lynne’s fifth RAW.

Lynne Senkerik keeps coming back for the challenge. In 2016 and again in 2017, Lynne rode from Dubuque on the Iowa border to Kenosha. Then in 2021 she rode from La Crosse to Green Bay and in 2022 from La Crosse to Milwaukee. Each year she’s opted to finish her RAW challenge in one day.

Lynne, what inspired you to register and take on the Bike Fed’s 2024 RAW? 

I really enjoyed participating in RAW in the past, and I just couldn’t make it work last year. I also love the comments I receive when people find out I’ve ridden my bike from La Crosse to Milwaukee in one day. Most say they don’t even like driving that far. My goal has been to complete the ride to Milwaukee in a shorter amount of time than 2022. That goal will wait as this year I have opted for the one-day ride to Waterloo. 

Lynne has hundreds of RAW miles behind her and is looking forward to more in 2024.

From past epic rides, what are your favorite memories?

The people I’ve met are so wonderful and motivating. It’s fun talking with people who are participating. I’ve met people from other states, some who have never been to Wisconsin. They come just for the ride.

I also love seeing the different parts of the state. It’s such a beautiful ride, and the volunteers at the rest stops are so nice. 

I rode RAW 2016 by myself. I had never ridden over 100 miles before, but I felt up for the challenge. The energy at the start in Dubuque, just over the Iowa border, was motivating. I set a pace and just kept going. My husband met me at the rest stops to make sure I was OK, and he motivated me to continue on.

For RAW 2017, I wasn’t nervous as I knew the logistics and the route. I started alone again, but ended up meeting Liz, who I knew from the gym, so I was able to ride with her and her two friends. Having a group to ride with made the ride a bit easier and quite enjoyable, even though some of those hills were quite difficult. I also got to meet pro racer Jens Voigt on that ride!

Lynne takes a break during RAW to meet professional cycling legend Jens Voigt. You never know who you’ll meet on RAW.

The 2021 RAW La Crosse to Green Bay ride was probably my favorite. I was very nervous at the start as I had never ridden over 200 miles in one day. I was again riding alone, but my husband was able to be there for me at each rest stop.

The ride traveled through parts of the state that were familiar to me, so, as I rode, it brought back a lot of memories of times spent in central Wisconsin. I had such a feeling of accomplishment when I finished that ride. I’ll never forget the woman at the finish celebration who saw my ride number and asked if I had just signed up for the ride. When I told her I had just signed up two weeks prior, the look of surprise on her face really made the ride more epic.

The 2022 La Crosse to Milwaukee RAW started out nice because I had my teammate Paul to ride with to Waterloo. It was so nice having someone to ride with from the start. My husband met us at each rest stop, where I was able to switch between my road bike and my gravel bike for the different terrain. The Elroy-Sparta section was slippery in spots, so I was thankful I was on my gravel bike. Once we got off the Merrimac Ferry southeast of Baraboo, the rains started. I’ve never ridden in such a rainstorm. I discovered rain is very noisy when it falls on a cornfield. The weather improved a bit once I got to Waterloo so I continued on. 

Lynne and riding teammate Paul Doty before the early start of the 2022 RAW.

After miles on the road that day, I really hit a wall when I got to the Glacial Drumlin trail in Lake Mills. I couldn’t get any speed and it was hard hanging on to the handlebars. I was so tired and really wanted to quit once I reached Bicycle Doctor in Delafield, but Kate at the rest stop was so motivating. She encouraged me to continue on as she knew that was my usual training route. So, after a little longer break at the rest stop I continued on. The rains had stopped and I knew exactly where I was, so I was really motivated to finish before the time cut-off. There was nothing better than hearing my name announced as I finished the ride at 9:35 p.m. I was so happy I made it before 10 p.m. Kim, one of the volunteers at the finish, told me I was one of nine or 10 women to finish in time. That meant a lot. I learned so much about myself on this ride. I am stronger and more determined than I ever knew. That ride was truly epic at 235 miles!

RAW is not just a ride, it’s an experience, and I’m so thankful my husband and I are able to share in the experience.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of this year’s Ride Across Wisconsin? 

I am looking forward to riding. Wisconsin is a beautiful state and it’s so nice experiencing the beauty while I’m on my bike. I may not be fast, but I know I can do the distance.

What would you say to others, regardless of age, to encourage and motivate them to take on this Wisconsin cycling challenge?

The support is amazing. The rest stops are frequent, and the volunteers are amazing. If you have a mechanical, support is just a phone call away. The bike patrol is available if you have a medical issue. Don’t be afraid, just ride. 

Cycling is a passion for your whole family. What inspires your family’s love of cycling?

My husband started racing mountain bikes in 1999 when some of the guys he worked with told him about the Wisconsin Off-Road Series. That year he won a bike at the year-end banquet and told me that I should start racing, too, since we then had two bikes. Our boys would go along to the races. They saw how much fun we had and the friendships that we were making along the way. We have so many wonderful friends that we’ve met riding our bikes.

Lynne and her husband, John, cross the finish line of the Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Race in the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

What makes cycling as a family fun for you personally?

I love the weekends and cherish the time we’ve spent together at races and traveling to and from races. I don’t race mountain bikes as often as I used to. Now I enjoy watching my husband and my son race. I just enjoy riding. 

How does cycling help you connect with your family? 

My son started racing when he was in high school. He continued racing while in college. I feel cycling helped us be more connected to him while he was away at school. It gave us a lot to talk about, and still does.

What other thoughts would you like to share about cycling?

Just go ride. You don’t have to go fast or far. It just feels good to be on a bike. There are so many things to see while riding. I like it because I can ride with friends, or I can ride alone. Through cycling, I learned how strong I am!

Lynne is equally eager to take on mountain and road riding challenges.

Why is supporting the Wisconsin Bike Fed important to you? 

I appreciate all the Wisconsin Bike Fed does to advocate for our cycling community.

Bike Fed Note: Our thanks to Lynne and Bike Fed member/volunteer author Doug Freeman for sharing her biking/RAW experiences and inspiration! Lynne and husband, John, have been Bike Fed members since 2013.

Do you want to learn more about Ride Across Wisconsin and how you can create incredible memories August 17-18?

Visit RideAcrossWisconsin.com, invite a friend, register to participate, and start training!