The first in a series on racers in the Tour of America's Dairyland, the nation's largest competitive cycling event, which kicks off today.
The 11-day Tour of America’s Dairyland kicks off today with the Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic. The annual competitive cycling tour features 11 straight days of racing across the eastern part of the state from Neenah on the north to East Troy in the south, with many stops around Milwaukee. New to the tour this year is the Cafe Centraal Bay View Classic, which will have riders cruising around a three-quarters of a mile loop centered on S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
Races run throughout the day at each course and are free to the public to attend. As part of our coverage of the tour, we’ll be interviewing a number of riders. First up: Nathan Labecki, a 20-year-old Milwaukee cyclist who rides competitively at Marian University in Indianapolis. Labecki took home the top amateur title at last year’s tour.
How long have you been involved with the Tour of America’s Dairyland?
I have been racing ToAD since 2010.
Which race are you most looking forward to and why?
The Café Centraal Bay View Classic. It should be really cool because it’s only a couple miles from my house and I ride near the course often.
What is the most difficult aspect of this tour?
The most difficult aspect is definitely remaining mentally focused throughout the 11 days of racing. A lot can happen and it’s important to keep your mind in it.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of this tour?
Getting amped up by the crowds. If you’re having a bad race, but hear a few people calling your name it totally changes your mindset.
Is bike racing your profession? If not, what is?
Well, being that I’m only 20 years old I’m still a full time student. I go to school at Marian University in Indianapolis, Indiana. They have a huge reputation in the cycling community as the best collegiate cycling team in the country with 30 national titles.
Can you describe your fondest memory of bike riding?
I remember being a young kid and going down to the lakefront and riding these mountain bike trails right along Lake Michigan. We would ride these trails and there were cliffs right along the edge of the shore. These are still some of my favorite trails.
How do you know the members of your team?
I know them through racing against each other previously. With those I hadn’t raced, we’ve been traveling around to races and have gotten to know each other. We’ve got an awesome group on Alto Velo/SeaSucker Factory Racing. Super fun and fast bunch of guys.
What drew you to this event?
Just being local is what got me into it. Going and seeing the pros race when I was 14 or so was always super cool. Now it’s cool knowing I’m one of the racers someone is looking up to.
- June 18th – Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic
- June 19th – East Troy Cycling Classic
- June 20th – Giro d’Grafton
- June 21st – Waukesha Carl Zach Cycling Classic
- June 22nd – Milwaukee Mile Circuit Race
- June 23rd – Schlitz Park Criterium
- June 24th – Elkhart Lake Road Race at Road America
- June 25th – Neenah Rocket Criterium
- June 26th – Cafe Centraal Bay View Classic
- June 27th – ISCorp Downer Classic
- June 28th – East Tosa Gran Prix