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One of Milwaukee's biggest bike races has returned

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 18:35:40-04

MILWAUKEE — It's one of the biggest bicycle races of the year in Wisconsin, so a little bad weather wasn't going to keep these cyclists from competing. But of course as all things go, the day started with these fateful words:

“From what I understand, we have more weather tomorrow. Today should be okay," Tom Schuler, the co-founder of Tour of America's Dairyland, said.

It in fact did rain. It poured. There was thunder and lightning. So there was a bit of a delay, but that was for the second race of the day. The first one went off without a hitch, except for when it started raining at the very end of the race.

It was all part of the Tour of America's Dairyland race. Over 11 days, competitors race in cities from Janesville to Manitowoc. On Thursday, the race was held on Downer Avenue in Milwaukee for the Downer Avenue Classic.

Tour of America's Dairyland
A group of women riders compete in the first race of the day at the Downer Avenue Classic.

First time racer Guarina Lopez is representing a team consisting of women of color who want to raise awareness and increase the number of minority and transgender cyclists in these types of races.

“You know, women don’t feel very welcome. People of color don’t feel very welcomed, and it’s - so it’s important because we need to be seen. People need to know that we are already out here," she said.

Lopez is from the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Arizona, but is based out of Washington D.C. In fact, riders from all over the country came to this 11-day race.

“On a national scale, like I said, these cyclists have been thinking about this all winter and hoping that the tour of America's Dairyland will be back," founder of the race, Schuler, said.

In 2020, the race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It almost didn't happen this year because of Milwaukee County's COVID-19 guidelines. However, once those were lifted, organizers put the race together at lightning speed.

The rain did eventually let up and riders got back out there. After a year-long wait, nothing was going to hold these cyclists back.

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