The scene at Mitchell Park will transform from tranquil to turbulent as the second annual “Cross the Domes” cyclocross races skid their way into Clarke Square on Oct. 1.
The grueling, spectator-friendly races will involve more than 300 riders and stretch across the park, up its hills and even through the sand pits, according to Paul Warloski, committee member of the Wisconsin Cycling Association (WCA), and member of the My Wife Inc. (MWI) cycling team. The WCA is organizing this race and 12 others across Wisconsin this year.
“I like to think of it as a two-wheeled steeplechase, where you go as hard as you can for 45 minutes,” Warloski said.
Along with the race, festivities will include the “Clarke Square Moving” fundraising event, organized by the Clarke Square Neighborhood Initiative. That event will feature outdoor games and contests, movement classes, health screenings and a bike parade.
The day will kick off with the community event at 10 a.m., followed by a youth bike race at 12:15 p.m. Then come the pros. Race sponsors include Braeger Chevrolet and Tri-City Mitsubishi. Donations can still be made, with proceeds from the community event—as well as $1 from each of the cyclists’ entry fees—going toward installation of speed bumps and bicycle lanes in Clarke Square.
Placing speed bumps in the neighborhood is critical, according to Jessica Herzog, assistant director for community relations at Journey House.
“Because 27th St has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, local residents have noticed cars avoiding Layton Boulevard and speeding down side streets,” Herzog said. “Installing speed bumps at strategic locations, especially near Longfellow School, will help avoid a dangerous situation.”
The race and community event align with Clarke Square’s Quality of Life Plan, one of the goals of which is to promote a bike-friendly community for youth and families in the neighborhood.
“Becoming active is one of the cornerstones to being healthy, and biking is a great way to help your mind and body,” said Herzog.
Herzog and Warloski also said that aside from bicycling being economical and good for you, it is an underused form of transportation. They both said that by making it easier to bike, people will look at it as an alternative and safe way to get around.
Warloski added, “I think it’s important to create an atmosphere where people feel safe and there’s a mutual respect for bicycles and vehicles in our neighborhoods.”