Cross the Domes

Part of the reason I love the Domes at Mitchell Park is they were built in my lifetime (mid 60s) and have become one of Milwaukee’s most endearing landmarks and tourist attractions.  As kitschy as they are, they also educate thousands of visitors every year.

I visit the Domes for different reasons at different times of the year. When the dry air of winter has me feeling dessicated and freeze-dried, I take a vacation to the humid tropical dome.  I swear I gain five pounds as soon as I walk into the dome and my skin soaks in the moist air like a sponge.  During the summer the cool, dry air of the desert dome provides respite from Wisconsin’s hot and humid weather. My favorite time to visit the specialty dome is when bands are playing for the Music Under Glass series.

The only thing that beats a trip to the Domes is a trip to the Domes for a cyclocross race; enter Cross the Domes Saturday, part of the Wisconsin Cycling Association Crank Daddy’s Cyclocross Series. The twisty, off-camber grassy course on the Mitchell Park grounds not only challenged the racers, but it made for great spectating as it was easy to see most of the course without walking too far.

Russell from Dream Bikes gives a young racer a hand.

The race organizers worked with the Clarke Square neighborhood, Dream Bikes and Journey House to include active fun for everyone.  There was great Mexican food, Zumba, Merenge, and Bachata lessons, skateboard ramps with Sky High Skateboard Shop, hands-on learning activities with Kohl’s Design It! Lab, health screenings, bike workshops put on by Dream Bikes, bouncy inflatables, face painting, bike decorating and a kids race.

My favorite parts were the great Latin bands from the neighborhood.  The bands were super cool and not what you might expect.  Purple Tongue blended emo-ish rock and late 70′s new wave with lyrics in english and spanish.  They were followed by a really great Latina pop-punk band called Vic and Gab.  How awesome is that?!

Cyclocross, perhaps more than any other traditional bicycle racing (road, track, mtb), seems to put as much emphasis on fun as on competition. The races are very accessible to people who normally don’t race because they are short, exciting, easy to put on in urban parks and typically have a festival vibe.

Never give up little man!

I was talking to a guy at the race who told me he had never heard about cyclocross until they day before when his nephew told him about the race. He looked it up online, thought it looked fun and came over to the Domes to give ‘cross a try.

He raced on his regular road bike with platform pedals dressed in sweats and running shoes.  All smiles after the race, his verdict was cross racing was really fun and really hard.

If you are cross-curious, check out the WCA website for a schedule of upcoming races. The Wisconsin Cycling Association Crank Daddy’s Cyclocross series has 17 races, more than any other series in the country.  Thanks to Crank Daddy’s Bicycle Works for proving once again that Wisconsin Bicycling rules!

If you can only pick one race to attend, I highly recommend checking out the Velo Trocadero Halloween Cyclocross race at Washington Park.  Most people race in full costumes, and last year, Katy even put together a costume for her bike.

Anyone interested in providing updates on other races for the Crank Daddy’s series can volunteer via comments below. I will get in touch with you. I would like to have weekly updates here on all the races but I can’t make every one. Shameless promotion will be allowed in trade for short posts and photos, making this a great way for teams or racers to get additional publicity their sponsors. Let me know if you are interested below.

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.

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