Cyclist of the century

Nick Grosenick is preparing for a 115-mile bike ride by taking spinning classes and training at Zuzu Pedals in downtown Port Washington and taking his bike out for lengthy spins on the road. To motivate him, Grosenick is working to raise awareness of the need for automatic external defibrillators for the Port Fire Department. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Nick Grosenick is a hard-core bicyclist who races mountain bikes. Now the 40-year-old Port Washington man is training to tackle the challenge of a bike ride of more than 100 miles with  virtually non-stop peddling.            Grosenick said he knew it was going to take more than just desire to make it happen.

“It’s a big milestone on a road bike,” Grosenick said. “I needed to motivate myself to do it.”

That motivation came courtesy of the Port Washington Fire Department. Grosenick is undertaking his 115-mile ride to raise awareness of the need for automatic external defibrillators for the department’s vehicles.

Grosenick is a member of Be3, a Port Washington fitness organization with a philanthropic bent, and he asked for ideas on a cause to devote his ride to. One of the members, a friend of firefighter Mike Didier, suggested the defibrillators.

It didn’t take much to convince him this was the right cause to ride for, Grosenick said.

“The number one leading cause of death of firefighters is a heart attack on the scene,” he said. “It’s obviously a very high stress situation.”

And, he said, Didier told him that the average age of the city’s firefighters is increasing.

“I was sold,” Grosenick said.

Grosenick isn’t riding to raise money but rather to raise awareness of the need.

But he did start a GoFundMe page to support the cause. In less than a week, he had raised $1,500, enough to equip one of the vehicles with a defibrillator.

His goal, Grosenick said, is to equip four of the vehicles with the defibrillators.

Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said that the department ambulances and paramedic response vehicle carry defibrillators but having the equipment on other fire trucks will be a benefit.

After all, he said, quick defibrillation “is a key to survival. This is an extra tool in our toolbox.”

Defibrillators, he added, are something that’s often difficult to budget for.

“We’re grateful for this,” he said of Grosenick’s campaign.

Grosenick plans to take his ride on May 23 — the day after his 41st birthday, and the start of the Memorial Day weekend.

He originally planned to ride with one buddy, Ryan Silva, a volunteer firefighter with the Sheboygan Falls Fire Department, but the two will now be joined for parts of their ride by members of Be3.

They plan to leave Sheboygan Falls at 6 a.m. and end at Peninsula State Park in Door County. Grosenick said the ride should take 7-1/2 to eight hours.

“I’m praying for no headwind,” he said.

Grosenick’s been training hard for the ride, working out and taking spinning classes at Zuzu Pedals. As weather allows, he will also train outside.

“I’m not worried from a cardio standpoint,” he said. “I’m a very avid rider. But I’m told a 100-plus-mile ride becomes a religious experience for the last quarter of the ride.”

One thing Grosenick has going for him is a lifelong passion for bike riding.

“A boy and his bike — that’s been my mom’s tag line for me all my life,” he said. “Ever since I was able to balance, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.”

As a youngster, Grosenick was into BMX and trick riding. Growing up in Watertown, he and his friends would create dirt bike courses on a empty field next to the baseball field.

“We destroyed a lot of bikes there,” he said, laughing.

As a young man, his uncle introduced him to mountain biking.

 “I fell in love with it immediately,” Grosenick said. “The thing I really, really love is it’s so fast and there’s so much you have to be thinking about as you do it — it really forces you to just be in the moment. It’s like active meditation.”

And, he said, he’s always liked a good physical challenge.

As life went on and he started a family, biking “just kind of took a back seat,” Grosenick said.

But five years ago, he took to biking again as a stress reliever and a way to refocus his life after a divorce.

“I fell back in love with it,” Grosenick said, noting he had moved to Port by then and was surprised by the number of mountain bike trails in the area.

He got into fat-tire biking — “If you’ve got the legs for it, they will take you anywhere in the world,” he said — and about 18 months ago began road riding after meeting his girlfriend Andrea Wendland, who he said is an avid road rider.

“I was interested in her, so I got interested in road riding,” he said.

Grosenick said he also likes the fact that road riding is fast paced, noting his average pace is 17 to 19 mph.

“I like going fast,” he said. “That’s the aspect of road riding I like best.”

Now, he rides with Wendland and also uses road riding to train for mountain biking.

As excited as he is about the century ride, Grosenick said he’s just as excited about doing something for the fire department.

“I started with ‘I don’t know if I want to do this’ and went to ‘I’m excited about doing this,’” he said.

“I think it’s kind of neat to put the message out there. I’m doing the ride regardless, and it’s kind of cool to protect the people who are protecting us in the community.”



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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