Port’s Race the Harbor event to move downtown

Next week’s professional bike series stop will bring fast-paced cycling action to heart of city, have street fest feel

RACE THE HARBOR competitors sped down Port’s Chestnut Street last year. Press file photo
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press Staff

Traffic of a different type will be found throughout downtown Port Washington Wednesday, June 27, as the third annual Race the Harbor event moves to the heart of the city.

The race — the seventh leg in the 11-day Tour of America’s Dairyland bike race series — had been held on the southeast side of the city in the past.

“This is an effort to bring the race closer to downtown and engage the merchants and residents,” Tammy Thompson-Oreskovic of ZuZu Pedals, a race organizer, said. “They can just open their doors and the race is there.”

The new race route, which is expected to draw about 500 cyclists to Port, will be as challenging if not more than the past route, Thompson-Oreskovic said.

The race will begin and end on Pier Street near its intersection with Franklin Street. The route will take bicyclists to Wisconsin, Jackson, Harrison and Van Buren streets before it heads down St. Mary’s Hill on Franklin Street.

At the foot of St. Mary’s Hill, bicyclists will make a sharp left turn onto Jackson Street to Lake Street, then head west on Pier Street to the finish.

“It’s still a tough course that takes advantage of the city’s hills,” Thompson-Oreskovic said. “We want the racers to see how beautiful Port Washington is, to see our great downtown and enjoy the tough hills.”

And while she said she doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt on the course, she noted that “even on the previous course, we had a couple of pileups.”

The races will run from 10:20 a.m., when the juniors races start, until the professional men’s race from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

At 6 p.m., there will be a children’s race in downtown for local residents.

Those participating will get free ice cream and a cowbell and be entered into a drawing for prizes that include Summerfest passes, Milwaukee Brewers tickets and a bike.

Franklin Street will be closed through much of downtown during the races, and food and beverages will be available in the beer garden on Franklin Street between Washington and Pier streets. Vendors will set up shop there as well, and live music will begin about 5 p.m.

“It’s going to be a little different vibe than in the past,” Thompson-Oreskovic said. “It’s going to be more like the street festival.”

Following the race, there will be an after-party at Newport Shores restaurant.

Organizers distributed information about the race to residents living along the route last weekend, Thompson-Oreskovic said.

“Most people seem to really be excited,” she said.

This year, she added, several local families are hosting the racers overnight.

“Some of these bicyclists are international racers,” Thompson-Oreskovic said. 

Port Washington isn’t the only local community to take part in the Tour of America’s Dairyland race series, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Giro ‘d Grafton will be held on the third day of the series, Saturday, June 23.

“People often ask why our race is on Wednesday,” Thompson-Oreskovic said. Port was invited to participate in the tour during its eighth year, and the only race dates available were Monday and Wednesday.

Port chose Wednesday.

“It was really our only option,” Thompson-Oreskovic said. “And it’s a good day. In June, everybody’s got things happening on the weekends.”

For more information on the races, visit www.tourofamericasdairyland.com.

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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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