August 10, 2017
Reedsburg to Madison
Day 4 of the 2017 UnitedHealthcare Great Lakes Challenge began in Reeds under sunny skies as we departed for our 65-mile ride to state capital of Madison.
Our first stop of the day was at Devil’s Lake State Park, which we reached after riding some of the prettiest roads of our journey. Riding in the warm sunshine dappling the pretty winding forest road leading into the Park, we emerged at the lakefront, one of the nicest rest stops of the Challenge.
Following our arrival in the City of Four Lakes, we were hosted for dinner by our good friends at Saris Cycling. As if the brats, salads and chips – and fascinating tours of their impressive facility -- were not enough, they even had a s’mores bar! On the tours, Saris showed us why they are a leader in the cycling industry and we greatly appreciate their hospitality, leadership and support.
One of the longest running HUB programs is in Madison run by Sherri and Thom Smith.
Sherri and Thom are dedicated Army National Guard Veterans who each selflessly served our nation for more than 20 years and now serve the Veterans and First Responders of their community in the same exceptional way.
“Thom & I wanted to bring PH to the area after the first Madison Honor Ride in 2011,” Sherri said. “The next year we volunteered to help the Honor Ride at Saris Cycling and then contacted Project Hero to see how we could get the program started.”
But after they were unable to get the Madison VA to launch a program, Sherri and Thom were not deterred: in true Project Hero fashion, they volunteered to run the program themselves.
“The beginning was out of a need that I myself had for the program…and it evolved from there!” Sherri said.
Since they launched the Madison HUB, Sherri and Thom have grown the program to include riders from Madison and throughout the state. Their dedication continues to motivate riders all over Wisconsin and despite deployments, retirements, and nursing school for Sherri, they have grown ridership and program participation. “We have a pretty tight group and have had six riders sign up for this year’s Great Lakes Challenge.
Our goal is to be able to share with others the healing grace we receive through cycling with our military brethren,” Sherri said.
Sherri and Thom’s words of encouragement for other Veterans who are in need of support reflect their faith in themselves, their fellow Veterans, our program and our nation: “Your scars don't define you, they are merely a testimony of your resilience and inner beauty.”
We are so proud of Sherri and Thom and look forward to the growth and continued success of the Madison HUB!
Tomorrow we ride 78-miles to beautiful Lake Geneva.
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