‘Biking a Century for a Cause’: Tomahawk’s Wendy Smith bikes 100 miles to benefit Kinship
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
NORTHERN WISCONSIN – A Tomahawk woman who recently turned 49 years old celebrated by taking a unique kind of road trip.
Wendy Smith on July 19 biked 100 miles through the Northwoods, and via donations on Facebook, raised over $5,000 for Kinship of Tomahawk, more than doubling her goal of $2,500.
Wendy’s trek, which was dubbed “Nothing is Impossible: Biking a Century for a Cause,” began with a suggestion from her husband, Eddy. Wendy took up biking on May 1, and set a goal to ride 49 miles on her birthday. After checking that box in June, Wendy thought it was time to set the bar higher.
Eddy suggested Wendy bike 100 miles on her birthday, and she decided to use her efforts to benefit a cause dear to her.
Wendy and Eddy have been involved with Kinship of Tomahawk for nine years and mentor two children in the program. Wendy noted she and kids involved with Kinship have similar backgrounds.
“I grew up in foster care,” she said. “I biked for myself, but I biked for them as well.”
The route was roughly planned out before the ride. Wendy had previously biked from Minocqua to Mercer, a 70-mile journey. She and Winzenried figured if they biked from Minocqua to Mercer, turned around in Mercer and headed back, they’d cross the 100-mile threshold somewhere past Boulder Junction.
The ride started at 4:30 a.m., with Wendy and her riding partner, coach, and mentor Dan Winzenried, a 67-year-old retired physical education teacher, on bikes and Eddy following in a support vehicle carrying supplies.
Wendy said she and Winzenried biked through headwinds for the entire trek, and she fought through a leg cramp for the last 51 miles of the ride.
It took about 12 hours to complete the journey, Wendy explained, noting people who use road bikes can ride 100 miles in about six hours, but since she used a regular pedal bike, her trek took longer to complete.
Wendy said to complete a ride as daunting as hers, you have to “break it down.”
“It’s like anything else. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time,” she stated. “You can’t look at the big picture. My breakdown was one town at a time. We stopped in every town and stretched.”
Wendy said once she committed to doing the ride, there was no turning back.
“I had people ask me, ‘What are you going to do if you can’t complete it?’ That wasn’t even an option,” she stated.
Wendy said she became emotional towards the end of the journey.
“I had said that about 10 miles away from 100, I was going to start crying,” she stated. “When we were biking, I said to Dan when we go to 10 miles, ‘I’m not crying yet.’ When I hit 99 miles, I was just sobbing, and I told him, ‘We have to slow down. I can’t pedal and cry at the same time!’”
Wendy said she was proud to complete the century ride and raise money for Kinship.
“It was emotional. It was worthwhile. It was rewarding,” she stated.
Wendy said she would “absolutely” do another charity ride in the future, and that biking more than 100 miles has crossed her mind.