Like last year, the fourth annual Wrigley Field Road Tour will begin and end at the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field. Once outside the city, riders will have a fabulous tour of the north shore communities.
When John Garcia described his experience at last year’s WFRT, he pointed out that there are different ways to approach a century ride. You can put your head down and see if you can pull off a sub-5 century. Or you can choose an easy pace and enjoy the scenery.
For those of you who will be pushing the pace in your own pacelines, here is what you’ll be missing on Sunday:
When Wrigley Field was built in 1914, it was home to the Chicago Federal League baseball team, the Chicago Whales. Wrigley is the oldest National League baseball park, the second oldest in the Major League and the only remaining of the original Federal League parks. During a renovation in 1937, the current scoreboard was installed. Wrigley is one of the last parks to maintain a hand-turned scoreboard.
The Baha’i Temple in Wilmette is one of only seven Bahá’í Houses of Worship in the world, the oldest surviving one in the world and the only one in the United States. Groundbreaking occurred on May 1st, 1912 and construction was completed in 1953. The most notable feature of the Temple, aside from its stark whiteness, is its dome that rises 135 feet above the main floor.
Sheridan Road is a 62 mile-long north-south thoroughfare extending from Diversey Parkway in Chicago, Illinois, north to the Illinois-Wisconsin border and beyond to Racine. From Chicago, it passes through Chicago’s wealthy lakeside North Shore suburbs, often the easternmost north-south through street closest to Lake Michigan.
Ravinia Park in Highland Park is home of the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States, offering a series of outdoor concerts and performances held in summer. It has been the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1936. While the open-air pavilion seats 3,200, most prefer to enjoy concerts while picnicking in the 36-acre lawn.
Fort Sheridan, originally called Camp Highwood, was established on 632 acres of land as a United States Army Post. Troops stationed at Fort Sheridan have seen action in the Pullman Strike, the Spanish-American War and World War II. During the Cold War, Fort Sheridan served as the base for servicing and supplying all Nike antimissile systems in the upper Midwest. The Fort was officially closed in 1993. The majority is now home to a residential neighborhood, with some Navy family housing for nearby Great Lakes and 90 acres serving as an Army Reserve base.
Six Flags Great America in Gurnee is a theme park with awesome rides, great shows and incredible attractions. Great America has some of the fastest, tallest, wildest, gut-wrenchingest, rides in the country-including a few record-breakers. Perhaps the most iconic roller coaster there is the American Eagle, the classic wooden racing coaster that’s been pleasing thrill-seekers for over 30 years.
The Pyramid House in Wadsworth, Illinois was built in 1977 as a private residence. In stark contrast with, well, any architecture found in the United States outside of museums, the gold pyramid is flanked by an enormous statue of Ramses II and a three pyramid garage. This 17,000 square foot 6 story structure is surrounded by a moat.
Independence Grove is the site of the WFRT lunch stop. These scenic location in Libertyville, IL is a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts, offering outdoor recreation and education opportunities centered on a 115-acre lake. Surrounding prairie and woodlands provide a picturesque backdrop for hiking, biking, and picnicking. WFRT riders will enjoy a meal provided by Harry Caray’s – including the now famous potato chips (a perfect blend of taste, carbs and sodium that will help see our riders through their last 40 miles.
The last rest stop on the return ride will take you through Plaza del Lago in Wilmette. It is rumored to be the second oldest car-friendly shopping centers and perhaps the first in the United States. When it originally opened in 1928, it was so far out of the city is was nicknamed the “No Man’s Land.” Built in the prosperity of the 1920’s, the original plan included a movie theater.
After a fabulous day out on the bike, the fun returns to Wrigley Field. WFRT riders and Cubs enthusiasts will enjoy this rare opportunity to celebrate on the outfield of the “Friendly Confines.” Enjoy playing catch with your family or just marvel at the ivy-covered brick outfield wall from this unique perspective – all while listening to the classic tunes of The BoDeans.
WFRT riders will cover 100 miles of relatively flat terrain. Total elevation gain is less than 1000 feet. The ride profile looks like this:
Even with little climb, after 100 miles on the bike, riders will relish the feel of the Wrigley Field outfield grass beneath their feet, knowing they’ve put in a day’s effort to help two great charities.
A savory post-ride BBQ to please the taste buds. The classic sounds of The BoDeans to appeal to the music enthusiast. The thrill playing catch with your kids on Wrigley Field’s outfield. A well-deserved evening of celebration after a fun day out on the bike for two great causes. Friends. Comrades. Accomplishment. Celebration. A perfect end cap to the day and to the summer.
As John Garcia said:
I can’t think of a better way to do a century ride. The WFRT is not competitive. It’s a lot of fun. The ride is very well supported. To top it off, the great reward is a party at the end.