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Wednesday - August 9, 2017 12:12 am

Wounded vets biking through La Crosse as part of 500-mile trek

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You may have seen them passing through La Crosse. It's hard to miss 150 bicyclists - wounded veterans at that.

The group was taking part in the Great Lakes Challenge, a 500-mile trek from Minneapolis to Chicago. They rode from Rochester, Minn., to La Crosse on Tuesday.

Chad Brownwell of Norwalk, Wis., served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

"I use biking as a way to help me with issues that I was having with anxiety and PTSD-related stuff, but it also helped because my knees are shot," he said. "It gave me a reason to get back out - self-heal myself through biking.

"I've got a lot of friends that are deployed and they've helped me with my struggles."

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The group is supporting organizations to help wounded soldiers.

"You see the recumbent bikes, the hand cycles, the individuals that are amputees," Brownwell said. "It's phenomenal to see everybody come together and ride as one. If there's a hill, we're all riding up the hill. We'll all push up the hill together."

Riders will leave La Crosse today head make the 81-mile trip to Reedsburg, Wis., next.

Veterans are encouraged to join the ride anywhere along the route on a single-day basis. Sign up forms and more details are available on


  • Aug. 7 – Minnetonka to Rochester, Minn. – 63 miles
  • Aug. 8 – Rochester to La Crosse, Wis. – 72 miles
  • Aug. 9 – La Crosse to Reedsburg, Wis. – 81 miles
  • Aug. 10 – Reedsburg to Madison, Wis. – 54 miles
  • Aug. 11 – Madison to Lake Geneva, Wis. – 78 miles
  • Aug. 12 – Lake Geneva to Palatine, Ill. – 50 miles
  • Aug. 13 – Palatine to Chicago, includes honor ride in Barrington, Ill. – 48 miles
  • Aug. 14 – Chicago to Evanston, Ill. – 63 miles


Last modified on Wednesday - August 9, 2017 2:04 am
Drew Kelly

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