The COVID-19 pandemic did a lot of changes to the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2020 season, forcing fans to also adapt. A former resident of the Hales Corners area decided to pedal her way through it by making a long trek Friday to honor the season’s Opening Day.
Leah Jenk moved to Lakeview, a part of Chicago about a mile away from Wrigley Field, for a job about a year ago, but her love for the Brewers moved with her.
“So I had Opening Day tickets for this year at Miller Park versus the Cubs,” says Jenk, “but since that wasn’t an option this year we had to find a different way to celebrate.”
Fortunately, Jenk had purchased a road bicycle several months ago and had begun using it as a hobby during the pandemic. She had build up her endurance with 50 miles training rides, so being able to cover the 90-plus miles between Milwaukee and Chicago was possible.
“When you have a good destination in mind,” says Jenk, “you kind of keep thinking about getting there. This was kind of something that we had been thinking about, and then it was a gorgeous day (Friday), so we decided to give it a try. Just a fun way to celebrate an unusual baseball season.”
At around 6:30 Friday morning, she and her dad, 72-year-old John Jenk, began their ride. “We started at Miller Park on the Hank Aaron Trail, then we looped around a little bit,” says Jenk. “We got on the Oak Leaf Trail for a little bit. We got on the Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha trail for a bit. By the time we made it down to the Kenosha area we were on some back country roads for a bit, then into Illinois we took Sheridan Road for a while. Some georgeous houses right on the lake, so we had some pretty good scenery as well.”
Six-and-a-half hours and 96.5-miles later, Jenk and her dad made it to Wrigley Field. She considers it a pretty good travel time. “If they were straight country roads and we could get going in more places I think we maybe could have made it faster. Especially getting into the Chicago area. The last 10 miles was stop-and-start, stop-and-start with all the stop lights.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic, Jenk says there wasn’t much to do around Wrigley Field other than take some pictures and have a drink. “We went over to a Wisconsin bar called “Will’s Northwoods (Inn), and it’s a Badgers, Packers, Brewers, Bucks bar, and we had that scouted out so we were at least some good company to watch the game.” Afterwards, her mom, Pan Jenk, and aunt, Debbie Kolb, helped take them and their bikes back home.
Jenk says she will continue to bike ride, and focus on training to compete in a triathlon in the future. As for her Friday bike ride, its a memory that will last forever. “I figured, somehow, someway, I’ll make it. I didn’t know how long it would take us or how many stop we would have to make, but all-in-all I think it was better than I expected. It was a perfect day (Friday).”