Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:09 pm
The lull in the nation’s economy and high gas prices might be enough to put a sufficient damper on summer vacation plans this year, but some area executives have revived old interests that keep them closer to home and are a little bit easier on their bank accounts.
Tim Eiring, director of business development at Brookfield- based Centare Group, enjoys BMX racing.
“I got into it when I was 14,” said Eiring. “Actually my whole family got into it. We used to travel all over the country competing when I was younger.”
Eiring lost interest in BMX racing during college but recently picked up the extreme sport again three years ago. Eiring is 32 years old and the youngest in the group of men that he races with.
This will be the first year that BMX racing is a fully medaled Olympic sport. Ering admits that he is nowhere near that level, but he boasted he has actually beaten one of the guys on the Olympic team in a race.
“I have competed in around 20 national events in the last three years and have managed to win a few of them too,” he said.
Most BMX riders, including Eiring, race on 20-inch BMX bikes. They race with eight other riders usually on a quarter mile track that is essentially a dead sprint filled with jumps and obstacles before the finish line. With eight riders on the track at a time, and accelerated speeds, crashes are a common occurrences on race day.
Eiring is recovering from a crash he suffered at a national event in Rockford, Illinois a few weeks ago.
“I am nursing a few scrapes and bruises from that race but the worst injury I ever suffered was a broken collarbone and I have had more stitches then I can count,” he said.
According to Eiring, a rider can compete in as many races as they want to annually. For him it is around 30-40 races on the weekends.
“There are a number of different tracks in Wisconsin that attract quite a few people,” he said. “There is a track in Oshkosh, Rhinelander, Wisconsin Rapids, Fond du Lac and in the winter time in Elkhorn on the Walworth County Fairgrounds there is an indoor track.”
Eiring has seen individuals as old as 65 competing in these races and plans to continue to do so for as long as his body lets him.
“I envision myself racing as long as I can,” he said.
His wife, Kristine, is pregnant with the couple’s first child, but according to Eiring racing has always been a big part of his family and will continue to be so in the future.
Rich Tennessen, executive vice president of Eppstein Uhen Architects of Milwaukee, prefers a racing bicycle. Tennessen recently completed a leg of the Race Across America competition with four other individuals.
“In high school I rode a bike, and I always wanted to bike across the country,” Tennessen said. “In our current positions we couldn’t take that much time off so that’s what stirred us to enter the first leg of the race which runs about 1,000 miles from Oceanside, California to Taos, New Mexico.”
The group plans to add a few more individuals to their team and hopes to complete the whole race next year. Race Across America is 3,000 miles in length and can be done, according to Tennessen in approximately seven days.
“It’s done in a relay format, one rider is on the ground biking at all times and then we take shifts and different legs of the race,” he said.
The team of individuals is currently in negotiations with California-based Specialized Bikes about team sponsorships to raise money for charities.
Tennessen picked up biking again after his hobby dropped off once he got to college.
“I’ve been doing it for three or four years now, I was reaching the age where I wanted to keep myself active,” he said.
After Eppstein Uhen opened its new office in Madison, Tennessen and a group of individuals biked from Milwaukee to Madison to commemorate the move.
“That ride turned into an annual fundraising and networking ride,” he said. “It has inspired a lot of other people to get involved in cycling as well.”
People on the west coast say cycling is the new golf, said Tennessen.
“More and more people are getting together and cycling for a business networking event, because it’s faster and you get exercise at the same time,” he said.
Another group that Tennessen is involved in features a monthly two hour cycling ride in the Milwaukee area, strictly designed and centered on business networking.
Hobbies don’t have to and certainly do not always involve physical activity. While, Laura Iding, director of trauma/surgical/medical and ICU nursing at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, does train for triathlons her primary hobby is drastically more subdued.
Iding is a romance novelist for Harlequin Publishing Company.
“I started writing at a very young age, but my parents decided that I needed a steady career as well,” said Iding, “That’s why I went into nursing, I have been managing for 19 years and I am in charge of around 230 people, but writing has always been a release for me.”
Iding has published 18 books for Harlequin, the most recent is set to hit shelves in August. Her books are romanced based but most have a medical theme to them.
“Medical is what I do. My books are definitely romance but most take place in a health care environment, in a doctor’s office or trauma unit, because that is what I am familiar with,” she said.
Iding sold her first book in December of 2003; they are available online on the Harlequin web site and are most popular overseas. Her books are published in other languages as well including French, Finnish, and Italian she said.
In August, her 18th book is part of a Harlequin promotion to spur their American market. Her book will be available in Barnes and Noble stores and other large bookstores across the United States.
Iding graduated with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and got her masters in business. She admits she had to learn a lot about the publishing industry and the stylistic techniques used by writers but said organizations like the Romance Writers of America, which has chapters in every state, are there to really help aspiring writers.
“I’m all about trying to balance work and life, I go home at night after a long day and it’s nice to have something to take my mind off work,” she said.
According to Iding, there are many talented romance writers being published from Wisconsin.
Not only are there talented writers in the Milwaukee area, the region also boasts a slew of talented musicians and various festivals to feature them. Kevin O’Toole, executive vice president and a principal at Hunzinger Construction Co. in Brookfield, is a self-taught guitar player, and a member of the band H2-Oh.
O’Toole and his band mate Henry Lewis II recently recorded a CD and just finished promoting their music as a featured artist on a packed Potawatomi Bingo Casino stage at Summerfest.
H2-Oh’s music, according to O’Toole, is of the contemporary folk rock era and is inspired by artists like John Mellencamp and James Taylor.
“We are song writers. Right now we are doing a lot of festivals and a lot of opening act work,” said O’Toole. “We are playing out in support of our music. We do do cover songs because people like to hear songs they know, but a lot of our new music is mixed in as well.”
For O’Toole, his music has always been a family concept, he recently wrote and recorded a song for his daughter’s wedding, and his children and grandchildren rarely miss one of his shows.
His wife, Pat, has always been the bands best critic, said O’Toole.
“I really look to her to be our benchmark, if we are off or not doing something right she is really the one I look to tell me that, and she does in a positive way,” he said.
The band rehearses on a regular basis every Thursday night at their studio in O’Toole’s house. Even though there are only two people in the band, they record all of the other instruments, and are currently in the process of making their second CD.
For the past six years O’Toole has been taking guitar lessons from Jorma Kaukonen, the original guitar player for Jefferson Airplane, to improve his finger-picking technique. Almost 15 sessions later nearly all of the songs O’Toole writes for himself are finger-picking songs he said.
O’Toole and the band plan to play a few more festivals this summer and they perform regularly at Shank Hall in Milwaukee.
“We are taking our music very seriously,” O’Toole said. “I see us continuing with this for awhile. It gives me a chance to get out and play, to do something I enjoy. It’s fun.”