The one rule to always follow on a bicycle tour is to never use anything new or untested on your trip. You will invariably run into a problem. I broke that rule on Wednesday and paid the price. As I was getting ready to leave Mishicot, I could not find my sunscreen. Evidently I left the bottle behind in Plymouth. Since it was going to be another hot and sunny day, I needed the protection. So I borrowed some sunscreen, applied it to my legs, arms, and face and took off riding.
The community of Mishicot were at the entrance of the school taking pictures and video of the riders to be posted on WBAY channel 2’s website. I hadn’t seen anything yet on the channel 2 site, so I will have to go back and check after the ride to see if anything was posted.
The weather leaving Mishicot was warm and overcast. We were expecting another hot and humid day with temps in the mid 80’s and partly cloudy skies. Today’s route had a long and short option, with the long option adding another 15 miles to the ride so you could bike up to the community of Denmark. I took the long option when the route split at about mile 7 and headed north.
Denmark is a little Danish community on the south end of Brown county. I didn’t explore the town much, but for the short time I was there, I could tell they take their heritage very seriously. A rest stop was set up by the local Boy Scout troop at the Catholic church in town. Fresh water and a wide variety of baked goods were available.
Leaving Denmark, we took at mostly westernly path to reconnect with the main route. The route rejoined just outside of a bar called the Iron Buffalo. It had a motorcycle theme, but today the spandex crowd owned the place. It was early, so I didn’t eat there, but everyone who did said the food was great.
By now the clouds where breaking and the sun was shining pretty bright. All along the 12 mile stretch around the Iron Buffalo there was a constant parade of cement trucks. As we continued on we found their destination as they were pouring a giant concrete slab at a dairy farm along the way. Just past this point, and a couple of miles north of Reedsville, I was sweating pretty good and some of the sunscreen that I borrowed got into my eyes.
The burning was bad enough that I had to stop and flush my eyes out. I was able to limp into town and wash my face and eyes out again, but they were still burning and it took about 45 minutes of resting before I was good enough to continue on.
While taking it easy in Reedsville, I had a brat and raspberry crisp at the rest stop set up by the local Catholic church. Their brats were the best of the week by far, cooked over a charcoal fire, they had a crisp skin and juicy inside.
Continuing on, my eyes were watering and itching and my nose was running like crazy. The sunscreen I used was some organic SPF45, so something in it caused an allergic reaction. At this point I just wanted to get into Appleton so I could take a shower, clean my face and get something to stop the irritation. I stopped briefly in Brillion for more water. One of the other SAGs offered a beer, which was greatly appreciated.
Going out of Brillion we went due west into Appleton. I was hot, the road was boring with a slight incline and we had a headwind all the way into town. Many of the farms were making hay, so there was lots of farm traffic on the road.
We spent the night at Appleton East High School. After arriving and setting up my equipment, I buzzed over to the nearby Target store to get some eye drops and new sunscreen. The drops were a relief and cut the irritation down immensely.
At dinner we were serenaded by concertina player Les Drombowski. Initially the riders didn’t know what to expect as he started playing the concertina standards, but towards the end of his 90 minute set he had the whole crowd singing and dancing.
Wednesday was also massage night for me. A thirty minute massage on the legs and neck did wonders and really helped give me a good night’s sleep that evening. I highly recommend some massage time for anyone planning on taking a multiday bicycle trip with a organized ride. It really helps you enjoy the ride better.
Coming up Thursday, leaving Appleton and finding Winneconne.