Saturday, June 18, 2011

Biking, Beer, and Fried Cheese Curds

I just finished a week on the POWWOW Fox Valley Tour.  This tour is one of those underpublicized gems.  This is the second year in a row I have done this tour, primarily for two reasons:  it's not hot in Wisconsin in June and you get to sleep in a bed.

I covered around 370 miles over six days.  We started in Watertown, followed by stops in Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, and Green Bay.  We came back through Oshkosh and Fond du Lac on our way back to Watertown following alternate routes.

I hesitate to say that this is an easy tour, considering the first four days were very windy.  We passed through several wind farms and that should have been a clue.  The third day from Oshkosh to Green Bay was probably the hardest at 69 miles with the first 45 being directly into the teeth of a constant 20-30 mph wind.

I said that you get to sleep in beds.  Each night we lodged at a college dormitory.  Not luxurious, but plenty of hot showers and air conditioning.  Breakfast and dinner were in the college cafeterias (included in the price) while lunch was found at various establishment on the routes and often accompanied by local Wisconsin brews.

There were about 45 riders on the tour and most had been back several consecutive years.  This was an older crowd, primarily in their 50's and 60's, but there were both older and your participants.

The course was generally on lightly travelled, but well-maintained farm roads.  My only criticism of the ride is the route markings.  Instead of road markings, there were arrows stapled to telephone poles and road signs, and not always obvious.  I hope the organizer will improve this for the next ride.

Plenty of SAG support was available, but traditional rest stops were not included, although the SAG drivers carried water.  Intermediate stops were on your own at Kwik-E-Marts or taverns.  Although I didn't find barbecue, I did find lots of local Wisconsin beer, bratwurst, and fried cheese curds.

Check this out for next year.

Andrew (one of the SAG drivers) and myself.  I shaved the side of my head for a Mohawk, but it just didn't turn out the same.