Ice Age Trail Days 1 & 2

Quick Recap: Day 1 started off quite well. We all woke up before the alarm. Had breakfast and coffee in the hotel parking lot, and made our way to the start… a whole 2 minute drive. Perfect. Although it was cloudy and a slight drizzle, we started right at 7am.

The first couple hours were rather uneventful. Leaving the park was fun, and the trails were mostly in good shape, a nice breeze blowing, and it wasn’t too warm.

About 15 miles in, the famous Gandy Dancer section was next: yay, 15-ish miles of rail trail. It’s very similar to the I&M canal, that I do a lot of my runs on. Tom was able to ride next to me for this, so that was fun too.

Once afternoon hit, it started to warm up a bit: hello summer 😜 Egor stepped in for pacing duties for the next trail section, and that’s when things got weird. I know the ticks in WI are bad, but they freak me out. There is a lot of tall grass and fern sections, and you can see the ticks just waiting. It was to the point that we were stopping every few minutes trying to pick them off…but you just couldn’t get them all. I had one that started to burrow, but didn’t get deep.

When Egor was done pacing, Abe started. We were making good time, but I still could not stop thinking about the ticks (and mosquitoes).

Earlier I had say that I hope to make it ~100k/day or 12 hours a day, whatever comes first. The end of day 1 took me just shy of 12 hours and 55 miles. Not a bad start.

The high of the day? The start: this is what we have been getting ready for! The low: ticks.

Day 2: F*ck This

So, I thought ticks were bad on day 1…Day 2 said, “Watch this, hold my beer.” I started out very excited for what was coming up, but the excitement ended a couple miles into the day. The trail wasn’t too wet, but the spiderwebs, mosquitoes, and ticks were really making me rethink this June start.

I hit a rough patch less than 10 miles in, and my pacer, Abe, stepped up. I sat at the crew van for at least 30 minutes, and then we started down the trail. I wasn’t happy, but we kept it moving. At 15 miles, I once again sat for almost an hour, just frustrated with ticks (another had started to burrow) and mosquitos. I sent a message to Jared from IG asking him about solutions for ticks, and he had some good suggestions. Simple version is pants, duct tape, and a bug net. Doesn’t make for a glamorous photo, but it works.

My mood started to improve as the weather started to change from 85 and sunny, to thunderstorm. And sure enough, as it started to rain, I was ready to run again. We finished the Timberline Hills, the 2.4 mile road connector, and I started the next 3 miles of Grassy Lake… actually running! So, that’s where we’ll pick up on day 3.

The high: Jared’s suggestions, seeing it work, and being able to get supplies that night. The low: not being able to get as far as I had hoped, due to a meltdown over miniature bugs. But hey, moving on.

Thanks for reading. We have a couple tough days coming up. Here we go.

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