FKT: Christopher Luhman - Ice Age Trail, Dane County (WI) - 2020-10-10

Route variation
Standard point-to-point
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
16h 55m 51s

Yesterday, on 10 October 2020, I completed an unsupported FKT of the Dane County Ice Age Trail in 16 hours, 55 minutes and 51 seconds. Per the previously registered Dane County FKT I started at Lodi Marsh and ended at Brooklyn Wildlife Area. This is a very convenient route since only a couple of miles are lost and a few more miles into Columbia and Green counties would be necessary if the entirety of Dane county was to be traversed.  I couldn't have asked for better weather and views. Fall is a spectacular time to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Wisconsin. These 64 miles were actually quite enjoyable (all things considered) :) since I walked almost all of it and only ran a few downhill segments early on when I my legs were fresh. Also, the early morning and evening were cool with a gentle breeze which made the trek seem even easier. You may notice from my gpx file that there were a couple sections in Cross Plains where I zoned out and passed my turn and had to double back to the trail. These "excursions" were negligible and I don't think they added much more than a 1/2 mile.

Doing this unsupported with minimal weight was achieved by following the "no-calorie" protocol that Michael Mcknight recently employed when completing an 100 mile run. My variation of his protocol was slightly more drastic since I fasted 40 hours prior to the race to ensure my body would be able to rely on my fat stores while he "keto adapted" for weeks. On that same note, since I walked and kept my average heart rate around 100 bpm it wasn't that taxing on my body after all. I only consumed a mixture of salt, potassium and magnesium and also some green tea caffeine pills. For water, I used 2 - 500mL Salomon filter soft flasks and refilled 6 times, mostly from the somewhat flowing and/or clean sources along the way. I was definitely thirsty for most of the trip and for this reason I don't recommend completing this trip unsupported in the summer heat. This year has been even more challenging since all public water fountains that are normally found along the trail are closed due to Covid-19. However, if you complete this self supported like Peter Caldecourt, the Kwik Trips close to the trail in Cross Plains and Verona provide excellent resupply opportunities for both food and water. The best water opportunities where I refilled are from Halfway Prairie Creek at the end of Indian Lake County Park, the marsh "stream" on Scheele road after the Table Bluff segment, Black Earth creek in Cross Plains and a pond by the parking lot for Military Ridge state trail. The other two sources I used were basically ditches retaining some water and are not recommended. In fact, while refilling in one of them yesterday I looked down and noticed that I captured a fairly large spider in my bottle. Unfortunately since I wasn't eating any calories yesterday, i didn't partake in an afternoon snack and lucky for the spider returned him to the long grass. :) 

So, other than water and vitamins, my empty pack was calling out for some friends and I happily obliged. I took an extra pair of socks and shoes. This was a game changer that I have not done before on my shorter 40 mile training days and it made all the difference. I rotated my socks around 16 miles, 30 miles and 43 miles and switched my shoes at 30 miles. Since I was using Altra superiors with minimal cushioning, switching them out before the cushioning was completely useless for the day kept my feet feeling fresher. Also keeping that rotation of dry Ininji toe socks on my rather sweaty feet meant that I didn't get any of the usual blisters I've had in the past when performing long hikes. 

The wildlife was plentiful yesterday and I don't know if I activated some extra hunting sense from all the fasting or if there were just so many deer, but I seemed to be able to sense when the deer were close by and would snap my head right in their direction. I'm probably just not remembering the times I looked up from the trail and didn't see anything and I did also use this opportunity to soak in nature and left my headphones at home. So maybe I was actually just able to hear the wildlife around me for once.

I was pleasantly surprised to complete this so fast walking. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience this wonderful trail that is literally hidden all around us here in Dane County. Some sections seem to be nestled away in the most unexpected places.  I do credit my recent 7 day JMT unsupported thru hike to the added endurance, not taking headphones and the new way I am properly treating my feet on this FKT. I also eagerly await an actual ultra runner to destroy my FKT. Maybe someone else will try it with no calories as well?!?! Please!! I need some proof for my wife, so that I can break her current assumption that I am the only crazy one around! :)

I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to complete this trail and many others. It's all thanks to the love, support and patience of my close family - my wife, my mom and my sons that I have been able to do this!


User Picture
Profile picture for user PeterC

Nicely done Christopher and getting it done!