All photos with captions are listed at the Strava link below.
Some of this route is used during the Frozen Otter (Winter ultra race) so I had some familiarity with it or so I thought. That is during the freezing cold and has two loops. Whereas this attempt is a point to point from North to South and on the southern end, there is an approximate 2.1 miles added on the end.
It was hot, the damn deer flies biting were relentless and around mile 24 I overheated causing me to throw myself in to the ponds for the remaining 10 miles or so to get my core body temp down as I wanted to finish this thing.
Don't let the midwest fool you here. I did over 4000 feet of vertical gain. There are no big mountains per se nor long drops. Instead you are tormented with long rollers that basically feels like it never stops. Totally thrashing your legs.
That said, some amazing scenery (if you can appreciate it in that state of mind) and highly recommend anyone to go after it or check this trail out. Just make sure to bring bug spray or tape - you've been warned! LOL
Two side notes:
On the Hwy 23 crossing and the only Hwy that you cross while on this trail. You don't run along the highway for more then a mile and it is back in the woods you go.
The FKT route listed shows it going down to Ridge Rd on the left when you first come out of the woods, crossing the highway using Ridge Rd and coming back down to the trail on the opposite side of the highway. That isn't correct. When you come out of the woods line, you can clearly see the Ice Age Trail signs on the other side (according to maps it is Old Plank Road Trail so technically it is a connector back to the Ice Age Trail) of the road and you cross there. This is also shown on Mapbox and Open Streen Map where they show the trail crossing there at that point. Mind you, looking out for traffic obviously. If you are curious about the distance we are talking about, it is approximately 400 feet to Ridge Road, 40 feet to cross Hwy 23 and then 400 feet to get back to the point on the trail.
One additional note, the orginal FKT states 2,233 feet of vertical gain. It is almost double that where my Garmin recording 4,268 feet. I'm sharing just so others have a better idea on what to expect.