FKT: Rob Raux - Potawatomi Trail (MI) - 2020-09-13

Gender category
Route variation
six loops (100+ miles)
Start date
Finish date
Total time
23h 53m 38s
GPS track(s)

The plan was to stick in the 3:15 -> 3:30 range after the first loop, 6 counter-clockwise loops in total for ~108 miles. Nothing organized other than a COVID-19 solo challenge.

Things were on track through 2 loops, but the heat and humidity on the 3rd seized me. By 4pm it was 80F and 75% humidity, the lowest it would be all day. The humidity bounced back to almost 100% for the entire night starting about 8pm through the finish, with the temperature stayed in the mid 60's. The only reprieve would come in the form of heavy rain for a brief period during loop 5, and an extended drenching (1 hr+) on loop 6. The heavy rain for loop 6 caused some temporary trail flooding.

The humidity manifested as early signs of heat exhaustion, specifically nausea and a slight headache. The final 4 loops were all spent walking the tightrope between eating enough, drinking plenty, and moving as fast as reasonable without falling into the unrecoverable abyss.

Pacers for laps: 1, 4->4.5, 5, and 6. This was the nice blend of solo thoughts/experience and camaraderie, especially useful in the night hours as I cursed at the sky for not bringing cooler temps with the storms. This would have proven more difficult without their support.

Lessons learned:

1. It can be easier/less effort to run than hike. Running had no nausea from the humidity whereas hiking it was all over the spectrum and difficult to alleviate. Running must have generated a breeze to help with evaporation? Not sure what else explains the difference.

2. High humidity is insidious as the sweat evaporation rate goes way down.

3. There are many plants on the Poto that smell like cucumber.

Approximate loop timing: 3:07, 3:24, 3:50, 4:06, 4:37, 4:48

Gear: Salomon Adv Skin 12, 2 x water bottles, ice bandana (2x loops)
Food: Cliff Blok {Black Cherry, Margarita}, Dates, SiS Beta Fuel, SiS Salted Watermelon GU, S-Caps
Liquids: 120oz+ water (incl. 15oz beta fuel) per lap