Ice Age Trail 50

The Ice Age Trail 50 is one of the oldest continuously-running ultras in the country. A course like no other, you’ll run in dense deciduous forests, under tall pines, over rocky ridges and across open prairies – and see lakes, kettles, kames, erratics and other natural features left when the glaciers finally retreated from Wisconsin more than 10,000 years ago.

Also offering a 50k and a half marathon course options.

Horribly Hilly Hundreds

Do you want to suffer? If you do then making a trip out to the Midwest’s premiere sufferfest is worth putting on the seasons bucket list. The Horribly Hilly Hundreds says its goal in the name by giving three ride options for the event. These rides are 100k, 150k, and 200k routes; this event is no joke whatsoever. And with more than 10,000 feet of climbing, the Horribly Hilly Hundred is one of the hardest one day events in the Midwest, period. With a massive rider field having come to the event in the past few years, the average field size for the ride is more than 1,300 riders. To accommodate the mass number of sufferers to ride along Wisconsin’s scenic byways, there has been a lottery system implemented so everybody can have a fair chance at entry. For the people that want to go uphill a lot and test themselves physically and mentally, then the Horribly Hilly Hundreds is something to put on the bucket list.

200K:

The 200K option of the HHH offers 124.2 miles of riding. You’ll climb 40 significant rises, from 50-foot bumps to the 910-foot final climb, for a total of 10,700 feet of elevation gain. The ride has four full-service rest stops, including bathrooms, at mile markers 24, 44, 65, 98 and the finish line. Leg C is the easiest, a respite in preparation for legs D and E. There will be mini-water stops at critical intersections where you can fill up your water bottle and get a banana or granola bar, but those will not have restrooms.

150K:

The 150K route features 9,300 feet of elevation gain. Full-service rest stops are at mile markers 24, 51, 75 and the finish line. Staying on the route is facilitated by maps, cue sheets, and adhesive arrows on the road. Sag wagons, medical support, and repair trucks will be available. Bring extra tubes and other spares, especially if you use sew-up tires or non-standard gear. We recommend a minimum of a 27 tooth rear cassette. Many successful completers of the HHH have used a rear MTB derailleur with a 32 or 34 tooth, or a triple crank.

100K:

Expect 5,700 feet of elevation gain over 66.5 miles on this route. The 100K has full-service rest stops at mile markers 24, 42 and the finish line.

The Horribly Hilly Hundreds cycling event is an important fundraiser for the Friends of Blue Mound State Park (FBMSP), which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Recently the FBMSP have provided all or significant funding for the new pool, mountain bike trail improvements, trail signage, campsite upgrades, solar panels, winter trail grooming equipment, and other park needs. Future funds will help continue mountain bike trail improvements, group campsite development, and repairs needed after last summer’s heavy rains.

The event producer for the Horribly Hilly is Race Day Events, founded in 2006, is the Midwest’s Event production leader. Specializing in endurance events, Race Day Events produces, manages and assists with more than 300 events each year. From small 5Ks to IRONMAN and from Taste of Madison to local block parties, the Race Day Events team does it all in the greater Madison region.

Ironbull Red Granite Grinder

A top gravel event in the US and winding its way through beautiful central Wisconsin is the Red Granite Grinder. Unlike most, the event organizers give an excellent description of this endurance masterpiece. “Riders get a chance to explore the grit in the western portion of Marathon County on several gems that can only be accessed through this race.  Riders will fully experience Central Wisconsin by riding through areas not usually open to bikes in addition to passing ginseng fields, dairy farm pastures, barns, and farm fields in each the 50, 85 and 140 races.  If you’d like to be a part of the event but don’t want to spend hours on your bike, consider the 12 mile recreational ride, or volunteer!Riders will be tested through a variety of hills, with the top male and female climbers being crowned “King / Queen of the Hill”  before descending trails at Rib Mountain State Park for this one and only day!” The creme de la creme of the race is the 140 mile version. “Racers are immediately tested on this challenging course.  Riders get a taste of what’s in store with climbing 800 feet to the top of Rib Mountain, setting the tone for the day. With lactic acid filled legs, riders must dismount for a mile hike-a-bike before riders white knuckle down, needing every ounce to maintain focus on the unpracticed, yet technical descent. Riders leave the city, where the race travels through the Wausau School Forest with one-of-a-kind bridges.  After a spin in the Wausau School Forest, riders take several more miles of dirt via snowmobile trails at Nine Mile County Forest.  After a few miles of gravel to Fenwood, riders finally can catch their breath on a rail-to-trail all the way to Edgar.  In Edgar, riders enjoy the wooded trails at Scotch Creek Preserve.  Riders get some reprieve at a stocked and energized aid station at mile 51 before heading to a redesigned 2020 route north into Lincoln County on several miles of forested gravel.  Riders have one last chance to refuel in Red Granite country before tackling the final gut-wrenching climbs.  In Maine, riders will fly down Billy Goat Hill only to gut it out on the final hills before heading back to downtown Wausau.  Riders can finally relax as they welcome flat, smooth pavement all the way to the finish line in the heart of downtown Wausau.”

The 85 miler is a step down from the 140 but is still absolutely no joke. “Riders start out on the 140 mile route and are immediately tested.  Racers are immediately tested on this challenging course.  Riders get a taste of what’s in store with climbing 800 feet to the top of Rib Mountain, setting the tone for the day. With lactic acid filled legs, riders must dismount for a mile hike-a-bike before riders white knuckle down, needing every ounce to maintain focus on the unpracticed, yet technical descent. Riders leave the city, where the race travels through the Wausau School Forest with one-of-a-kind bridges.  After a spin in the Wausau School Forest, riders take several more miles of dirt via snowmobile trails at Nine Mile County Forest.  After a few miles of gravel to Fenwood, riders finally can catch their breath on a rail-to-trail all the way to Edgar.  In Edgar, riders enjoy the wooded trails at Scotch Creek Preserve.  Riders get some reprieve at a stocked and energized aid station at mile 51 before the 85 mile route splits off the 140 mile route and heads east, where riders will have the wind at their backs.  Riders have one last chance to refuel in Red Granite country before tackling the final gut-wrenching climbs.  In Maine, riders will fly down Billy Goat Hill only to gut it out on the final hills before heading back to downtown Wausau.  Riders can finally relax as they welcome flat, smooth pavement all the way to the finish line in the heart of downtown Wausau.”

And new for 2020, is a 50 mile and there is the family friendly 12 mile version. There are frequent, fully stocked aid stations along the course and there are plenty of pre race and post race activities. The Red Granite Grinder is a top mixed surface event in the USA and an excellent course for testing yourself for Kanza and or beyond.