Today was Alison's last day crewing me. She came with my mom, who was doing a ride-along -- scoping out how to be a crew person before she and my dad help me next week. (It was ironic, since Alison is a Madison police officer and offers more traditional ride-alongs.) Alison brought me all sorts of treats/trail magic, some which she offered me, others which she slipped into my bags -- everything from cold pizza (I love that while I'm on the trail) to candy to cappuccinos. You name it. Thanks, little sis!
So I started the day with a long connecting route to Indian Lake. There was one weird stretch of road where there must have been hundreds of birds in the trees lining both sides of the road. All I could hear were the birds' calls, what sounded like lots of birds pooping, and then these loud "thunks," like big chestnuts or something were dropping from the trees. It was weird. I've also had lots of ear popping between Lodi and Cross Plains -- it's so hilly.
Indian Lake is a favorite spot of mine to run and hike, so it was fun to be there as part of this adventure. The trails were perfectly groomed, as always. Table Bluff was a new trail for me, and I have to say it wasn't a favorite. It was kind of scruffy and not very pretty, although when you finished and looked back up at it, it looked pretty impressive.
The City of Cross Plains' trail started off with a nasty steep uphill on a gravel road. Then you wound through prairie -- dying now, but it must be beautiful in its peak -- then through forest, back to prairie, back to forest and so on. You end up at the Ice Age Trail Alliance headquarters, so I stopped in to say hi to the friendly staffers and take some photos (and use the bathroom and get some cold water).
The final stretch was another road route, part of which was used by the Ironman competition. There were lots of signs and notes painted on the pavement, some of which were funny and applicable to me (see photos).
Staying tonight with some friends in Verona, the Sensemans. Great food, great conversation, great lodging. Oh, and can't forget to mention that my great chiropractor, Dr. Andrew Schupp, who's also a trail runner, made a house call to give me a treatment and keep me in tip-top shape. If you live in this area and are looking for a great chiropractor who also does body work (ART, Graston, etc.), call Dr. Schupp.