Saturday, December 29, 2012


Underdown country has 3 inches of beautiful powder.  Ski trails have been skied in, but we'll probably have to wait until Friday for grooming.  Snowshoe trails all have tracks with solid lakes and improving tread across bogs.  Fat bike conditions are fair at best, but improving through next weekend.
The Beaver Trail in Harrison Hills has some cool routes for snowshoeing and back-country skiing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


The Underdown got 4 inches of new snow.  The green ski trail is dragged, but not tracked yet.  Snowshoe trails all have tracks and signs.  Bike riding conditions will be poor for a while except for A&Z and the lakes which are frozen solid.  Bogs need a lot more snow.  Tomorrow will be a day to check the lakes on the Beaver Trail backcountry in the Harrison Hills.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snowbound in the Underdown

10AM  The solo race will follow as much as the snowshoe trail system as conditions permit,  hopefully past Dog Lake counter-clockwise all the way to Mist Lake for 8 miles of snow single-track.  This is the race for series points.

1PM The 3-person team relay will run for 3 hours on trails A & Z  for 2 funky miles of snow single-track.

$15 will get you into either race or both. 
ENTRY FORM Print a copy and bring it along if you want, or fill one out in the cold on race day.

  • Fire and miles of unique trails over hills, bogs, and lakes.  There may be more, but this event is really all about the trails.  
  • Feel free to bring your favorite number plate or we can assign you a circular one.
  • Guided group ride of the Beaver Trail back country Saturday night or Sunday morning.  Either way.

While you're in the area, visit our map sponsors.
For snacks: Prairie Pines Country Store on the north end of Gleason  at 17 and X
For burgers and pizza: Lighthouse Bar and Grill south of Gleason on X

Trail conditions.
Wisconsin State Fat-Bike Series Race Series

Monday, November 5, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ghost Ride

 5PM Saturday, October 27
Poker Run
Capture the Flag
New Trail

A Wausau rider to show up early to hide the flag
Loser pours

Bring your extra items to give away as Poker Run prizes.
So far we have an Ergon saddle and gourds.

 10 AM Calling All Cordless Drills
70 foot  boardwalk to be built on the Saddle switchback 

Ride Hemlock Hill

Trail CC is done except for the last climb.  Steve, Paul, Beth and Randy came out in the rain and got a lot done this weekend.  Monday afternoon and Saturday morning look like good times to come out and help finish it up.

Leaves are still coming down, but we'll get rid of them in a week or so.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Trail Day

Please come on out to build a funky new third mile of trail.  This will be your last chance to build new trail in the Underdown for at least 5 years so don't miss out.

Come any time on October 13th and 14th and work as long as you want.  I'll be there the whole time with a good collection of digging tools.

Drive or walk in on the trail X double track from Loop Road and climb the Saddle hill on trail XX and C.  See trail CC in red on the map below.

Be prepared to be scared on the October 27th Ghost Ride at 5PM. This is your chance to ride the new trail in the dark and win an Ergon titanium saddle and other fabulous prizes.  Start saving your used goodies to add to the poker run pot.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Support Our Map Sponsors

Lincoln County: Always something to do
Knight Lake Serenity: Quiet cabins just south of the Underdown
Red Eye Brewing: Wausau
Rib Mountain Cycles: Wausau
TC Teardrops: Super sleek campers
Bikes N Boards: Rhinelander
Giant: Fast machines
Changing Gears Pedal and Paddle: Tomahawk
Builer's Cyclery and Fitness: Wausua
Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association
CoVantage Credit Union
Prairie Pines Country Store: Gleason
St. Stephen's United Church of Christ: Merrill
The Lighthouse Bar & Grill: Gleason
Uniquely Schotz: Quilts, beads and fiber adventures Irma
Subway: Merrill, Tomahawk, Antigo
Merrill Veterinary Clinic
Mel's Trading Post: Rhinelander
Tomahawk Surplus Store

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BURGR 2013

Bill Underdown's Roubaix-style Group Ride will start and finish at the Lighthouse Bar & Grill next year.  The course will measure 95.5 miles including 66.2 miles on gravel.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ice Age Trail Fall Hike

Saturday, September 22, 2012
10 A.M.

Northwoods Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance will have there Fall Color Hike in the beautiful rolling hardwoods in the Harrison Hills  of Lincoln County.  Hike will be approximately 2 ½ to 3 miles in length.  Cookies and refreshments will be served.

Public is invited

Meet at the Recreational parking lot on Highway B
Time:  10.A.M.
Bring water

Directions:  Take Highway 64 East of Merrill to Highway l7. Go north 19 miles on Highway 17 to Highway B.  Turn right(west) on B.  Go 1 mile to the Ice Age Trail Trail-head at the Recreational Parking Lot.  Follow Ice Age Trail Event signs.

Any questions Contact Ruby Jaecks or 715-443-3586

Friday, August 31, 2012

Pitch Black Photos

Photos from David Swanson

Photos from Coleman Retzlaff

Monday, August 27, 2012

Heineman Fire

This is one map of the extent of the 1910 Heineman fire that wiped out the town of 400.  Other accounts tell of fires moving south from the Underdown and narrowly missing two homesteads on Yanda Ave.

Thanks to Robert Rusch.

Railroads and Ghost Towns

Major Historic Railroads of Lincoln County

Dunfield Townsite just north of the Underdown on County J near Alta Junction where the Long Lake Line split from the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad System

Major railroads and logging railroads including the Wright Lumber Company line into the Underdown with Camps 1 & 2

Thanks to Robert Rusch of Rib Lake for the research

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Old Underdown Railroad Map

A few days ago Irv Bork and I compared notes about historic sites in the Underdown.  As a kid Irv herded milk cows in the Underdown so he knows it well.

Lumber Camp 1 was found on the Wright Brothers rail line just east of county forest land.  Most of that line was graded by horses pulling slushers which were drags that would pull dirt from hills and drop it in the fills.  The Greek Fill was actually done with shovels and steel wheelbarrows.  The rail company had  immigrants work off their lack of a sponsor by filling in that low part of the rail grade with manpower.  The Kelsey (spelling unknown) Branch of rails was a good place to retrieve the cows in early summer when food was abundant.

The lumber camp just north of Underdown Lake was Camp 2, and Camp 3 was somewhere in the vicinity of Loop Road near trail X.  The bike trail crosses the Camp 3 branch at the Monster Bridge and Blackwater Bridge.  The location of Camp 4 is a mystery, but it was somewhere west of the others.  My hunch is somewhere near Henson Lake.

The stone foundation and furrowed pine plantation first believed to be the home of Bill Underdown is actually the Scheidlow (spelling unknown) Homestead.  The concrete and stone confirms it to be a more recent structure.  Most earlier homesteads were just logs laid out right on the earth.  A story I had heard recently was confirmed.  Underdown's homestead was on the grounds of the current Lincoln County Landfill.  The pine plantation north of the main Underdown parking lot was farmland at one time, and there was another homestead near the little parking lot on Loop Road.  There is barbed wire and a balsam plantation on the site.  I've also found barbed wire on the Roundtop Hill where the frost comes out early so the Borks could plant corn two weeks earlier than anywhere else before the county acquired the land by trade.

Before Camp Squawberry was a Girl Scout camp it was the Anderson homestead.  A silo, foundation and chimney can still be found on the site.  Not much is left of the Heineman ghost town that was leveled by fire in 1910.  Some stone from the mill foundation hides in the brush near the railroad bridge pilings south of Heineman Road.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Go Ride

August mowing is done.  The hornet's nest on trail U has finally been found and destroyed.
Try something new like trail V or trail M around the hollow.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

BURGR Results

1. Joel Hynes 96 miles in 5:40
2. Chris Schotz a bit later
3. Mike Curtes some time later
4. Randy Wegener s.t.

Back next year.  Maybe a Lighthouse start-finish.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bill Underdown's Roubaix Style Group Ride

This a 96 mile, self-navigated, unsupported, free "group ride" through the wilderness dirt roads of Lincoln, Langlade, and Oneida counties.  Like with any other training ride, you will be responsible for yourself and should not count on rescue from anyone.  You will be on the road for 7 hours or more and will not pass through any town for the final 90 miles.  You will be in bear and wolf territory most of the time.  Your phone will work most of the time.  All traffic laws and laws of nature apply.

Start: 10AM July 14th Underdown parking lot


  • This is a cross bike ride.  Mountain bikes would make it, but without compromise tires they will be tougher to ride that far.  Road bikes will not survive some fire road segments.
  • I'm using the same 700x32 tires that got me across Iowa.  Sometimes those aren't quite enough, but overall they are an efficient and durable choice.
  • You will receive a cue sheet with turns, road names, and mileage.  You will need an accurate computer unless you plan on never getting dropped from the group.  You will need a way to hold your cue sheet whether a stem bag with a window, clip board, binder clips, or the cuff of your shorts.
  • Because the route really doesn't have to be top secret, and I don't want anyone getting stranded: Map Joel's Ride 
  • Depending on temperatures, start with 3 or 4 bottles and put the same in your drop bag.
  • Sunday should be a good day to pick raspberries in the Underdown.

Wausau Recaptures Thunderdown Cup

Wausau 315
Rhinelander 301
Madison 186


Friday, June 29, 2012

You're Not Alone Out There

Low flying eagles and deer at Oktoberfest
Loons on Underdown Lake
Bear tracks on U and KK
Ducklings on Dog Lake

The short course will run up Loop Road to visit the Round Top aid station instead of using trail X.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monday, June 25, 2012

Long Course Profile

Data collected by Jason on Saturday: about 2000 feet of climbing per lap.

TEST LAP- 1:29 by #11
Someone will finish a lap around 1:20.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Building a new deck?

Why not donate the old one to your local trail builder?  Thanks Beth and Paul.

Steve and I gave White Lightning a new top today.  He's always up for some crazy trail project.  Between the two of us, the race course got mowed.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Any Questions?

Just like last year, the race will split on the top of the climb about 2 miles in.

Free Book Download

Underground in the Underdown will be free on Sunday, June 24th only.
It's not about bikes.  It was just written on one.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Group Ride June 23rd 10AM

By then the trail will be mowed, cleaned and partly marked.

The Muddy Angle

Not muddy anymore.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Start Time - June 30, 2012

10AM: 10 hour
12PM: Single Speed State Championship
1PM: 6 Hour
2PM: Junior (unless they all want to race at 3)
3PM: 3 Hour

 14 Mile Loop:
10 Hour Solo
10 Hour Duo
6 Hour Solo
Single Speed State Championship (2 laps)

 7 Mile Loop:
10 Hour Team
6 Hour Duo
3 Hour Solo
Junior (up to 3 hours)

 All loops are about 2 miles shorter than last year so we'll see more of each other.


Camping is available on site. Register for a fee, probably $10. No need for reservations.
We'll cover trail passes, but let us know if you have a season pass so we don't pay double.
Gleason has the closest store. There is a convenience store, but I recommend Prairie Pines Country Store on the north end of town for fresh and bulk food plus ice cream.
Thanks to our sponsors for after race prizes and refreshment: Red Eye, Bikes N Boards, Mel's Trading Post, Rib Mountain Cycles, Sprocketz, and Builer's.

Thundertown in the Underdown

The 2010 Thunderdown Cup found a home at the Red Eye in Wausau, and the 2011 model is on display at Bikes N Boards in Rhinelander so I commissioned artist Blane Graeber to create this model that will travel to the most recent winning town - that is unless we have a new winner. The word is that the tough guys from Duluth are making a strong run at the Cup. Madison is having fantasies about it. The Thunderdown Cup goes on display in the town that turns in the most miles at the Thunderdown. Get your rosters turned in by 3PM on race day. The neutral local and arbitrator will again be Steve Engel.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Wildflower Hike in Harrison

NORTHWOODS CHAPTER ICE AGE TRAIL ALLIANCE SPRING WILDFLOWER HIKE Saturday, May 12, 2012 10:00 A.M. Northwoods Chapter of the Ice Age Trail Alliance will conducting their annual Spring Wildflower Hike in the beautiful hills and rolling hardwoods of the Harrison Hills in Lincoln County. Terrain will be moderately difficult because of a few steeper hills. Bring a lunch and water to have on the trail. Meet at the Ice Age Trail head on Turtle Lake Road Directions: Take Highway 51 to County Road J at Irma-Go east on J- 5 miles to Turtle Lake Road. Go north 2 ½ miles on Turtle Lake Road to trail head. Or from the East-Take Hwy 17 to County Road J at Bloomville. Go west on County Road J to Turtle Lake Road (follow Ice Age Trail Event signs) Any questions contact Ruby Jaecks or 715-443-3586

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Even though the trails are pretty well dried out, we'll have to wait until they open on May 1st for the sake of harmony with other user groups. It won't be long.
When you do get out there you'll find 3 new bridges installed this spring around the Hollow. If you haven't been there since the last race you'll find some big changes near the Homestead and Oktoberfest.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

On Your Own

I went out and retrieved the snowshoe signs while there still was a trail. Snowshoe hiking will be nice in freezing weather, but lakes are getting very sketchy and warm weather is ahead. Ski trails will be ice or slush from now on. Biking may have to wait until the May 1st opening.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Get Out There

I got out on snowshoes in the new snow tonight. Things were pretty and pretty deep. All lakes had slush that could be felt if not seen. I took baby steps to leave a causeway that should be solid by Sunday. Saw 3 otter scoots, and my light died on the saddle hill before Dog Lake so I never got to Mist Lake. I must have forgot to charge it after the last ride. I'm sure the slush on the lakes farther out is at least as soft as the lakes I crossed. I was half way back before a nice half moon lit things up, but I wasn't about to head back out by then. As it was, the Dog Lake loop took over 3 hours tonight. Got the car unstuck just as the fuel light came on. Must remember to park pointed downhill.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Buckets of Snow

Snowshoe trails will get tracks today or Thursday, Ski trails probably Friday.
Fat bikes should go to Levis this weekend and try back in a week.