|Health food need not apply!|
On top of the mound of gear piled on my sled, the other essential component to survival out there on the trail is, of course, food. You can always melt snow for water in a pinch, but for as many as 90 miles between checkpoints the only possible food source was what I carried. Early on there were lodges where a real meal could be purchased. Food preferences by those spending time out in the remote areas of Alaska tend towards the heavy side. While this is great for calorie intake, it isn't necessarily what one would normally choose to consume during an endurance event.
|Yentna Station around mile 60|
|Skwentna Roadhouse, mile 90|
At mile 120 or 130 or so, we received our first drop bag at Winterlake Lodge. However, with all the support early in the race, I didn't really need to re-fuel much as I still had a fairly hefty food supply on my sled. I started with around 10 full pounds of food and had only tapped a few of my trail snacks by that point. That would change as we headed further away from even the minimal bits of civilization found along the big frozen rivers. Another drop bag was available at Rohn, mile 210 just at the edge of the Farewell Burn. I probably should have utilized more of that one as from that point on there's only the generosity of the Petruska family as support for the remaining 140 miles of trail. Unfortunately, the items I most wanted at this point in the race were more plentiful in my initial drop. So it goes.
|Gummy Bears Galore!|
The question of what one eats during a race like the Iditarod is a common one. My food choices were driven by 3 essential factors:
- Calorie density - The need to pack as many calories into as little weight as possible. I found myself scouring food labels for items with maximal calorie per weight.
- Edible while frozen - While it was possible to carry a few items unfrozen inside my clothing layers, the vast majority of my food was on the sled and therefore exposed to sub-freezing temps.
- Quickly digestible - Food that digests quickly, gets converted into energy quickly which keeps the body generating heat; continually fueling the fires is essential.
|Mancakes! (photo courtesy of Tony Covarrubias)|
Quite frankly, the warmth and hospitality received at the finish is one of the reasons I don't feel inclined to follow this guy:
|Beat as he heads out from Peter and Tracy's house for another 650 miles! My race was just a warm-up for him.|