Monday, February 12, 2007

Hold the butter

Date: Feb. 12
Mileage: 20.1
February mileage: 258.3
Temperature upon departure: 28

I set out today for one last ride on my fully loaded bike. For some reason, it was really tough. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve reduced my mileage, or because I haven’t reduced it enough, but I just couldn’t get warmed up. My legs were pumping lactic acid, and I could feel the metallic pangs of an old repetitive motion injury in my knees. Probably just a bad day. But I’ve decided to settle into some real rest. Tomorrow, I’m planning a short session at the gym, but I'll probably cut back on all other physical activity for the rest of the week.

I have just about all of my gear gathered for the race, with the exception of one thing - food. Since I’m one of those people that hates eating on the trail (I consider it a necessary chore akin to changing a flat tire), I’ve predictably put off deciding what I’m going to bring. The race rules require carrying 3,000 calories for the duration of the race. Lots of people just carry a pound of butter because it’s one of the lightest ways to pack 3,000 calories, but I think that’s a bad idea. I’ve tried to envision possible scenarios on the dark wilderness trail, and I can’t, for the life of me, come up with any situation that would compel me to bite into a frozen stick of butter. If I need food to save my life, it should probably be something I can actually eat. So I’m going to carry 20 ounces of chocolate, knowing those four extra ounces could make all the difference. And they're pretty negligible in the grand (60-pound) scheme of things.

As for food I actually plan to eat, I’m probably going to pack between 3,500 and 4,500 calories, knowing that this race could take me 16 hours to finish, or it could take me 40. There is food at three of the checkpoints along the way, but I’m not planning to rely on it. Most likely, I’ll bring: peanut butter and jam sandwiches; a homemade trail mix with raw walnuts, Craisens and dried cherries; turkey jerky; fruit leathers; fruit snacks (Shrek brand, my favorite); fig bars and Power Bars (I realize Power Bars freeze. But since they’re one of my best sources of complex carbohydrates, I’ll probably just carry them next to my torso to keep them warm.) The reason for all of this random, sugar-laden stuff is that it’s all been trail tested and approved for stomachache-free consumption.

I also will probably carry some Cytomax powder and maybe a few Clif Shot Bloks for good measure. Geoff is trying to convince me to take a bottle of Hammer Perpetuem. But the last time I tried to take a swig of that stuff, I was stopped cold by the smell of what is, to me, the most disgusting food ever to be manufactured and sold in a standard grocery store: Vanilla Soy Milk. Honestly, I think I’d have more luck getting the butter down.

If anyone has any last-minute suggestions, I’ll hear them out. I just discovered that also entered in the Susitna 100 this year is John “The Guy Who Drinks Vegetable Oil” Stamstad. So I guess there’s no end to the possibilities.