Saturday, August 6, 2011

No Aid Stations

Most of us are used to a life of luxury in which we can open our cupboards or fridges and hoover down our choice of sweet or savoury, right? Right! Every once in awhile however, we branch out on adventures that put us through exercise hell and, bang for buck or weight for energy, really limit our food choices. Multi-day adventurers and racers alike know precisely what I mean. Variety of food is so nice and sometimes undervalued in our day-to-day routines. Imagine being restricted to only sweets forever. Or only salty. Even after a five hour run and seven gels or other over-packaged caloric treats, one's stomach starts to rot and your teeth start to hurt. No other quote brings home the value of food and variety better than theoatmeal's White River 50 race report in saying "at mile 21 I drank a cup of flat Mountain Dew and I swear it tasted like unicorn tears (I laughed aloud here). At mile 43 I ate a PB&J sandwich and it was like eating the entrails of a fallen angel." But how can adventurers possibly carry the smorgasbord of delights they would like to sustain them for more than eight hours?
The reason this comes to mind is that in the next month I am taking part in several long-ish events that will require me to be self-sustained for periods of up to eight hours. The events:
August 12th and 13th, a running of the West Coast Trail, in more than 10:08 (Gary Robbins style), and on September 10th and 11th, a 24 hour Rogaine event near Merrit's Lundbom Lake.

Those of you that know the West Coast Trail know that I will be entitled to one luxurious stop at Chez "Sticks holding up a few tarpaulins" (Monique's) around half way into this very technical 75km's of snakes and Ladders...and bears, and river crossings, and mud, and sand, and ziplines. Sounds fun, right? Definitely. Perhaps I'll enjoy the burger and beer at Moniques, but outside of that, what should I be carrying in my bag?

Lundbom Lake, Near Merritt, BC

West Coast Trail is clear, but what the heck is a rogaine , some of you are asking? Some of you may know it as a hair growth product, but NO, unlike the Lazy Trail Runner, I have lots of that. As defined by the Kamloops area's Sage Orienteering Club,


Teams of 2 to 5 people choose how long and how far they will venture to find as many of the

Controls marked on the map as they can. The controls may be found in any order and teams

may return to the central Hash House at any time to eat and/or sleep.

The terrain of the Lundbom lake area promises to be gorgeous, but don't be fooled. It'll be hot as hell in the day, near zero during the day and spear grass heaven. In the center of this 110km's squared area id a Hash House. It is well stocked (usually) but many teams don't return for many, many hours, if at all. So again you are required to be self-sufficient for eight or more hours, so what should be carried?

So a call out to all you adventurers, racers, hikers, and cooks or chefs. With no aid stations, what should I carry in my 25 liter bag. Of course I have my own ideas from previous adventurers like R2R2R Grand Canyon, but what are your dreamiest concoctions. Lighter is better by the way. Help me create my portable aid station.

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