You can’t ski the Birkie on a cup of coffee and a peanut butter sandwich. The 50 plus kilometers necessitate proper hydration and nutrition.
This year, the Birkie food stations will supply GU and Nuun products as well as water, fruit and cookies. Skiers can fuel up at eight stations along the Birkie course and three on the shorter Korteloppet course.
Nuun’s Electrolyte Enhanced Drink provides essential electrolytes, such as sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium, for optimal hydrating. According to Nuun, its product is “hydration, not energy. Additional calories (through food) will need to be consumed. Aim for an additional 100-200 calories per hour depending on the exercise intensity.” Nuun’s drink has no added sugar and eight calories per eight ounces. See http://www.nuun.com and http://www.nuun.com/products/nuun-energy for more info.
GU’s energy drink supplies electrolytes and carbohydrates, plus GU packets at food stations provide 100 calories per packet and come in a variety of flavors. Go to http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/goes-gu_118982 and http://guenergy.com for more specifics. You can also speak to GU and Nuun representatives at their booths at the Expo.
Nuun’s Electrolyte Enhanced Drink will be available at the Powerline, Seeley Firetower, Highway OO and Mosquito Brook Road aid stations, as well as the third aid station on the Telemark Trails in the Korteloppet.
GU Brew Energy Drink will be handed up at Timber Trail, Boedecker Road, Gravel Pit Road and the Fish Hatchery. Nuun and GU drinks will alternate among the aid stations along the course so skiers can choose between the different products to meet individual nutrition and hydration needs.
According to Alan Serrano, Birkie Event Director, each drink hand-up has approximately six ounces of fluid, if skiers drink the entire cup and don’t spill it on their gloves or down their race bib. At this rate, Nuun drink provides six calories per six ounce cup and GU Brew about 27 calories per six ounce cup, which is similar to the calories in Heed used in last year’s Birkie.
Birkie skiers should also carry their own hydration/nutrition on the course since it’s as far as nine kilometers between some of the aid stations. Depending on a skier’s pace, that could be up to an hour and a half between aid stations. Hydration packs, waterbottle belts and stapling or pining GU packets to a belt or race bib are popular supplements to the aid stations. Along the course, many elite skiers get hand-ups from team personnel.
For post-race recovery, don’t forget to grab a TruMoo Chocolate Milk from Dean Foods at the finish line.