Nordic Night Fever - Food Strategies

Posted by Tony Mommsen on Jan 3rd 2017

A panel of Birkie veterans share their strategies 
Nordic Night Fever Event
6:00 - 8:00 P.M. - Feb. 9th at Gear West 
FOOD for the Birkie
Read these racer's thoughts on food and the Birkie.
(these skiers are not necessarily Birkie Night Fever panelists - but some of them might be)
Lynn Cecil
(Birkie Champ 1990) 

Night Before - I don't really think much about what I eat the night before the Birkie. I usually have a burger or pizza, either at Coops in Hayward or Rivers Eatery in Cable.

Morning - In the morning I like coffee with cream and some water. (I drink so much all the time that I don't have to worry about being hydrated for the Birkie.) The race isn't that long, 2-3 hours, so I don't eat much before the race. Sometimes I'll have a protein drink in the morning then throw it up on the way to the race or while walking to the start.

During - I carry gels in the sleeve of my race suit. When it's cold I get Power Gels because it's the most viscous and flows best. At water stops, I take the energy drinks and grab gels if they have them. They use Hammer for the energy drink, which is awesome. I rarely carry a water bottle because the belt irritates me and the water frequently freezes, making it nearly impossible to get any water out, which means I finish the race with a full bottle.

After - I cross the finish then I head straight to the food tent to grab some soup. Eating right away helps with recovery. Then I usually meet friends at the Rivers Eatery for some brick oven pizza.
Al Hanson
(36 Birkies - Elite wave)

Earlier - I start drinking a lot of water earlier in the week before the Birkie.
Night Before - In the old days (you have to remember this will be my 37th Birkie) I would go to the pasta feed at Telemark Lodge. Nowadays I usually have some sort of pasta dinner at the cabin I stay at. For dinner, I eat a bit more than usual.
Morning - Oatmeal or cereal, a bagel, a banana, a couple small cartons of milk and water.
During - If it's warm I carry a water bottle and I attach 3-4 gels to my bib. At water stops, I take energy drinks. I start eating gels early in the race to keep from bonking.
After - Right away I head to the food tent to grab something to eat, it helps with recovery. Then I walk to a bar in Hayward and have a beer to celebrate.

Ari Mahonen
Earlier - I like to have heavier meals two days before the Birkie. I usually don't drink enough water, so the week before I try to drink three liters each day.
Night Before - A few years ago I would have a pasta dinner the night before the Birkie. Now I tend to have something lighter like a salad and soup.
Morning - Cereal, milk, strong coffee and I drink water right up to the start line.
During - I wear a drink belt with water and staple a few gels to the outside and stuff a few more in the drink belt under the bottle. (about all the water I consume - don't I worry about having to stop during the race to take a leak? - I really don't mind stopping - It doesn't take all that long and it assures me that I'm fully hydrated.

After - I usually skip the food tent after the race. Sometimes my wife and I grab something at a restaurant in town or on the way home to Minneapolis. The Angry Minnow would be ideal - but is too busy on race day. The last couple years we've stopped at a place I like in Siren - it might be called Adventures or something like that.
Jan Guenther

Night Before - The day before the Birkie I work the Swix/Gear West booth at the Expo. I would like to snack and drink during the day before any big race, but for the Birkie I usually don’t squeeze it in. So, that night back at our cabin I like to sit down, stop talking (since I’d been talking all day) and eat in silence. I like to have a dinner including a little protein and a lot of carbs - something like chicken and pasta with no cream sauce.  I try not to drink any wine and I drink a lot of water. I really like a good chili too, if that’s available.

Morning - I love breakfast. The morning of the Birkie I like to have two scrambled eggs, a bowl of oatmeal and coffee.

During - I pin three gels, with safety pins, to the waistband of my race suit and tuck them between my race suit and base layer to keep the gel warm. I don’t carry a drink belt and I grab two energy drinks at each station. I try to eat one gel after 00 - it’s always a challenge to get the gel without poking another skier with my pole.

After - After crossing the finish I head over to the food tent for soup then walk over a burger joint in Hayward and have a hamburger.

Join us for Nordic Night Fever
Thursday - February 9th at Gear West

Nordic Night Fever Facebook page


-Posted by Tony Mommsen on Jan 3rd 2017