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Feeding the Machine

Posted by Raven Crystals on 10/9/2018 to Feeding the Machine
Feeding the Machine

It is one thing to say, “Yes, I’m going to do that,” and quite another to commit and actually do it. Once my training partner and I conspiratorially agreed to sign up for the Gobi March, I really needed to take a minute and figure out the food logistics for the race to see if I could actually commit and DO it.

I have a whole slew of food sensitivity challenges that need to be navigated around on a normal day. Participating and carrying a mandatory number of calories in a self-supported, multi-day stage race in a foreign country, gave me some “food for thought.” How am I going to feed my machine?

Mandatory Calories

And down the rabbit hole I dropped……I spent hours searching the internet for 1000s of calories of dehydrated, non-triggering allergy sensitive foods, in their original packages, with a complete list of ingredients. Did I mention the food packaging needs to be light weight? And the food delicious and digestible? And from a super cool company – extra bonus.

Social media marketing hit its target (big fan of Big Foot/Yeti combined with ultra running adventurist) when I came across an outside adventure Instagram photo with a hashtag for Sasquatch Fuel.

Click. Oh Helllllllooooo.

Sasquatch Fuel’s Vegan Rice and Beans (Gluten Free). A quick scan of the ingredients – not too many, quality sourced, and all are on my “I can eat it” food list. Other first impressions: The meal sounds tasty and the portion size seems satisfying. Not sure about the weight factor at this point, but as a complete bonus for the environment, the meal pouches are Omnidegradable. Definitely seems like cool people involved with this Bozeman, Montana based company. Double Triple bonus. I love Sasquatch Fuel’s stewardship of public lands, as well as, their support in gearing up and giving future generations the opportunity to get outside and connect with nature.

Here’s where some real fun started to come into play; my internet was glitchy, so I had to reach out to The Squatch Crew to “Talk to actual humans” with a few questions. And boom…made the magical connection with Andrew, the CEO of Sasquatch Fuel. Generous and supportive of my upcoming ultra marathon adventure, Andrew answered all my questions and gifted me with a meal of Vegan Rice and Beans for the very important pre-MonGOlia trail and taste test. Experience has shown me that if the tummy isn’t happy, my adventure quickly devolves into an extremely, fun sucking, epic ordeal. I highly recommend trail testing your meal choices, calories, and food combinations to see what optimally works for your physical activity, duration, and digestion.

Vegan Rice and Beans

Trail Test ~ June 2018 ~ Very dirty and very hungry after a tough 20 miles training on the PCT. I had been wanting to try this meal for weeks and finally had the chance. Sasquatch Fuel’s Vegan Rice and Beans turned out to be a delicious, hit the spot meal. Scored! Dinner option(s) secured for my MonGOlia ultra marathon and beyond.

For my Gobi-March adventure, I decided to bring a couple pouches of Vegan Rice and Beans with me. I had one pouch for dinner the first night in camp. A comforting choice for me; knowing the food I was eating for dinner not only tasted good but wouldn’t add stomach upset to the pre-race start anxiety ball starting to form in my gut.

Sasquatch Rice and Beans

My second pouch of Vegan Rice and Beans was consumed for dinner on Stage 4 of the race, also known as ”The Long March.” Every race is different, just as everyone’s digestion is different. I find that I am continually snacking on the trail trying to get enough calories in my body (my rule of thumb is 100 calories per hour) to keep my attitude/mood positive and my muscles moving. Staying on top of your nutritional needs during an ultra marathon is a key component for successfully (and less suckily) completing your distance. In this case, my distance to cover for the long march was approximately 42 miles.

Sasquatch Fuel

Dinner came at the perfect time during the long march with the distance a little over half way completed and an estimated 20+ miles to go. Warm and substantially filling, my dinner of Vegan Rice and Beans energetically carried me through some of the tougher miles later on that night, as we dealt with trekking miles in the middle of nowhere Mongolia, in the dark, while battling the flying Marsh moths attracted by our headlamp beams, followed by lightning flashes, and seemingly endless hours spent slogging in the pouring rain, before reaching camp sometime after 3 am, roughly 17 hours after the day’s start of Stage 4.  Whew.

Long march

                                                                                               photo credit to Racing the Planet

250km Gobi-March successfully completed. Woohoo!

Sunrise over Denver

Road tripping from Bozeman, Andrew and the Sasquatch Fuel crew came to meet and support me during my first 50 miler ultra marathon in Denver, Colorado for the Bear Chase Race Series (September 2018). Repeating my nutrition and food plan from my long march experience in MonGOlia, I dined on Vegan Rice and Beans about halfway through my 50 miler. Once again, the result was a happy tummy and I was re-energized with some "get up and go" to get me through the last bunch of miles to the finish of the race.

1st 50 miler

                                     photo credit to Bear Chase Race Series

For more stories about outside adventures, rock hounding, road trips, crystal information, and trekking on the trails please check out other postings on Raven's Blog