The Musher Menu: Keeping Energy Up on the Beargrease Trail

Baihly Warfield
Updated: January 27, 2020 10:38 PM

As night fell at the Trail Center checkpoint, light snow began to fall. And Ryan Redington was the first to strap on his headlamp and head back into the woods. 


Redington is from Skagway, Alaska. He's been a top competitor in the Beargrease for the past several years. Although he hasn't led the 2020 race since being the first in to the Two Harbors checkpoint, he's been up in the top 6 for most of the race. 

"The dogs have been running good, the trails have been good. So we've been having fun," Redington said. "We're about halfway in the race and things are kind of looking good for us right now. But we've still got the second half of the race to do." 

Unlike many of the other mushers, Redington said he hasn't minded the warmer temperatures. He said his team has trained for it. 

Keith Aili was second out of Trail Center. He is also running one of Redington's teams. Martin Massicotte of Quebec, Canada followed in third. And Ryan Anderson left fourth. 

The 295-mile race is long, so mushers eat what they can when they can. 

“Cheesecake," Liza Dietzen was snacking on at the Sawbill checkpoint. "And some Rice Krispie bar things, but they’re frozen so I have to thaw them because my teeth hurt trying to bite it. And I ate some gummies and I had some pizza."

The mushers' menus are a little like trail mix. Some prefer the sweet parts; others are all about salty. 

“I bring a little grill there. So I barbecue," musher Ryan Anderson said. “Burgers and brats, yep.”

"Well, I ate a Goober Burger here at Trail Center," Ryan Redington said. "Bbut out on the trail I haven't snacked too much." 

The Goober Burger has peanut butter on it. 

Musher Kevin Mathis said he likes to do some research before a race. 

"I have some nutritional products that give me some energy," Mathis said. "Vitamins, and I use a lot of protein bars, some rehydration products to keep me hydrated. So I try to stay up on all the latest nutrition and keep that going into me on the trail." 

It doesn't matter the fuel, as long as it gets the mushers to the finish.

"People are like, all you’re doing is eating junk food," Dietzen laughed. "I said, in a race like this, it doesn’t matter what kind of calories you’re eating, it’s just that you’re eating something. Because you’re going to burn it off. You’re not going to gain 10 pounds on this race.”


Baihly Warfield

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