Ben Ogden – Birkie Fueling Plan

Ben Ogden, US World Cup skier racer, shares his fueling strategies for the upcoming 50th Annual American Birkebeiner.

For the Birkie this year I have a couple specific goals for both on and off course fueling. Some of the most important fueling will happen before I even get to the start line. An event like the Birkie requires an early start even for the pros who get the benefit of being escorted to the start line. My day will begin with a solid breakfast of (ideally) bread with jam, a hard boiled egg or two, and likely some ham or other protein source. Consuming breakfast 2-3 hours before the start will help lay a good foundation while still allowing for ample digestion time. An hour before start I’ll eat something still hearty, perhaps another piece of bread with jam. With 45 minutes to go I’ll begin warming up and testing my skis for any last minute wax changes. During my warm up (15-30 minutes before start) I’ll have a Maple Waffle and a Coffee UnTapped gel for some quick acting carbs and caffeine that will still keep my stomach feeling light and ready. For both my warm up and race I’ll be sipping my special high-carb hydration blend  – Lemon Tea Mapleaid mixed at 1.5x strength, plus a Maple UnTapped gel to give me that  carbohydrate boost. During the race I plan to carry 3 UnTapped gels – two of the high sodium Salted Citrus and one Coffee (for the added caffeine). I plan on trying to find a low intensity area between 10 and 20K to have one of these gels, likely the Coffee first, and save the others to see how I’m feeling further along. With limited hip belt space, I am thankful that UnTapped will be supporting everyone as the on-course nutrition, so I can grab more as needed. Having UnTapped readily available will provide a nice safety net if I start to feel that late-in-a-long-race empty feeling. My primary fuel for the race will come from my water bottle filled with the high-carb Lemon Tea. I plan to finish the 21 oz bottle in its entirety by around 40-45k, and then it just becomes a matter of giving everything I have through the finish line!

While the Birkie is a race I’m excited to have my eye on this year, it is a short turnaround between the finish line and the final races of the World Cup season. Staying well fueled during the race and eating and rehydrating directly after the Birkie will be crucial to a quick recovery for the next World Cup less than a week later. This is where the magic of UnTapped really kicks in; I know I can consume the max amount of pre and mid race fuel, (4 gels, a waffle, and a bunch of drink mix) and my stomach will still be happy and ready for my post-race recovery.

About Ben: Ben Ogden is a Cross country skier born and raised in Southern Vermont. For his childhood, Ben spent the winters ski racing, and the springs sugaring with his family. For college, he attended the University of Vermont and raced 5 seasons and won 3 national championships as a Catamount. There he studied Mechanical Engineering and learned; among other things, the physics behind the ancient secrets of producing Maple Syrup. Once college came to an end, Ben embarked on the challenge of racing full time on the World Cup. Fast forward to today and he has raced 3 seasons, competed in 1 Olympics and secured one individual World Cup podium. Unfortunately, the main draw back of ski racing at a high level Is that every year he almost entirely misses the sugaring season in Vermont. Consuming untapped products during the long and challenging race season is not only an important tool for his success, but also a much needed reminder of home.