I remember dreaming of the Iditarod Trail Invitational in June while working on the Cosmic Apple Farm. Not shure how I got so addicted to it, but I did. A lot of people ask me why I do this race. The main reason is because I can. Other reasons include the challenge, the freedom and experiencing big, beautiful, wide open Alaska, having it all to myself at times. Gettin' ready for a race like this starts long before the start line. Purchasing plane tixs, guesstimating a return time, finding someone to watch our house and dogs, gettin all the survival gear together, scheduling all the bills to be paid while we're gone, findin' a place to stay in AK, and gettin' a ride to the airport with our 2 bike boxes and luggage. I started shopping for our drops a month before they had to be mailed, picking up different food items here and there keepin' it as cheap as possible, since everything is X's two. Our main meals consisted of ramen, which I love at the checkpts, Idahoans (instant mash potatoes) with butter, these are good when on the trail using my thermos of hot water, different styles of mac and cheese side dishes with powdered milk, butter (packaged at home) and sometimes a pouch of salmon, also good at checkpts due to it needing to be boiled a little more. I thought I would like the stuffing a lot more, but it wasn't all that and I will probably leave this out next time. These would be our main meals, with JayP varing his with meat. Then there is the trail food. This is really tricky cuz you don't kow what you'll want to eat or how warm or cold the temps will be. Warmer temps, less food, cold temps, possible storm or other variables, more food. I have kept a list of the past 3 yrs and what I put in each drop, I still don't have it dialed but believe I am gettin' better at choosing things I will eat. I love candy, shiny, bright, all the dye and sugar you you can pack in CANDY! Sour patch kids, gummy bears, mike and ikes and welches fruit snack are a few of my favorites. Chocolate bars, I learned a lot about these this yr. I was able to find smoe nice belgium chocolate bars for cheap, but once they froze they tasted like crapolah! So lesson learned the cheaper chocolate usually 2 for 1 bars such as reese PB cup, almond joy, carmello (my fav), reese crunch (2nd fav), PB snickers, take 5, whoppers, are a few I rely on. Then there are the nuts, cakes and cookies. We were fortunate to recieve lots of tasty calories from Tram Bar which was great, but I prefer them chopped in pieces. The cookie of choice is nutterbutter, followed by just about any other kind of cookie. The cakes of little debbie or hostess of any kind are always a welcome treat. I am pretty shure I ate my 1st Suzy Q this past trip, T-lecious fer shure! Fruit pies aren't so good frozen, but thanks to handwarmers, this can be quickly solved. We also carry hot coco, coffee, emergency, cough drops, lots of vitamin I and different hard candies.