At the 11th hour (or the 23rd), funny things happen to appetites. Racers down anything from miso soup to pizza-basically, whatever they can stomach at 3 a.m. With fatigue and adrenaline, "it's hard to eat during the race," says 1998 champ Chris Davenport (who swears by protein shakes, sushi, and Red Bull). Bill Fabrocini, 24 Hours trainer, has other ideas:
Scarf down carbs
Fabrocini treats the 24 Hours as any other grueling race, even the Ironman. A regular-Joe ski day is just a miniature rendition. Take in carbs-they're the best food to stoke your muscles with the glycogen needed for energy. "Skiing is like doing intervals-you go hard for a few minutes, then rest," he says. "If you're concerned with performance, you need starches." For breakfast, try whole-grain bread, yogurt, and bran cereal. For lunch, chow down pasta.
Sip sports drinks
Without water, your body can't transport fuel to your cells, so your legs turn to rubber. Drink two pints of aqua at night and a big glass in the morning. Then fill your canteen with something more. "Once you're out there," says Fabrocini, "Gatorade's better. You get electrolytes and bonus carbs."
Don't stop snackingDuring the race, skiers eat 60 grams of carbs an hour-for them, that's two GU packets. For you (unless you like GU), that translates to half a PowerBar or a couple handfuls of pretzels at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.-and twice that around noon. "Keep your energy optimal," says Fabrocini. "If you're hitting the bumps for hours, that glycogen level has to stay high.