Diet Soda at an Aid Station?!?

I had the good fortune to work the Columbine aid station at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race yesterday. Columbine is the 50 mile point for the race and the elevation was about 12,600 feet. There was a helicopter swooping down to film the lead riders when they came through and a camera crew to get footage for the next “Race Across the Sky” movie. I will be the volunteer in the movie wearing the extra-large volunteer t-shirt that reaches her knees. (There were only three small t-shirts and it didn’t seem friendly to fight the the 10 year-olds for them.) The typical aid station fare was laid out on four folding tables. Drink options included water, Poweraid, Coke, and DIET COKE. If anyone out there can explain how diet soda is useful during an ultra, please do. I was in charge of filling soda cups, which was great until the real Coke ran out halfway through the day and I had to start pouring Diet Coke. I finally felt so guilty about serving diet soda to people who had just ridden and pushed their bikes 10 miles uphill to 12,600 feet that I had to switch to being a soup runner. Someone told me later that some women prefer diet soda during a race because they’ve calculated the exact number of calories they’ll need during a race and don’t want to take any extra in. What!?! Who are these crazy women?

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