Food is the second most important item on the TDR. (In case you are wondering--First is ‘body’, Second is ‘food’ and Third is 'bike')
If your body breaks you are basically done as a racer, as once broken you probably not going to be able to fix yourself in a reasonable amount of time. This is why body is 1st. You might still finish but likely nowhere near your best time.
On the other hand if your bike breaks you have a good chance to get going again without losing to much time. hence bike is 3rd. (Then again break it in the wrong way/spot and you could lose days)Which brings us to #2, food. Sure you can skimp or miss some food here and there. But bad things tend to happen if you run out or believe you have to ‘conserve’. You slow way down and mentally it gets truly tough. Miss enough meals or play to much 'must conserve' game and the lost time piles up. And time lost is never to be found. Again you can finish, but doubtless it will be at slower time than anticipated.
But how do food and elevation profiles go together? Simple, to get to the next food, in a timely manner, you have to complete the elevation. IE: get to the small little store 1 hr after it closes and you could lose hours. Make this mistake several times and you could lose a day or so.
I will carry a GPS for navigation, and while the GPS and my I-Phone have maps I will not really use them much, if at all. Virtually all my food & logistics planning will come from memory and simple profile sheets. This is the same basic approach I used with good success in 2010. Back then I never needed a ‘map’ per say. In 2010 I was working off of study, memorization and also used slightly more detailed profile chart(s). This time around I will carry simpler profile charts, they just show mileage, elevation and key re-supply points. The elevation and miles tell me how soon I can expect hit the next marker(s). A 'red line' marker could mean several 'critical' things, could be 24hr access or just better “look/plan ahead” up to the next guaranteed re-supply point. IE: From here what do I have to purchase to make the next ‘red’ marker if the blues will be closed or water only? Blue basically means things like limited hours, just water or ‘maybe I do, maybe I don’t’ re-supply there. Dashed means might be closed etc.When I am exhausted and not thinking straight and trying to decide how much to buy/carry, I will pull out these profiles. No telling where I will be at any given time. So as I re-supple in that slightly incoherent ‘here and now’ I can insure I will have enough to reach the next red line or perhaps a blue line during normal business hours. I also will study them at night and ‘plan’ the following day.
Simple and easy for the befuddled mind. Yet little wasted time poring over maps or pestering strangers or fellow TDR racers for re-supply info.