Energy drinks are a necessary evil sometimes. If you don't take them and you go on a long or hard ride, you can bonk or cramp and have a miserable time. If you take them, you can get bad flavors, suffer from up and down spikes in energy and get the dreaded gut bomb where just feel sick and bloated.
This is the landscape where Tailwind Nutrition aimed to find a solution. They sought out to deliver an energy drink that was pleasant, effective and could last all day.
We've used it for a couple months and we think they have succeeded. This small Durango, CO company started mixing drinks in their kitchen for their own personal use so they could survive the rigors of the Leadville 100 race. What they came up with is a formula that is natural, dissolves easily in water and is easy for the body to digest.
One Scoop or More
One scoop per water bottle is the easy formula and it delivers 100 calories. It also has the same electrolyte make-up as human sweat since it aims to replace what you lose during heavy physical activity. Sodium, potassium percentages... check. Protein, zero since they don't believe that helps the athlete's performance at all. It all dissolves very easily too so one can double up or triple up on the concentration and still manage to mix it in with the water. And since it's light and easy to mix and digest at one scoop, one can go two scoops or even three and this drink is still manageable.
If it tastes bad, you're not going to drink it right? And if the taste is too strong, you are done after one bottle. Tailwind has a pleasant sweet taste up front and then thin in the middle with no aftertaste. It's pleasant and slightly sweet and it doesn't overpower you. That means you can drink it in minute 10 of your workout and keep doing it until hour 10 and beyond.
Easy to Digest
This is what Tailwind Nutrition worked hard at as they developed a light drink with a composition that is easiest for the body to digest. Its combination of glucose and sucrose are modeled so they can be digested by the small intestine easily and converted to energy efficiently. Other drinks have a sticky sweet composition that take a lot of time and energy to digest and this can cause a traffic jam in the stomach otherwise known as the 'gut bomb'. The rider can't get enough energy, tries to drink more energy drink to no avail and performance spirals down.
On all our rides, digesting Tailwind Nutrition was always easy and effective. And by mixing more concentrated versions, we were able to get all our calories just from the energy drink. This was actually way easier than packing and eating gels, bananas, granola, gummies and waffles. The only downside of relying on just Tailwind Nutrition is we sometimes found ourselves longing for the texture and the effort of chewing food.
Hydration Pack Friendly
Most energy powders are difficult to dissolve in a hydration pack. One has to shake the heck out of the reservoir to get the powder to mix in properly with the water. And it seems mold starts to form very quickly if the energy drink is left in the pack. Cleaning the reservoir and the hose of the mold and slimy film that develops is always an unwelcome exercise.
Tailwind Nutrition seems to perform a lot better here. It dissolves quickly with a couple shakes of the hydration pack. And leaving the drink solution in the reservoir doesn't develop into the usual mess. We just rinsed it off even after a few days of leaving it in and the reservoir cleaned out quite easily.
We like simple as we have a much better chance of doing it right. It's very difficult to pack 6 different foods on every ride and take then at the perfect intervals during a long ride. We like that there's no pre-ride drink, short ride power, long-term fuel, pills, post ride drink, gels bars and gummies. With the Tailwind Nutrition system, we just have one drink. Drink at regular intervals and that's it. We pack almonds for texture and that satisfaction of chewing.
- Lightly sweet flavor that's pleasant on short and long rides
- Dissolves easily in water and thus can be doubled in dose or put in a hydration pack easily
- No stomach traffic jam or gut bomb
- Provides easily digested calories that can replace all those bars, gels and gummies
- Actually a good value when one looks at the calories and electrolytes per dollar.
- Caffeinated flavors are now available
- No color so it's not easy to distinguish from plain water.
- It's a meal replacement but it's not as fun or as satisfying as regular food.
Price: 50-serving size (3 pounds): $34.99; three-pack of single-use packets: $10.50
Flavors: Organic Lemon, Berry, Mandarin Orange, Naked (no flavor)
Contents (per one scoop serving):
Each scoop (27g) delivers 100 calories. Under 2 hour rides mix with water at a rate of 1-2 scoops per 24 oz bottle (about 710ml) or in a hydration pack. For 2+ hours, you can use as a sole fuel by mixing 2- 2.5 scoops per 24 ounces (710ml), aiming for 250 calories per hour as a starting point. Adjust up or down to personal calorie needs and taste preference.
For more information visit www.tailwindnutrition.com.