How often would you say that fueling and nutrition has impacted your race-day performance? 50%? 75%? Do you struggle finding the right things to eat and drink during a race? Like anyone else, I too have spent my fair share of time and money trying to figure out what combination of gels, chews, electrolytes and liquids will keep my belly happy during ultra-marathons ranging from 50k to 100 miles.
What if I told you about a product that claims to be the single source of calories, electrolytes and hydration? What if the people that made it were also endurance athletes like you and me, not just some corporation out to make a buck?
I sat down with Jeff and Jenny, owners of Tailwind Nutrition, to learn more about their company, business philosophy and their product.
Everyone, Meet Tailwind
Durango, CO is the perfect location for their family-based business and makes a great playground to use and test their product. They have both completed various 24-hour and 100-mile events over the years and are still very active in the world of endurance sports (Jeff will be in his 12th Leadville 100 in August and Jenny will return to ride the PBP in 2015)
Jeff’s featured Leadville 100 video typifies the experience most of us have when GI issues strike. It exemplifies the frustration he had with GI issues and the nutritional products on the market. It would eventually led him down the path of creating his own ‘home brew’ that he would mix up with the KitchenAid right in their own home. Multiple attempts and refinements eventually turned into a fuel source he was having success with…and his friends took note.
“I was meeting all sorts of endurance athletes in parking lots handing out little bags of white powder”, he jokingly explains.
Both Jeff and Jenny used the product for almost 5 years and then introduced it last year at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and Narrow Gauge Run right in their hometown of Durango. Since then word of mouth, positive reviews and grassroots marketing have fueled (pun intended!) the success of athletes around the world and seen their business grow by leaps and bounds.
Jeff and Jenny have so much confidence in their product that they’ve created the Tailwind Challenge. Train with it. Race with it. If you’re not happy, they’ll refund your race fee (limits apply, see website for details).
So I did.
For three weeks I’ve been testing out all the flavors of Tailwind (Mandarin Orange, Organic Berry & Lemon…yes, they have unflavored but that’s not really a flavor is it?) on runs varying from 10-25 miles and temperatures ranging from mid-60’s to the upper 90’s. All the flavors are extremely smooth, light and don’t leave a sugary film or aftertaste in your mouth – making them enjoyable for hours on end, both cold and warm.
Various things will impact your level of hydration while using Tailwind. Here in Arizona, we sweat a lot. I think for this reason, I spent the first week of my Tailwind Challenge consulting with Jenny on the right balance between Tailwind and my general water consumption. If it were cooler, I could easily see using Tailwind as my only source of calories, electrolyte and hydration.
“We designed Tailwind to stand alone as a fueling source but recognize that everyone has their own approach to nutrition. You can dial it up or down depending on your needs. It’s very flexible”, says Jeff.
Each serving/scoop of Tailwind is 100 calories, which conveniently allows you to mix a standard 200-calorie bottle. Think about that for a second. Unless you really enjoy the gooey mess when tearing into a gel with one free hand, dealing with the trash or grabbing them from that awkwardly-placed pocket on your hydration pack, Tailwind eliminates the need to carry gels or any other fueling source.
How can I make such a statement?
On May 25, I completed a 100-mile charity run as a field test prior to my Tailwind Challenge race next month in South Dakota (Black Hills 100). My goal was to supplement Tailwind into my normal gel, fruit and potato routine to ensure I was getting enough calories per hour. Turns out, none of those other things sounded good so I just kept drinking my Tailwind…for 26 hours. That’s right, nothing but Tailwind and water.
Hands down the best I have ever felt both during and after completing this or any ultra-distance. I was never hungry during the run nor did I have any monster pains or distress after I was done.
Take The Challenge
Speaking with Jeff and Jenny, you can tell they thrive off the success stories of their clients and are invested in the success of every athlete they meet, no matter their distance or goal.
“The relationship with our customers doesn’t end with the sale”, Jenny reemphasized to me. “Whether you’re a triathlete, cyclist or runner – we want to be your partner in nutrition.”
It’s easy to understand why every online review of Tailwind is a positive one. Their unique small-town-family-and-community-based philosophy combined with great customer service and a product that actually delivers has developed loyal customers who are willing to sing their praises to any audience who will listen.
Just like me.
Learn more about the Tailwind Challenge at www.tailwindnutrition.com.
‘Like’ them on Facebook and receive 15% off your first Tailwind order (excludes the Tailwind Challenge).