I get a lot of people that ask me about fuel for racing and training. There’s really no cut and dry answer to what you should use on any given training ride or race. For the most part I use my custom Infinit nutrition blend. Through the years I’ve worked with Infinit to create a couple of custom blends that I use for all my training and racing. For people that don’t know about Infinit Nutrition it’s basically customizable drink mix, you can take all the ingredients that the body needs to preform athletically, carbohydrates, protein, sugar, electrolytes and control how much of everything you want in that personal mix. For me personally I have two different blends, a race mix with caffeine and a training mix with protein, I run similar levels of ingredients for both blends running on the high side of electrolytes because I tend to be a heavy sweater. Having everything your body needs in what your drinking eliminates the need for food; i.e. bars, gels, salt tabs and any solid food. Why would you want to just drink all of your calories? Well your basically getting an IV of calories and nutrients straight to the blood stream without having to use energy for digestion, leaving all the energy for what you’re out doing. In a perfect world just being able to drink my Infinit all day is my go to, getting my 275 calories or so an hour is when I feel like my engine is working perfectly.
Doing training rides and races between 3-6 hours I can usually carry enough drink mix to keep me going strong the entire time. For races longer than that there are usually aid stations and spots for resupply and a lot of times I can have more drink mix waiting for me ready to go. This is not always the case with training and racing, sometimes there are factors that make it hard to have your perfectly formulated go juice with you at all times. In those cases I will use my Infinit as a baseline nutrition and add calories with gels and chews from Honey Stinger. Would I prefer just Infinit? Yes, but its not always a perfect environment for having exactly what you need.
Case in point, last weekend I did a race/ride called the Durango Dirty Century. Its a backcountry mountain bike race that’s 100 miles of mostly high altitude single track riding, very demanding riding that took me just over 11 hours. I decided to do the race fully self supported, meaning I carried everything I would need for 11 hours and had a water filter so that I could filter water out of mountain streams along the way after I had run out. I started the ride with 100 oz of water in my pack and another 25 oz on my bike, that translates to about 1400 calories of Infinit that I started with. Not being able to get a resupply along the way I also carried another 2000 calories of Honey Stinger products.
The first 6 hours I felt great! I was drinking my Infinit and was really going fast, If I could have had a resupply of the same amount of Infinit after that I think I could have continued my pace the entire time. I really noticed that I was slowing down when I ran out of Infinit where as in a lap race when I can pick up more drink mix I stay much more consistent the entire time. The difference between drinking something and eating something as far as the time it takes is drastic as well, when your on technical single track opening a wrapper to eat something is next to impossible so stopping to do that takes time and again the body will use energy to digest those calories.
I also notice the energy highs and lows when I have to eat my calories as apposed to drinking Infinit. It’s less of a consistent energy and more of a spike then a drop, you eat something else and another spike then a drop and so on and so forth. The type of racing for me has always been the long endurance mountain bike events, usually 100 miles or more. The difference in all of those races is vast, one race will be totally different than another even though they are similar distance. The trick is to find the best way to fuel for the type of race you are doing, best case scenario is you have a fresh bottle of Infinit waiting for you around every corner but life and racing is not always perfect so you have to roll with punches and do the best you can to keep the calories flowing. Interested in making your own custom drink formula? Go to Infinit and do a free consultation with one of their nutritionist and they will help you create a custom formula to meet your specific needs.