I've been immersed in endurance mountain biking for 10 years now, and have participated in the toughest and longest off road races in the world. Over the years, my training has built up my aerobic system and toughened up my body. Technology has improved so that my bikes are now smoother, lighter, and more responsive. My support crew has also stepped up to become a well oiled machine that is 100% reliable and seems to know my needs before even I do. All the elements of a world class endurance mountain bike racer have been fine tuned and optimized, except one critical piece of the puzzle - race nutrition. This is an area where my previous efforts have sometimes fallen short, and when I look back on races that were particularly tough on me, it's always a problem with nutrition that is the culprit. 24 Hour Solo races in particular seem to be the toughest to fuel for. I've tried all the sports drinks. I've tried all the bars and gels. I've tried real foods. I've tried combinations of them all. Sometimes I have made it through the races with no major issues, but quite a few times my nutrition has let me down and led to decreased performance as well as serious pain and discomfort.

 

I've been through many different ordeals; dehydration, hyponatremia, bonking, malnutrition, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea. These are all situations that are not recommended, and some are quite severe and dangerous. I'm hoping to avoid repeat performances.

 

There are many ways that an endurance athlete might fall into these situations. Dehydration can be from underestimating fluid requirements, but it can also come from a case of the "dropsies" - that is the slippage of a water carrying vessel out of the users hand or bike mounted holding device. The dropsies has also caused me to bonk on more than one occasion, when I dropped a sandwich that was to be my fuel for the next 90 minutes into a soggy mud puddle and pedaled on getting hungry. Combinations of foods have certainly caused me unwelcome distress in the past also. Who knows what will happen when engineered sports drinks and unnatural gels combine with a banana or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to slosh around in the stomach on a bumpy trail. Sometimes the outcome is not pleasant. Other times, hard racing just gets in the way of the fueling. At the Cape Epic stage race in South Africa, I was on my limit all day every day, and rarely found a spare second to reach back into my pocket for a bite or a gel, and paid the price as the week went on and I was under fueled. Sometimes one malady leads to another. Sweet sports drinks tend to cause upset stomach after a few hours, especially when the thermometer is up near triple digits. Plain water can be very appealing at these times, and I've had races where I was guzzling well over a liter an hour of plain water to combat the heat of the day, my thirst, and my queasy tummy. I found out the hard way that diluting your electrolytes this way can be even more serious. I learned what hyponatremia was that day.

 

Learning from mistakes is a big part of life, and it's important for an endurance athlete also. My outlook on race nutrition has changed dramatically since I found out that it was possible to custom formulate a sports drink to match the exact nutritional needs of an athlete in a specific event. That is exactly what Infinit Nutrition is able to do and it has changed the way I fuel myself in racing and training. I have been training with a couple of formulations that Infinit has helped me develop, and they are proving to perform exactly as designed. For the first time I have confidence that I can sustain myself and be properly fueled on a liquid diet, all from the water bottle or hydration pack. My performance is strong and consistent, my stomach is happy, and my jaw is getting some well earned rest from all the CWR (chewing while riding). My support crew are wondering what they will do with all their free time now that their job is simplified so much. I use 2 different drink mixes, both available at http://www.infinitnutrition.com/, and alternate them, one bottle per hour. Repeat for 24 hours.

 

My discovery of Infinit Nutrition and their customizable drink mixes is the biggest revelation I've ever had with regards to race nutrition. I will be racing and training with their product for the 2009 race season at the toughest endurance mountain bike races I can find. My past experiences have taught me a lot, but they were hard earned lessons that I do not want to repeat.

 

- Chris Eatough,