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Tailwind Nutrition releases new active hydration electrolyte mix

Durango outdoor community plays part in company’s success
Tailwind Nutrition co-founders, Jeff and Jenny Vierling, hold their newest product Active Hydration Drink Mix on Aug. 4 at their Durango office. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Tailwind Nutrition founder Jeff Vierling dedicated his life to athletic supplements after struggling to finish the Leadville 100 because of nutritional issues. He remembers instantly running to the trash can to vomit after finishing the race.

“There’s actually a video on our website of me throwing up at the end into a trash can. And after like 13 hours after having breakfast, it was all coming back up. I was just very frustrated with how nutrition was holding me back,” he said.

At that moment, he realized that he wanted to create supplements to better hydrate his body for long mountain bike races. He launched Tailwind’s endurance fuel supplement 10 years ago at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic and has not looked back.

When he first started experimenting with hydration, he never thought it would lead to a career in the supplement industry. However, with the release of his most recent active electrolyte mix he is excited about the future of Tailwind Nutrition.

Vierling wanted to create an electrolyte mix without enhanced sweeteners or a bad aftertaste. He tried every electrolyte mix he could to figure out the ingredients used to experiment with his own.

He found that most electrolyte mixes use Stevia to mask the flavor, which can lead to dehydration while exercising.

“As I learned more about that, I kind of realized that some of the products I was trying had ingredients that were challenging to digest and that didn’t make a lot of sense to use,” Vierling said.

According to the Tailwind Nutrition website, Active Hydration Drink Mix includes electrolytes, collagen and vitamin C. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Vierling found the best way to create an active hydration mix was to carefully balance acids and bases and in doing so found a way to develop an unflavored version. He added small amounts of cane sugar to give the mix its flavor.

He said this was important because of how the body absorbs water while exercising. He said small dosages of sugar combined with sodium can help further hydrate the body while doing intense workouts. Unlike Tailwind’s endurance fuel, which is made for bike races and marathons, the active hydration mix is used for going to the gym or a moderate run.

“We included collagen and vitamin C because a lot of our customers are outdoor enthusiasts, outdoor athletes and it’s hard on their bodies. So having something that can help them take care of their joints, we think it’s ... beneficial,” Vierling said.

Vierling said the Tailwind Trailblazers were crucial to testing the product. The Trailblazers are brand ambassador who test Tailwind products before they are distributed to retailers. The ambassadors, who are mostly athletes, tested multiple iterations of the product to see which combination of electrolytes worked the best.

He found that sodium, potassium and calcium worked the best.

While Vierling studies nutrition for his company, his background is actually in software development and project management. After struggling with hydration in long bike races he became increasingly interested in nutrition. He’s proud his company has been able to flourish in the Durango area and keep its local appeal.

He said the Durango outdoor community has played a large role in the company’s success so far and is grateful for the experience.

“Just being a part of this community has been great. Everyone has been so supportive, from testing to helping with business challenges and promoting our products and giving us a shot to get started,” he said.

Vierling is appreciative for businesses such as Mountain Bike Specialists who have supported his products since the company started. The Durango community continues to inspire him to continue working on innovative supplements.

tbrown@durangoherald.com

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