Endurance Sport Drink Shootout: CarboRocket 333 vs. Infinit Nutrition vs. HEED

Most of you know that I race endurance and ultra-endurance MTB.   To get through these races, you need a great nutrition and hydration plan that is easy to execute.  The simpler the plan the faster you go and better you feel during the event.  There are three products I have been using for the past two years.   I’m not going to get technical, or  get into the ingrediance.  You can find that on your own.  I’m simply going to explain how and why I use each one.

CarboRocket

CarboRocket 333 is one fuel key to my racing success.  When I have CR333 it’s my goto race fuel. I generally don’t train with it, but I do on occasion.  The calorie content is high, and my training rides are usually not long or intense enough to need CR333.   With 333 calories per serving, some other users  reduce the serving size per hour, however, I have found having those extra calories really helps late in the game.

I have used CR333 in a 24hr race, many 100 mile and marathon (MTB) races.   In two marathon races I did get some hunger feeling, but I didn’t feel weak.  I have always felt strong while using CR333, and I have the confidence the fuel is going to get me home.  One of the things I really like about CR333, is that I alway feel strong.  In no occasion did I feel that I didn’t have energy to keep going, hammer up a hill and even after 9-10 hrs, I can still chase or hold off chasers.  No stomach issues, no gas or other GI issues.

I use a full serving (3 scoops/333 cals)  per 20 fl. oz of water, either in bottles or hydration back, and one serving (3 scoops) is 1 hour of fuel as recommended by CarboRocket.  I haven’t tried multi-hour bottles.

Carbohydrate (84g / serving):
Complex: Maltodextrin
Sugar:  Fructose

Cost: $.88 per scoop  (33 per container)

What I like:

  • Good mix of electrolytes and amino acids
  • Contains good balance of complex and simple sugars (2:1 ratio)
  • No pills or extra fuel needed.  No gels or bars need
  • Easy to go down, no stomach issues.
  • Great flavors
  • Dissolves in the bottle or hydration pack well.
  • Never had cramps or stomach issues.
  • Order shipping is quick (when product in stock)
  • No consultant needed, just order and go.
  • No complex ordering system.

What I don’t like:

  • On a couple of occasions I had hunger feeling after 4-5 hours of racing.  That could have been poor pre race fueling.
  • Not available in many stores in my area
  • Was out of stock for a couple of months.  This lead me to lean more on my other fuel sources
  • Raspberry is two sweet for me to put in a multi hour bottle.  The other flavors are good for double servings in one bottle.  More is too much for me.

Infinit Nutrition

Infinit Nutrition custom-blend has been included as my race fuel during many events.  I like the idea behind this product, make it how you want.  You can can adjust about any aspect of the drink.  Before I placed my first order three years ago, I had a consult with the ‘Chief Nut Gather’ Laurie.  She helped me understand the sliders when customizing the drink and after explaining the type of racing and fueling I need, we had a base blend.  My base blend included a light flavor, so I could add many hours of fuel, some simple sugar, for the quick fuel and high intensity efforts, a little (3-4 gr) protein amino acids and caffeine.

This blend works well for me for races up to about 5-6 hours.  After that my stomach starts to turn  a bit, and tend to slow down.  I found that around the 4-5 hour mark I can curb the feeling by drinking plain water, maybe add one gel so you don’t lose energy, or the Infinit JetFuel blend. Basically, empty the stomach out.  I believe the feeling has to do with the protein added in the drink.  The reason I added it is so I don’t get hungry, but it has a side affect.  I’ve had some great result on this product, but my next order will not include protein.

I have used Infinit in a few of 24hr races, many 100 mile and marathon (MTB) races.   The only issues I’ve had is the stomach problems mention above.  If you must have protein, then you need to go with a lighter drink such as the Infinit JetFuel blen or plain water every few hours.  If you mix in the lighter drinks, the you won’t have the stomach issues.  I did this during the 24hrs of Moab, and was fueled well and no stomach issues.

I generally do 2.5 scoops of powder per 24 fl. oz water bottle.  8 scoops in a 100 fl. oz hydration pack.  This equates to 2 scoops per hour, as recommended by Infinit.   I haven’t tried multi-hour bottles.

Carbohydrate:
Complex: Maltodextrin
Sugar:  Dextrose

Cost: $.94 per scoop (50 per container)

What I like:

  • The custom blend allows you to make what you need.
  • A consultant is there to help you make or adjust your blends
  • They will change your blend within the first 30day for free
  • No pills or extra fuel needed.  No gels or bars.
  • Easy to go down
  • Good flavors
  • Dissolves in the bottle or hydration pack well.
  • I control the flavor and multi-hour bottles are easy to handle.

What I don’t like:

  • Hard to get, you can only order from their website.  sometimes it take a while to get your order, especially during their sales
  • If you don’t use a consultant, you can really screw up your blend.
  • When using the custom order sliders, you don’t know how much you are actually adding, such as how many grams of protein, caffeine or complex sugars etc.

Hammer HEED

HEED has been my training fuel for the most part over the last few years, mainly because it’s been easy for me to get when I run out.   When I know I’ll need a few calories on a 2-3 hour ride, Heed is what I use.     It’s been great to keep me fueled for the slower zone 2-3 training rides.  It’s easy to go down and isn’t two sweet.    I have not used HEED during any race, only training.  Typically I using 1 to 2.5 scoops per 20 fl. oz of water  depending on my length of ride.  I calculate take in about 16-20 fl. oz of water per hour.

Carbohydrate (26g / serving):
Complex: Maltodextrin

Cost:  $.67 per scoop (80 scoop container)

What I like:

  • Not to sweet, light in flavor for single serving in one bottle.
  • Good fuel for slow/moderate paces rides
  • Easy to obtain, available in most bike shops.
  • No GI or stomach issues.  goes down easy

What I don’t like:

  • Doesn’t mix well in the bottle.  always some stuck to the bottom of the bottle.  needs a good shake before drinking.
  • Doesn’t have any simple sugar, which for me doesn’t give the the higher output needed in races, i.e. zone 4 for many hours
  • Without simple sugar, you are not fueling all your energy systems.  this is a big debate.  I’m convinced you some simple sugar  in endurance racing.
  • Not enough electrolytes and amino acids, so you may need to take extra pills for events/training longer then 3-4 hrs.  Not easy during races.
  • Too sweet when mixed as multi-hour bottle

Posted in Reviews.

cwilhelm

Head Coach for mtbcoach.com. USAC Certified Cycling Coach.

2 Comments

  1. Great write-up, thanks.

    Have you tried regular CarboRocket (CR not CR333) for your shorter rides?

    After lots of experimenting, including buying all the ingredients and making my own drinks, I found my magic solution. Eggs, oatmeal and FRS 2-3 hours before a hard ride or race (even for an evening event), start sipping CR on the drive, 1 bottle CR with 220 calories during warmup, spin, stage, sip CR, race with 220 calories of CR per hour for XC, CR333 with a little more calories per bottle for 5+hr races or training rides. No other food or calories till after the event.

    I never go as high as 333 calories in an hour, I just don’t digest that many calories in an hour while riding. I used to carry a bottle of plain water on long events just in case I had the drink mixed too strong, but this year I had it dialed and ditched the plain water.

  2. Hi Krista, thanks for your comment.

    Most of my short rides are 1-2 hrs, and I only take water, and maybe a gel, and seldom 1-2 scoops of HEED. I have tried regular CarboRocket, but I didn’t find it necessary for my shorter rides. Thanks for sharing your pre race magic.
    Good Luck with the rest of your season!

    Curt

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