Can you ride steady for five hours without taking a single bite of food? If you are drinking your food, then yes, you definitely can.
Setting itself opposite the 'hydration in your bottle, food in your pocket' model of Osmo, Skratch and others, Infinit Nutrition advocates putting everything in the bottle. We tested the company's high-calorie Go Far mix on a five-hour ride, eating nothing (after a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast) and drinking only bottles of Go Far.
Infinit began in 2006 as a custom nutrition company, blending drink mixes for customers who dial in their formulas via an online questionnaire and some sliding tabs. Now it also sells a few stock condition-specific products, such as the long-distance Go Far mix.
Tasting like a salty and somewhat sweet lemonade, Go Far packs 280 calories into a single tall-bottle serving. The powder mix has three carbohydrates (maltodextrin, dextrose and sucrose) totaling 66g, some electrolytes, plus a little (4g) whey protein. Based on the recommendation of company founder Michael Folan, we drank a bottle an hour for five hours, covering about 85 miles with a weighted average power of 211 watts. All that to say, we were riding steady but certainly not at race pace.
Our energy levels felt the same as normal when we'd do a similar ride while consuming electrolyte drinks and solid or semi-solid food. During and after the ride, our stomach felt fine. And, oddly enough, we weren't really hungry. Folan said that the whey protein acts as a hunger suppressant of sorts, while having three different carbs improves absorption over single-carb drinks. However, we did feel a little bored with the drink towards the end; eating can be a pleasurable thing, needed calories or not.
So why would you want to replace eating with drinkable calories? Some friends have raced endurance mountain-bike events like the Leadville 100 on a liquid diet, preferring to keep their hands on the bars as much as possible, and not having to worry about unwrapping food or dealing with stomach issues. Hammer Nutrition has a similar all-liquid model with its Perpetuem mix, which uses soy protein. Infinit has garnered a customer base in triathlon, where racers can plan and control their exact calorie consumption.
Go Far is isotonic, meaning it has the same osmolality as your body so it can be absorbed easily. Hypotonic (low osmolality) drinks are absorbed more quickly, while hypertonic (high osmolality) drinks can actually dehydrate you. You can read more about osmolality on Infinit's site, or on the website of Osmo, which was named for osmolality.
“The biggest thing is that we’re simple," Folan said. "You drink our stuff, you ride your bike. You don’t need to have a ton of crap in your back pocket.”
Personally, we like eating food. But if you are looking for a way to streamline your eating and drinking while on the bike, Go Far is a fully functional solution.
Infinit sells its custom blends in North America and Europe (including the UK), but for now the stock Go Far is only a North American retail item. However, you can create a blend just like it with UK shipping on infinitnutrition.us. Go Far is $34.95 for a 16-serving canister.