Q&A with Tailwind Co-founder, Jennifer Vierling

Image courtesy of Cortez Journal.

Husband and wife team Jeff and Jenny Vierling had a vision. They had experienced first hand the negative effects of failed attempts to fuel properly when biking long distances, and they thought there must be a better solution. Instead of waiting for one to come along, they decided to create their own – Tailwind. We’ve been carrying Tailwind here at Running Warehouse for about a year and a half now, and it has become our best selling hydration product.

We asked Jenny a few pointed questions about Tailwind, and she graciously answered.

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Image courtesy of @tailwindnutrition on Instagram.

Why “Tailwind”? What’s in a name?
We came up with the name “Tailwind” while on the Hermosa Creek Trail in our hometown, Durango, CO. We were thinking of a tailwind at your back that gives you a “push” and propels you forward. One of the things that we say to folks is, “May there be a Tailwind at your back”!

What is the inspiration behind Tailwind?
The old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention”, is certainly true in the case of Tailwind. Jeff originally created Tailwind for himself to use on the Leadville 100 MTB ride (he’s a 10x finisher). He experienced a lot of challenges from a fueling perspective that I’m sure most endurance athletes can relate to: “gut bombs”/nausea; keeping track of your calories, electrolytes, and hydration; overly sweet drinks; and just how difficult it is to juggle your nutrition requirements the longer that you go. He literally tried everything on the market and nothing worked for him so he created his own after a lot of research and tweaking the drink for his use. It was never intended to be a business, but locals started asking for it and one thing lead to another, until finally he decided to do an initial production run and see how it went.

Who is Tailwind made for, specifically?
Tailwind was originally designed for the endurance athlete because honestly that was Jeff’s and my background, but as we’ve grown we’ve seen athletes who participate in shorter distances start using Tailwind as well. This is very exciting to us as we’ve heard some really inspirational stories from folks finishing their first half and full marathons. We love Sundays and Mondays when we get emails from folks sharing how they’ve met or beaten their personal goals!

What makes Tailwind different from other endurance drinks?
The primary difference between Tailwind and other fuels is that it is simple and complete. Tailwind is a complete fuel (calories + electrolytes + water), so you can literally drink a bottle an hour and know that you are keeping up with the three key components of fueling. It is also very easy on the stomach (no gut bombs) because by simplifying the approach to fueling, you can reduce the risk that you’ll fall behind on or overdo the amount of calories, electrolytes, or water. Finally, Tailwind has a very mild taste (some call it savory) so that you can keep on drinking it hour after after without getting what I call the “gag reflex”. If you don’t like the taste of something, you’ll stop eating/drinking it, and obviously that could have dire consequences.

Is there anything innovative and new that Tailwind is working on?
We are working on a post-exercise drink, but there is no timeline right now.

Are you a runner? How much do you run?
I guess it would depend on how you define a “runner”. :-) We are not competitive, but certainly use running to keep in shape and cross train for other sports. However, we’ve been so inspired by our customers that we are running our first half marathon this Fall at the Durango Double!

What is your personal favorite flavor of Tailwind?
Mandarin Orange for Jeff (Tailwind’s original flavor); Green Tea and Lemon for me.

Give us a quote that inspires you.
Oh boy, there are so so many! Here’s one from TS Eliot that I love:
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

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