Saturday: Pro Fuel and Hydration app: User inquiries

Ride report. GFNY (Sunday) went pretty well. I’ll post about performance in another thread and focus on fueling here. Performance summary: I covered ~59km/780m in 3.8 hours (roughly 15.4kph / 9.6mph) before my first fatigue-induced rest stop. After that, things went to pot: the ride totals were 75km in 7.2 hours, barely over 10kph on average. :grimacing:

Power was good (average 105W, NP 135W) in those first four hours, and my last four(ish)-hour ride (of only five ever) was Jan-2021, so that’s fine. But I didn’t manage my fueling well: I had intended to drink 900ml/hr and fuel 70g/hr, but in the end – despite diligently drinking upon timed reminders – I still only drank about 650ml/hr (ergo 44g/hr carbs, 175g total) in those first four hours. :flushed:

When I realized that, I grabbed a half-bagel from an aid station. Hope that helped, but it’s an open question whether fueling was, or was not, a performance bottleneck. :man_shrugging:t2: On the one hand, I was way below the app’s plan for my ride. On the other, I “ate” 700 calories worth of carbs in those four hours while burning ~1900 (at a 500 kcal/hr estimate), so I wasn’t not too far off from replacing half my calories expended. Don’t know what to tell ya.

Going forward, I’m going to focus on increasing power and on drinking more per hour. Any questions, comments or suggestions on this ride?

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Used the Saturday App last weekend to advise on my last large training block before Unbound. After putting in the numbers for my 6+ hour ride and dropping in all the food I was packing, I still had some carb and sodium (lots of sodium) left to divvy up. Sodium Citrate augmented the electrolyte (and the refill I had for my water stop) in my hydration pack, and then I did one 1l bottle of nectar to top it off. Water, Baker’s Sugar (easier to mix), Sodium Citrate and a tiny bit of Sodium Alignate to add body. I think it might have been just shy of 2 grams of Alginate.

Despite the 2nd half of the ride being above 90 degrees F, ZERO cramping. None. I attribute that to the additional sodium in the hydration pack. That advice alone has made the Saturday App worth the price.

And based on our conversation about this over on Mighty, that’s exactly the tack I’ve been taking. It doesn’t take much Sodium Alginate to give the nectar some much needed body, but on the other hand I’m not counting on it as THE sodium source either.

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Argh sorry the ride went to pot!

It does sound like getting closer to Saturday’s recommended fueling amounts would have helped.

If you don’t mind me asking, what do you perceive were the barriers you ran into to getting more into your system? Maybe I can help and learn a thing or two here.

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One of the advantages to drinking out of bottles is that it’s easier to keep track of how much you’re drinking. Maybe that thought can help you come up with a way to guage it.

As far as flavoring, I’ve been using the concentrated liquid in the little squeeze bottles. Mio brand is one, KoolAid makes them and my grocery chain has their branded flavors too. You can make the flavor as strong as you want, with more squirts.

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Can’t say I found any “barriers” in this case. I had little chance to test-ride and get to know the tank, and of course I can’t see the water level during a ride. So I guessed that four swigs of water every 10 minutes might be reasonably close to 900ml, and stuck pretty closely to that schedule. My guess just wasn’t very good, I could have drunk more. Should have been 6 swigs every 10 minutes, maybe 7.

Drinking from bottles allows more liquid per swallow and makes it easier to consume more when you’re actually drinking from them, but getting to the bottle is more bothersome and inconvenient than getting to the little suction hose for the tank. I’m going to have to get better at both.

Ah, yeah, I see how an opaque tank could be a challenge here.

Thank you for explaining!

Adventure Hydration’s “CrankTank” is slightly translucent. If I hold it up to the light, I can see the water level clearly. If it’s attached to the bike and I stop, lean to the side a little, and gently wobble the bike, I can see the water level.

But while riding and pedaling, it’s within the frame triangle directly below me and out of sight. Should have stopped to check the water level after an hour! :grimacing:

There are stainless floats and liquid etape devices that can connect with an Arduino that could average the level and update a mini display somewhere.

I believe this is how modern cars measure full levels. They’re still not really accurate, but close enough.

This would be a fun project. For someone else. Not me.

This unknown level is what prevents me from getting this tank. However, pack-wearers seem to do OK, so I’m sure one can learn how much to sip, like you suggested.

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Not me either, although I’d buy any reasonably-priced device that told me either how much I’ve drunk, or how much is left, in a second. Preferably how much I’ve consumed, but both are fine.

Another approach is with a flow sensor inside the drinking hose. For aviation, we used a fuel-flow transducer (see here for an example) to give really accurate data… it literally measured how much fuel went past it and was fantastic. Not very expensive either. But when measuring (highly) intermittent flows at very low pressures, I’m not sure how well such an idea would work or which parts to buy.

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I feel stupid asking this…and I HAVE used the app…but what is “nectar”? It asks something like “do you want to substitute or just use nectar” and I have no idea what I would be using if I didn’t “substitute”.

If the question comes up, probably something needs to be better explained or defined. Ask 'em if you got 'em!

I’ll hazard my answer, knowing @Dr_Alex_Harrison will correct me if necessary. IIUC, the app refers to “speed nectar” as being a simple mix of water, sugar, and salt (or sodium citrate) to cover most or nearly all of your nutritional needs on the bike. I think part of the point is to poke fun, tongue in cheek, at the proprietary drink mixes with marketing-driven names that are still largely just fancy sugar water.


I have been using an Osprey and Garmin Smart Drink for hydration. Garmin prompts for a 100ml drink, but how many pulls on the hose is that? For me it was between 5&6 when testing with a measuring cup.

The aviation sensor is defo the way to go… I could see that working on all tube-based hydration systems. The total addressable market for that would be quite large for such a small* device.

*maybe by version 19

Would you really need up to 70g/h for 105w avg? Seems a bit high to me. 105w is about 380kcal/hr. Even @ 65% carb demand that is only about 60g/h carbs.

Sweet Nectar (water, sugar, sodium) is the very first help article under FAQs in the app.
It is all you need to meet your ride needs for the day if you don’t want to substitute other products and dilute the nectar.

Run the app, tap the menu, select Get Answers, FAQs.
You’ll find an amazing amount of guidance and helpful tips listed there.

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This is a question I cannot answer… just don’t have the knowledge for it. All I know is that this is the recommendation I got when I told the app I’d spend 7.5 hours on the bike. Some thoughts:

  1. I had about 5 hours of riding time, 7 hours total. Of the additional two hours, some was spent resting… but most was spent walking up hills where I couldn’t ride any more. Somewhere in there, I went through 2700 kcal according to Garmin… the right “kcal/hr” number to plan for would be anywhere between 385 (7h) and 540 (5h).

  2. I actually consumed about 45g/hr, which most definitely was not enough, so we’re clear that more fuel would have been better. I have no idea whether 60g/hr would have been enough, or why the recommendation is 70g/hr. But for my A event of the year, I would have absolutely preferred to take in 5g/hr to 10g/hr more than necessary, instead of being at risk of underfueling. So if I had believed that 60g/hr would be enough, I’d have tried to take in 65 or 70 anyway. :grin:

  3. Average power was 105W. Normalized power was around 135W. And on the uphills, I was averaging 160-180W, briefly 200W+ at some points. I have no idea what that does to fueling needs, just providing data.

  4. I’m a 110-kilo rider. Maybe the app is telling me to eat more, simply because I weigh a lot more than most people?

Not sure if any of this is useful or relevant… just thinking and learning and trying to be helpful. Hopefully @Dr_Alex_Harrison can comment a little on your question.

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@Derailleur, I bumped into another post by @Dr_Alex_Harrison (in the “I Love Carbs” thread) that seems tailor-made to what we’re discussing here:


Bingo. It was that, and also a way that people could easily talk about the base ingredient mix. :slight_smile:

link me!

Really astute question.

For the >7-hr ride that it was, yes, sometimes “overfueling” the pure energetic need from carb burn is a really good idea purely because of gut constraints.

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