It is Tuesday as I write this (Thursday as it is posted) and I have a half formulated electrolyte plan.
I fudged my way through electrolyting the last two rides. I had none on the first ride and a very generous and nice person offered up some of her paste at the hold for Gemmie. That was all she got: a full dose at the lunch hold at 13 miles. She did fine. The next ride I went better prepared and had tubes of Finish Line paste with me. By happenstance, they had no bicarb in it so that was great, and she got a full dose the night before and a half dose morning and at the hold. She did fine. So what does she actually need??
To add more confusion - those rides were in October in the arctic north. She was sweaty but not excessively so. Biltmore in July is a while other ball game.
In general, I like the idea of a full dose with dinner the night before. She will have all night with full access to water to drink away and it just may encourage her to tank up a bit before the next morning's ride.
I think a full dose the morning of or at all during is excessive and puts her at risk of an ulcer since she won't have full access to water. She will only get to drink sporadically when it becomes available. This is unlike human runners who take elytes at regular intervals throughout and also have immediate access to water at all time. I think a half dose before and at the hold is more than plenty and may even be too much.
Going into it I do plan on a full dose Friday night and then a half dose Saturday morning and at the hold. If she is doing well and drinking awesome I may forgo lunch. If she seems dehydrated and cranky I may do a 3/4 or full dose at lunch and/or some at the end.
The question now is how? I have two plans: P and A
As in "powder".
Saturday I grabbed the last remaining Finish Line tube and compared it to Gem's regular supplement. And to my surprise the supplement has a crap ton more of everything in it. I wasn't surprised it had more ingredients because the elytes are just potassium, sodium, zinc and magnesium whereas her supplement has every nutrient under the sun in it (and is still legal for competition :) But I was surprised that the quantity was massively higher.
This got me thinking. If I feed her this with her meals, she shouldn't really need anything in addition to it in a paste form. Wouldn't it be overkill to give her even more?
The only thing this lacks is sodium. The supplement has none. But I can remedy that easily by adding a teaspoon of table salt to the mix. I just hope she eats it if it is salty.
This is my primary plan and as long as she eats fine before and during the ride it should be just fine. Lots of people prefer to add the elytes to the food for ease of use.
But historically she hasn't eaten very well during the ride. The night before she is generally good, breakfast is iffy and the hold a no go. So then what?
As in "applesauce".
Gem loves applesauce. Since I waited too long to get any Finish Line ordered in and I can't find it locally (actually I can't find any paste locally - just powder) I need to make my own as a back up.
If Gemmie decides to be pouty and won't eat well at the hold, I will have my back up applesauce. I can mix in the salt and powder with some of that and syringe it into her mouth.
I think the above is a pretty solid plan and should work well. I know she likes the supplement just fine and should eat it up. She generally gets 2 scoops a day and since I only go out once she gets them both. I can easily give her two scoops with dinner Friday then one scoop with breakfast Saturday and another at the hold.