< Back to case studies

Leon Chevalier's scorecard

IRONMAN South Africa

Sunday 5th March, 2023

Within recommended ranges

Just outside recommended ranges

Significantly outside recommended ranges

  • 108g

    Carb per hour
  • 776mg

    Sodium per hour
  • 846ml

    Fluid per hour
  • 917mg/L

    Relative sodium concentration
  • 319mg

    Total caffeine
  • How Leon hit those numbers

    300ml x PH 1500
    1 x PF 30 Caffeine Gel
    300ml x Black Tea
    300g x Banana Bread
    *** Review technique if drinking much at this point!
    2.2L x PH 1500 (Drink Mix)
    2 x PF 30 Energy Gel
    2 x PF 30 Caffeine Gel
    3 x PF 90 Energy Gel
    800ml x Plain water
    1 x Snickers
    1 x PH Electrolyte Capsule
    7 x PF 30 Energy Gel
    1 x PF 30 Caffeine Gel
    2.8L x Plain water
    200ml x Coca Cola Original

    How Leon's hydration and fueling went...

      • Leon kicked off his 2023 campaign with a stunning victory at IRONMAN South Africa, clocking the second fastest bike and run splits on the day
      • The win ensured he qualified for the 2023 IRONMAN World Championships later this year and he should be full of confidence for that race in his home country of France after he executed his fuel and hydration plan perfectly in South Africa


      • Leon refined his pre-race hydration strategy during his races in 2022 and he used the same strategy for his first race of 2023 as he preloaded his sodium levels with ~300ml (12oz) of PH 1500 with his breakfast. He also had ~300ml (12oz) of black tea as he usually does, which helps to start increasing his caffeine levels
      • Then during the race it was business as usual for Leon from a hydration standpoint, as he carried all of his electrolytes in his pre-mixed bottles, and diluted the concentration with ~800ml (29oz) of plain water from the on-course aid stations
      • His bottles were all highly concentrated, with his two PF&H Litre Bottles on the bike containing two and three PH 1500 (Drink Mix) packets respectively, and a PF 90 Gel in each. He also carried a 500ml (16oz) bottle which had a further two PH 1500 Sachets and another PF 90
      • This is something Leon’s practised a LOT, meaning his stomach is comfortable tolerating this rich beverage, and he waters down the concentration throughout the bike with the plain water from aid stations
      • Onto the run, and as the stormy weather cleared, it left a very humid climate (~75%), which meant Leon started to feel the heat as his sweat wasn’t evaporating like it normally would
      • Thankfully, Leon remained composed and began pouring large amounts of water over his head in an attempt to keep himself cool by reducing his perception of the heat
      • He also managed to drink a little over 1,100ml (38oz) per hour via the on-course ‘water pouches’ on offer at aid stations, which he said “made it much easier to drink larger amounts than the usual cups of water”
      • Leon’s sodium intake fell significantly on the run compared to the bike, as he only took one Electrolyte Capsule on his way to the 2:47 marathon split. Overall though, as his intake was so high on the bike, he still averaged ~917mg of sodium per litre of fluid for the entire race, which is only slightly below his sweat sodium concentration (measured by our Sweat Test) of 1,392mg/L (mg/32oz)


    Quick Carb Calculator Recommendation


    carb 30 mins before


    carb per hour during
      • Leon practises his race fueling strategy repeatedly in training and it’s become a very consistent part of his strategy on race day, and IRONMAN South Africa was no exception
      • With his usual carb-rich breakfast of ~300g (10oz) of banana bread, Leon topped off his glycogen stores. He then attempted to take a PF 30 Caffeine Gel around 10 minutes before the swim start, but as the swim was delayed this ended up being ~40 minutes before he dived into the water
      • Whilst this timing is not thought to be optimal for peaking his blood glucose ready to perform, it will still have provided him with a decent caloric and caffeine hit. The caffeine will likely have been peaking in his bloodstream early on in the swim, and providing Leon with the associated ergogenic benefits
      • Leon carried all his fuel on his bike from the start, squeezing a PF 90 Gel into each of his three bottles, and carrying an additional two PF 30 Gels and two PF 30 Caffeine Gels in his bike’s bento box
      • He also carried and ate his traditional Snickers bar, which he says just gives him a bit of satisfaction to eat, and breaks up eight hours of eating sports products! In all, this meant he averaged ~124g of carbs per hour, which is an impressive feat, further supporting the emerging science suggesting highly trained athletes can tolerate carbohydrate intakes in excess of 100g per hour without issue
      • Whilst on the run, Leon carried a further eight gels, seven of which were regular PF 30s and one Caffeine Gel - he had one every 20 minutes to hit ~94g per hour. This Instagram post perfectly illustrates how Leon managed to carry all of these gels in his trisuit, which is a neat way to store his fuel without having his hands full!


      • This was another display of a well thought-out nutrition strategy being executed brilliantly from Leon. He should take a great deal of confidence from this first race of the season as be builds towards the IRONMAN Worlds later in the year
      • In all, Leon was very pleased with his performance, and rated his satisfaction with the result as an 8 (out of 10). He also feels there are a few small things to improve upon like his swim and getting his marathon time into the low 2:40s, and we have high hopes for the rest of the 2023 season!

    Key info

    Leon Chevalier

    Sweat sodium concentration
    Sweat sodium classification
    Very High
    * determined by a PH Advanced Sweat Test


    Overall Time
    Swim Time
    Bike Time
    Run Time

    Event information

    Full distance
    IRONMAN South Africa
    Port Elizabeth, South Africa
    5th March, 2023
    Swim Distance
    0.9km / 0.6mi
    Bike Distance
    180.2km / 112.0mi
    Run Distance
    42.2km / 26.2mi
    Total Distance
    223.3km / 138.8mi
    Bike Elevation
    925m / 3,035ft
    Run Elevation
    180m / 591ft
    Total Elevation
    1,105m / 3,625ft

    Race conditions

    Weather Conditions
    Hot and Humid
    Min Temp
    21°C / 70°F
    Max Temp
    25°C / 77°F
    Avg Temp
    23°C / 73°F

    Athlete feedback

    Race Satisfaction
    Hydration rating
    Energy levels
    I did get a lull in pace at around 27k of the run, but not really due to energy levels
    Toilet stops
    GI comfort
    A few ups and downs but nothing annoying
    No cramping

    Leon's Thoughts

     A big win for me, really happy to get the season started this way and bag the World Champs slot!

    Leon's full stats

     Carbohydrate (g)Sodium (mg)Fluid (ml)Caffeine (mg)Relative sodium concentration (mg/L)
    Total intake7795,5746,080319917
    Per hour10877684644
    Bike and Run
    Total intake7795,5746,080319917
    Per hour11280287546
    Total intake5185,3243,0002001,775
    Per hour1241,27872048
    Total intake2612503,08011981
    Per hour94901,10743

    Data Confidence







    There is an adequate level of accuracy in the data collected and the numbers reported. The athlete manages to recall what they ate and drank including most specifics (brands flavours quantities plausible estimations of volumes). However there are estimations made within the data which affect the overall confidence level in the data reported.

    Leon's recent case studies

    see all

    Related case studies

    Nail your next event with a FREE Fuel & Hydration Plan
    Get started