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PHYSIOLOGY OF OFF-ROAD CYCLING

Impellizzeri Franco M and Sassi Aldo

Mountain biking is a widespread outdoor recreational activity and a competitive sport. In spite of this, few scientific studies have investigated the physiological aspects of mountain biking. Cross-country circuit race is the most popular mountain bike competitive event and it has been included as official Olympic sport in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games. Cross-country is a mass-start endurance competition consisting in completing several laps of an off-road circuit characterized by repeated climbs and descents on gravel roads and field trails. Off-road cyclists usually use bikes with front suspension to decrease muscular stress on arms and legs as several isometric muscle contractions are necessary to absorb shock caused by rough terrain conditions, and bike handling and stabilization. Off-road cycling studies have shown that cross-country circuit races are performed at very high exercise intensity with average heart rate close to 90% of maximum corresponding to 84 3 % of VO2max for races lasting up to two hours1, 2. The high intensity reported for cross-country competition could be related to race pace characteristic (e.g. fast start), the several climbs that require off-road cyclists to spend most part of their effort against gravity force and presumably greater rolling resistance, and the intense and repeated isometric contractions of arm and leg muscles. During cross-country races peak power output can reach values of 250 to 500 W during uphill cycling. Due to the high power output required during steep climbing, at the start of the race and when sprinting to pass slower riders, several authors suggested that high anaerobic power and/or capacity, other than high aerobic fitness, are likely to play an important role in off-road cycling competitions3. However, there is no scientific evidence for this and specific studies are necessary. The mountain bikers physiological characteristics indicate that a high aerobic power (VO2max 70 ml/kg/min) is a prerequisite to compete at high level in off-road events. Their relative VO2max and body mass are only slightly higher than the values reported in literature for climbers road cyclists. Some studies have also demonstrated that body mass should be take into account when evaluating physiological characteristics of mountain bikers and their relationships with off-road cycling performance. In a study by Impellizzeri et al.4 maximal and submaximal parameters of aerobic fitness explained 80% of the variance in off-road performance in a group of heterogeneous mountain bikers. However, more recently we have shown that the only parameter found correlated to a cross-country circuit race, in high level riders, was the intensity at respiratory compensation threshold and this explained only 40% of variance in performance (BJSM, in press). The unexplained 60% of variance in high-level off-road cycling performance could be related to other physiological factors not yet investigated such as the anaerobic energy system, non-respiratory buffering capacity (bicarbonate and non-bicarbonate) and the ability to recover during the descents following the several climbs. Furthermore, the technical ability could be an important determinant especially among mountain bikers characterized by homogeneous performance and physiological characteristics.

Invited talk: 10th European College of Sport Science Congress

MATCH-RELATED FATIGUE IN SOCCER PLAYERS.
MATCH RUNNING PERFORMANCE IN ELITE AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL.
PHYSIOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOMETRIC CHARACTERISTICS OF JUNIOR CYCLISTS OF DIFFERENT SPECIALTIES AND PERFORMANCE LEVELS.
THE COST OF RUNNING ON NATURAL GRASS AND ARTIFICIAL TURF SURFACES.
TIME COURSE OF THE HEMOGLOBIN MASS RESPONSE TO NATURAL ALTITUDE TRAINING IN ELITE ENDURANCE CYCLISTS.
AEROBIC FITNESS VARIABLES DO NOT PREDICT THE PROFESSIONAL CAREER OF YOUNG CYCLISTS.
PHYSIOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF YO-YO INTERMITTENT RECOVERY TEST IN MALE SOCCER PLAYERS
REPEATED-SPRINT ABILITY IN PROFESSIONAL AND AMATEUR SOCCER PLAYERS.
AEROBIC AND EXPLOSIVE POWER PERFORMANCE OF ELITE ITALIAN REGIONAL-LEVEL BASKETBALL PLAYERS.
EFFECTS OF INTERMITTENT-ENDURANCE FITNESS ON MATCH PERFORMANCE IN YOUNG MALE SOCCER PLAYERS.
HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING IN FOOTBALL.
GLYCEMIC INDEX IN SPORT NUTRITION
EFFECTS OF GRADIENT AND SPEED ON FREELY CHOSEN CADENCE: THE KEY ROLE OF CRANK INERTIAL LOAD
EFFECTS OF AEROBIC TRAINING ON THE EXERCISE-INDUCED DECLINE IN SHORT-PASSING ABILITY IN JUNIOR SOCCER PLAYERS.
AGEING AND PHYSICAL MATCH PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER REFEREES.
SEASONAL CHANGES IN AEROBIC FITNESS INDICES IN ELITE CYCLISTS.
EFFECT OF MATCH-RELATED FATIGUE ON SHORT-PASSING ABILITY IN YOUNG SOCCER PLAYERS
VALIDITY OF A REPEATED-SPRINT TEST FOR FOOTBALL.
LEVEL GROUND AND UPHILL CYCLING ABILITY IN ELITE FEMALE MOUNTAIN BIKERS AND ROAD CYCLISTS
TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE DURING SOCCER MATCHES OF THE ITALIAN SERIE A LEAGUE: EFFECT OF FATIGUE AND COMPETITIVE LEVEL
EFFECT OF PLYOMETRIC TRAINING ON SAND VERSUS GRASS ON MUSCLE SORENESS AND JUMPING AND SPRINTING ABILITY IN SOCCER PLAYERS.
SPRINT VS. INTERVAL TRAINING IN FOOTBALL.
RELIABILITY OF ISOKINETIC STRENGTH IMBALANCE RATIOS MEASURED USING THE CYBEX NORM DYNAMOMETER
HEART RATE AND BLOOD LACTATE CORRELATES OF PERCEIVED EXERTION DURING SMALL-SIDED SOCCER GAMES
VARIATION IN TOP LEVEL SOCCER MATCH PERFORMANCE.
A VERTICAL JUMP FORCE TEST FOR ASSESSING BILATERAL STRENGTH ASYMMETRY IN
THE YO-YO INTERMITTENT RECOVERY TEST IN BASKETBALL PLAYERS
FACTORS INFLUENCING PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES TO SMALL-SIDED SOCCER GAMES
VALIDITY OF SIMPLE FIELD TESTS AS INDICATORS OF MATCH-RELATED PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE IN TOP-LEVEL PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYERS
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF MOUNTAIN BIKING
ANALYSIS OF PHYSICAL MATCH PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER REFEREES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO FIRST HALF AND PLAYER WORK RATES.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PUSH PHASE AND FINAL RACE TIME IN SKELETON PERFORMANCE
CARDIOVASCULAR RESPONSES DURING RECREATIONAL 5-A-SIDE INDOOR-SOCCER
PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PERFORMANCE EFFECTS OF GENERIC VERSUS SPECIFIC AEROBIC TRAINING IN SOCCER PLAYERS.
PREDICTION OF TIME TO EXHAUSTION FROM BLOOD LACTATE RESPONSE DURING SUBMAXIMAL EXERCISE IN COMPETITIVE CYCLISTS.
CARDIORESPIRATORY RESPONSES TO YO-YO INTERMITTENT ENDURANCE TEST IN NONELITE YOUTH SOCCER PLAYERS
AEROBIC FITNESS AND YO-YO CONTINUOUS AND INTERMITTENT TESTS PERFORMANCES IN SOCCER PLAYERS: A CORRELATION STUDY.
IS AEROBIC POWER REALLY CRITICAL FOR SUCCESS IN ALPINE SKIING?
CORRELATIONS BETWEEN PHYSIOLOGICAL VARIABLES AND PERFORMANCE IN HIGH LEVEL CROSS COUNTRY OFF ROAD CYCLISTS.
CARDIOVASCULAR RESPONSES TO AEROBIC STEP DANCE SESSIONS WITH AND WITHOUT APPENDICULAR OVERLOAD
ECOLOGICAL VALIDITY OF A REPEATED SPRINT ABILITY TEST AND ITS REPRODUCIBILITY IN SOCCER
VARIABLES INFLUENCING SOCCER-SPECIFIC EXERCISE INTENSITY
PHYSIOLOGY OF OFF-ROAD CYCLING
PHYSIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF AEROBIC TRAINING IN SOCCER.
PHYSIOLOGICAL CORRELATES TO OFF-ROAD CYCLING PERFORMANCE.
ESTIMATION OF THE INDIVIDUAL POWER-TIME TO EXHAUSTION RELATIONSHIP
THE ENERGY EXPENDITURE OF AN OCCUPATIONAL, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: TILE LAYING
THE ASSESSMENT OF LOWER LIMBS BILATERAL STRENGTH IMBALANCE USING VERTICAL JUMPS ON FORCE PLATFORM
A COMPARISON OF SMALL-SIDED GAMES AND INTERVAL TRAINING
USE OF RPE-BASED TRAINING LOAD IN SOCCER.
RELIABILITY OF HEART RATE RECORDED DURING SOCCER TRAINING
SOCCER PERFORMANCE: RELATIONSHIP WITH OPPONENT
PLASMA ACTH RESPONSE TO EXHAUSTIVE EXERCISE IN OVERTRAINED PROFESSIONAL CYCLISTS
MONITORING TRAINING LOAD IN ITALIAN FOOTBALL
MLSS DOES NOT CORRESPOND TO THE MAXIMAL RATE OF LACTATE ELIMINATION
ECONOMY DIFFERENCES AMONG HIGH LEVEL RACE WALKERS
A SIMPLE PREDICTION OF THE EXHAUSTION TIME DURING SUBMAXIMAL CYCLING
VALIDITY OF A SUBMAXIMAL RUNNING TEST TO EVALUATE AEROBIC FITNESS CHANGES IN SOCCER PLAYERS
EXERCISE INTENSITY DURING OFF-CYCLING COMPETITIONS.