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Original articles  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2002 March;42(1):1-7

Copyright © 2009 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Energy expenditure during an ultra-endurance cycling race

Francescato M. P., Di Prampero P. E.

From the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies, University of Udine, Udine, Italy


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Back­ground. The ­energy expen­di­ture of ­cycling has ­been inves­ti­gated in ­great ­detail, ­mainly ­during ­trials per­formed for rel­a­tively ­short ­periods of ­time and ­under ­well estab­lished con­di­tions. The ­number of inves­ti­ga­tions per­formed on ­long-­lasting ­races, how­ever, is ­very lim­ited, prob­ably ­because of prac­tical dif­fi­cul­ties. The aim of the ­present ­work was an ­attempt to esti­mate the ­energy require­ments of 5 ama­teur ­cyclists who par­tic­i­pated in an ­ultra-endu­rance ­long-­lasting ­road ­cycling ­race.
­Methods. A gen­er­al­ized equa­tion ­obtained ­from lit­er­a­ture was ­applied to cal­cu­late the ­energy expen­di­ture of 26 to 137 ­short frac­tions of the com­pe­ti­tion.
­Results. The cal­cu­lated ­time ­weighted net meta­bolic ­power ­output ­ranged ­from 6.4 W · kg-1 to 10.8 W · kg-1; the cor­re­sponding net ­energy expen­di­ture per ­unit dis­tance ­ranging ­from 73.1 kJ · km-1 to 110.5 kJ · km-1. The ­total ­energy expen­di­ture of the com­pe­ti­tion (­rest ­included) ­ranged ­from 44.2 to 186.4 MJ, ­depending on the ­total com­pe­ti­tion dura­tion. For all sub­jects, the sum ­total of the ­overall ­energy expen­di­ture ­increased as a ­power func­tion of cumu­lated per­for­mance ­time (kJ = 4872 · t0.77). How­ever, the ­daily ­energy expen­di­ture ­decreases ­with ­increasing the dura­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion.
Con­clu­sions. It is con­cluded ­that it is pos­sible to esti­mate the ­energy expen­di­ture of ­ultra-endu­rance ­cycling per­for­mances, pro­vided ­that the mechan­ical ­power ­output can be ­described by ­well ­defined equa­tions.

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