Physiological Response to Cyclocross Racing

Ryanne D. Carmichael*, David J. Heikkinen, Elizabeth M. Mullin and Nolan R. McCall

Physiological Response to Cyclocross Racing.

The sport was introduced in Europe in the 1900s and the first Cyclocross World Championship was held in 1950. Since then, cyclocross has evolved into a popular sport in many European countries, including Belgium, France, and the Netherlands. According to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the discipline has increased in popularity in recent years, particularly in the United States, Asia, and in women’s participation overall.1 Such recent and relatively high participant growth in cyclocross justifies a better understanding of how the sport’s unique physiological demands affect athletes.

The courses can include a mix of pavement, gravel, grass, and sand and typically include hills, flat sections, and off-camber portions. Courses also include barriers or other obstacles which require riders to dismount and carry their bikes for stretches of the race.

Previous research has described the physiological profile of other cycling subdisciplines such as road racing3-5 and mountain biking.6-8 Fernandez-Garcia at al3 used heart rate (HR) to describe the intensity of the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. Similarly, Lim et al4 used HR and power data to identify time spent above or below lactate threshold during road racing.

Measuring the physiological changes that occur during cyclocross will help to identify the energy systems that predominate during the activity. Determining the exercise intensity of the sport will help to improve training programs designed for cyclocross success, which could have implications for both performance as well as sport participation.

Sport Exerc Med Open J. 2017; 3(2): 74- 80. doi: 10.17140/SEMOJ-3-152