The physiological strain of freeride mountain biking: a health-related approach




Birtwell, Cameron I. K.

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This investigation examined the acute physiological demand associated with a typical Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) ride. Measures of cardiovascular strain (heart rate, RPE) and neuromuscular fatigue (quarter squat and handgrip MVICs) were assessed in 22 experienced mountain bikers during an observed ride on Mt. Fromme in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The ride involved an initial ascent of 350 vertical meters over horizontal distance of 5.93km, (mean duration 46.61 min). The descent covered a 350m loss in elevation through intermediate to expert level trails spanning a horizontal distance of 4.24km, (mean duration 28.55 min). Heart rate monitoring was continuous. Blood Lactate was assessed pre-ride, at the top of the ascent (mid-ride), and following the descent (post-ride). RPE was assessed mid-ride and post-ride. Handgrip and quarter squat MVICs were taken pre-ride and post-ride. An a priori alpha of .05 was set for all statistical tests. Both measures of neuromuscular strain decreased pre-post ride, equal to 2.8% in quarter squat MVIC and 6.1% and 4.3% in handgrip MVIC for the right and left hands respectively. Blood lactate increased from rest to mid-ride and decreased from mid-ride to post-ride. The mean heart rates (- 80% PHRmax) and RPEs (-14.5) associated with the ascent and descent were not significantly different. The acute physiological and ride pattern data indicate that FMB satisfies the American College of Sports Medicine's guidelines for increasing cardiovascular health and fitness.



mountain biking, cycling, cardiovascular strain, sports medicine, fitness