What’s the Best Test to Predict Who Will Win a Race?
Before a 24-mile cycling time trial, scientists measured the maximum amount of oxygen that riders could take in (VO2max) and the peak power Output (PPO) adjusted for body weight. The Peak Power Output adjusted for weight is the maximum force that a bicycle rider can generate on his pedals. It is the best predictor for how fast the bicycle riders could race (British Journal of Sports Medicine, January 2012; 46(1):36-41).
The limiting factor to how fast an athlete can move over long distances is the time it takes for oxygen to get into his muscles. So for athletes in any endurance sport, the more oxygen they can take in and use continuously, the faster they will race. When you are exercising so fast that you can’t get all the oxygen you need to convert food to energy for your muscles, you become so short of breath that you have to slow down.
However, there is an increase in oxygen requirements as you pedal with more force. The harder you have to press on the pedals to move your bike, the greater your needs for oxygen.
If you are stronger than your opponent, you need to contract fewer fibers at the same time to move your pedals. Therefore, you require less oxygen and should be able to go at a faster pace. At the end of a race, the stronger rider almost always can ride faster. So the maximal amount of oxygen that you can take in is important, but stronger trained riders win.
Thank you to Dr. Gabe Mirkin. http://www.drmirkin.com/public/ezine031812.html
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