A lot of people ask, does cycling experience lead to a more efficient performance in the track? As I have noted in a previous post, performance can be measured in a number of ways including Gross mechanical efficiency.
Controversy still exists in the literature as to whether cycling experience affects gross mechanical efficiency (GME). A study last 2007 sought to identify differences in efficiency by way of the gross mechanical efficiency between trained and untrained cyclists.
Thirty-two participants, 16 trained (mean+/-SD: age, 33+/-4 y; height, 1.76+/-0.05 m; mass 75+/-10 kg; Wmax, 421+/-38 W; maximal oxygen uptake, 62.6+/-7.30 mL.kg(-1).min(-1)) and 16 untrained (22+/-3 y, 175+/-0.06 m, 76+/-10 kg, 292+/-34 W, 42.6+/-7.80 mL.kg(-1).min(-1)), performed two tests of cycling efficiency.
One was at the relative workloads of 50% and 60% Wmax and the other was at a fixed workload of 150 W using an electrically braked cycle ergometer. Cadence was maintained at the cyclist’s preferred rate throughout. All workloads lasted 10 min with data sampling in the final 3 min. GME was calculated from the gas data.
GME was found to be significantly higher in the trained cyclists across all workloads (+1.4%; p=0.03). At workloads of 60% Wmax GME was significantly lower than work at 150 W (-0.8%; p=0.04), but not significantly different from 50% Wmax.
These results show that differences do exist between trained and untrained cyclists, illustrating that training experience is a factor that warrants further investigation.