January 18, 2022

The Effects of a Cold Environment on Professional Cyclists’ Performance

2 min read

The effects of cold weather on professional cyclists were investigated in a new research published in the Life magazine. It was discovered that the cold had a detrimental influence on performance – an expected finding for those of us who avoid exercise during the winter months!

Cycling in the winter can be difficult for a variety of reasons. During the cold and dark months of the year, reverting to indoor training is often the most convenient alternative, and many individuals like it. There is, however, something to be said for bracing yourself against the elements and stepping beyond of your comfort zone. The hot drink and shower you get when you get home are also very wonderful. Knowing what to expect when the seasons change allows you to be more prepared while performing at your best and improving your training.

The effects of a chilly climate on the performance of professional cyclists were investigated in a research conducted by the University of Perpignan Via Domitia. Certain environmental elements, such as wind chill, temperature, sun radiation, and humidity, are thought to impact endurance sports, hence the research intended to learn more about this. Of course, professionals may react to specific situations differently than us ordinary mortals, but the findings in this case may be extrapolated rather broadly.

The study used six volunteer male professional riders from the Wanty Gobert Pro Cycling Team (Belgium), all of whom were in their twenties. The research was conducted during the Tour de La Provence in February, on the longest stage of the race, when the temperature was approximately 7°C. While this may be a little different experience than your Sunday ride around the neighbourhood lanes, the results are likely to be the same.

Surprisingly, it was discovered that the tour participants did not perform to their full ability.

Cycling in a chilly climate may have both a good and negative influence on performance, such as a faster time to exhaustion and a longer time to complete an event, according to the study. It was also noticed that the longer the race lasted, the worse the performance became. During the event, the average core body temperature of the participants dropped by about 1 degree. “The starting core temperature was 37.32 1.31 degrees Celsius, and the end core temperature was 36.5 1.44 degrees Celsius.”

The research gave a number of recommendations based on their results to help you lessen the effects of the cold on your riding routine:

  • Acclimate to the temperature through practising in situations that are comparable to those that would be encountered during contests.
  • Warm up your internal and muscular temperatures before you go on the bike, for example, by doing a warm-up off it.
  • To promote hydration, drink room-temperature or warm water rather than cold water.
  • To prevent skin and muscle cooling, wear additional insulating layers both before and during a race.

Enjoy those winter months of training, and you’ll be ready to tackle spring with your road handling abilities intact!