Finishers and Nonfinishers in the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon ’ to Qualify for the ‘Race across America ’

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Knechtle, B, Knechtle, P, Rüst, CA, Rosemann, T, and Lepers, R. Finishers and nonfinishers in the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon’ to qualify for the ‘Race across America.’ J Strength Cond Res 25(12): 3257–3263, 2011—We compared the characteristics of prerace anthropometry, previous experience, and training and support during the race in 39 finishers and 37 nonfinishers in the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon,’ over 720 km. In this race, the cyclists intended to qualify for the ‘Race across America,’ the longest nonstop cycling race in the World from the West to the East of the USA. Finishers in the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon’ had a lower body mass, a lower body mass index, lower circumferences of upper arm and thigh, a lower percent body fat, completed more weekly training units, covered more kilometers in the longest training ride, rode at a faster speed during training, rode more kilometers per week and for more hours, had more previous finishes in the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon’ and a lighter race bike compared to the nonfinishers. In the bivariate analysis, the cycling distance per training unit (r = 0.37), the duration per training unit (r = 0.44), the speed per training unit (r = −0.59), using nutrition provided by the organizer (r = 0.50), and using own nutrition (r = 0.49) during the race were significantly and positively associated with race time. For practical applications, anthropometric characteristics such as a low body mass or low body fat were not related to race time, whereas training characteristics and nutrition during the race were associated with race time. The key to a successful finish in an ultraendurance cycling race such as the ‘Swiss Cycling Marathon’ seems a high speed in training and an appropriate nutrition during the race.

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