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What Does It Take to Complete the Cape Epic?

Reinp�ld, Karmen; Bossi, Arthur; Hopker, James


Karmen Reinp�ld

James Hopker


This study aimed to describe the racing and training demands of the Cape Epic. Six male mountain bike riders (age: 39 ± 7 years, height: 181 ± 3 cm, and body mass: 78.7 ± 8.1 kg) trained for 4.5 months and took part in the Cape Epic. Training and racing data (prologue, stage 1, and 2) were analyzed, and riders were tested in the laboratory on 3 distinct occasions for maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max), maximal work rate (W[Combining Dot Above]max), and power output associated with the respiratory compensation point (RCPPO). Statistical significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. With race durations of 1.5 ± 0.2, 6.5 ± 1.2, and 6.4 ± 1.4 hours for, respectively, prologue, stage 1, and 2, normalized power was higher in prologue (3.73 ± 0.72 W·kg−1) compared with stages 1 (3.06 ± 0.59 W·kg−1, p < 0.001) and 2 (2.94 ± 0.69 W·kg−1, p < 0.001). Riders spent more time in power zones 1 and 2 (as %RCPPO) and less time in zones 4 and 5, during stage 2 compared with prologue (all zones p ≤ 0.028). Despite no changes in V[Combining Dot Above]O2max or W[Combining Dot Above]max, RCPPO increased from midtraining (3.89 ± 0.61 W·kg−1) to prerace testing (4.08 ± 0.64 W·kg−1, p = 0.048). No differences were found between base and build training phases for time in power zones. In conclusion, the Cape Epic requires an ability to sustain high submaximal power outputs for several hours as well as an ability to repeat high-intensity efforts throughout the race. A well-balanced program, incorporating a pyramidal intensity distribution, may be used as a starting point for the design of optimal training approaches.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2021
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date Aug 16, 2022
Journal Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
Print ISSN 1064-8011
Publisher Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 12
Pages 3513-3520
Keywords MTB stage race, physiological demands, off-road cycling, intensity distribution, periodization, case study
Public URL