The effects of augmented feedback on twenty-five kilometre cycling time trials on trained cyclists


  • Nathan Thompson University Centre Peterborough


Augmented Feedback, Pacing Strategies, Decision Making, Cycling


Background: The objective of feedback is to enhance athletes' knowledge of their performance in conjunction with a target. Many cyclists utilise augmented feedback (AF) such as heart rate and power data during both training and competitions; a practice that has increased over the last few years due to the improved access to wearable technology. However, it is unknown if this feedback significantly increases the performance of the cyclist.?

Purpose: To examine the physiological and psychological effect in the provision of AF on trained cyclists in a twenty-five kilometre time trial.?

Methods: Ten amateur cyclists volunteered to participate in this study (age 42.0 ? 6.3years, body mass 77.9 ? 8.1 kg, height 178.7 ? 4.3 cm, VO2max 54.7 ? 8.7 ml?kg?min-1, VO2peak 4.9 ? 0.6 l/min, HCT 44.5 ? 3.5 %), with more than 2 years of time trial experience. ? An initial cycle incremental maximal ramp VO2 max protocol was conducted and measurements of blood lactate concentration (Bla) was collected to identify fixed lactate concentration thresholds (2 and 4 mmol/l) and associated heart rate (bpm) and power (watts). ? The data collected generated a VO2 max report and was provided to the cyclists after completion of the control trial, providing a minimum of 48 hours to interpret the information.? A twenty-five kilometre cycling time trial was conducted under two separate conditions (Control ? distance (km) only and Experimental ? AF provided).?? Throughout both time trials, measurement of oxygen uptake (VO2) and galvanic skin response (GSR) was continually sampled along with lactate concentration (Bla), heart rate (bpm), power output (watts) and perceived exertion (RPE) at set distance intervals (each 5km).? AF provided in the experimental trial consisted of the following: a visual representation of power output (average, peak and power to weight ratio), cycling efficiency and constant access to heart rate data (bpm). ?

Results: Results displayed no overall significant difference between control and AF conditions in time (secs) taken to complete the time trial (p = 0.97), speed (p = 1.00), mean power (p = 0.80) and cadence (p = 0.76).? There were no reported significant differences in respiratory or blood measurements, however, the AF trial reported a significant (p = 0.01) increase in time to complete the first 5km of the time trial.? In contrast, although deemed non-significant (p >0.05) the control trial reported a quicker time to complete the final 5km of the time trial.? These results highlight the alterations in pacing strategies when cyclists are exposed to AF in cycling time trials.??

Discussion: The inclusion of AF altered pacing strategies between conditions (control and AF) which suggests an inefficient use of the data provided and could originate from an inability to filter relevant and irrelevant information to make informed decisions. Cyclists also demonstrated a quicker final 5km of the control trial? (441 ? 81secs) in comparison to AF? (462 ? 27secs) which suggests a maintenance of a reserve capacity.

Conclusions: These results suggest that the implementation of AF to trained cyclists conducting a twenty-five kilometre time trial does not elicit an overall significant performance enhancement. Future research should focus upon the qualitative perspective of this investigation, to clearly identify decision-making processes in pacing strategies.?


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How to Cite

Thompson, N. (2020). The effects of augmented feedback on twenty-five kilometre cycling time trials on trained cyclists. Journal of Science and Cycling, 9(2), 25-26. Retrieved from



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