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Res Sports Med. 2013;21(2):146-58. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2012.757228.

The age-related performance decline in ultraendurance mountain biking.

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Institute of General Practice and for Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The age-related changes in ultraendurance performance have been previously examined for running and triathlon but not mountain biking. The aims of this study were (i) to describe the performance trends and (ii) to analyze the age-related performance decline in ultraendurance mountain biking in a 120-km ultraendurance mountain bike race the "Swiss Bike Masters" from 1995 to 2009 in 9,325 male athletes. The mean (±SD) race time decreased from 590 ± 80 min to 529 ± 88 min for overall finishers and from 415 ± 8 min to 359 ± 16 min for the top 10 finishers, respectively. The mean (±SD) age of all finishers significantly (P < 0.001) increased from 31.6 ± 6.5 years to 37.9 ± 8.9 years, while the age of the top 10 remained stable at 30.0 ± 1.6 years. The race time of mountain bikers aged between 25 and 34 years was significantly (P < 0.01) faster compared with the race time of older age groups. The age-related decline in performance in endurance mountain bikers in the "Swiss Bike Masters" appears to start earlier compared with other ultraendurance sports.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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