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Participating In The Race Across AMerica In A Team Of Eight Cyclists: Do Not Neglect Crew Preparation

Authors Guex K, Serain E, Gremion G, Besson C, Faiss R, Majo J, Degache F

Received 11 June 2019

Accepted for publication 28 September 2019

Published 4 November 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 161—169


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Andreas Imhoff

Kenny Guex,1 Emilie Serain,1 Gerald Gremion,2 Cyril Besson,2 Raphael Faiss,3 Jocelyne Majo,4 Francis Degache1,3,5 

1School of Health Sciences (HESAV), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Lausanne, Switzerland; 2Department of Sports Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland; 3Institute of Sports Sciences, Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; 4School of Management and Engineering Vaud (HEIG-VD), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO), Delémont, Switzerland; 5Therapeutic and Performance Sports Institute, MotionLab, Lausanne, Switzerland

Correspondence: Francis Degache
Therapeutic and Performance Sports Institute, MotionLab, Lausanne, Switzerland
Tel +33 6 48 95 19 66

Background: The Race Across AMerica (RAAM) is considered as one of the longest, and most difficult cycling races in the world. It can be performed in solo or in relay of two, four or eight persons.
Purpose/method: The aim of the present study was to investigate several physiological, perceptual and psychological responses before, during and after RAAM in a team of eight amateur cyclists. Because logistics of all team is demanding and complex, crew members have followed the same testing procedure.
Results: The main result is that parameters were globally not altered to a greater extent in cyclists than in crew members over the course of the RAAM, and that all variables returned to pre-race levels 1 week after the end of the race in both groups. In crew, body fat was decreased (p < 0.05) at mid-race (Mid) vs 1 week before the RAAM (Pre) (−1.5%) and total body water was increased (p < 0.05) at Mid vs Pre (+2.5%). In pre-relay quadriceps strength in cyclists was significantly lower (p < 0.05) at Mid vs Pre (41.6 ± 9.1 vs 45.0 ± 11.2 N, d = 0.36). Therefore, performing the race with eight well-prepared amateur cyclists seems to decrease potential risks on health. In crew, quadriceps strength remained stable at each assessment time but general fatigue increased all along the race. Anger was increased (p < 0.05) at Mid vs Pre in crew.
Conclusion: The most important message of this study is that crew members for a team of eight require adequate and sufficient preparation and training. Roles and responsibilities need to be thoroughly defined; individuals need to know each other beforehand and they must be prepared for sleep deprivation. The results of this study show the importance of the preparation of two teams: crew members, as well as cyclists.

Keywords: ultra-endurance exercise, strength, mood, sleep, body fat, pain

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