Changes in Sex Difference in Time-Limited Ultra-Cycling Races from 6 Hours to 24 Hours

Heike Scholz, Caio Victor Sousa, Sabrina Baumgartner, Thomas Rosemann, Beat Knechtle
and objective: Existing research shows that the sex differences in distance-limited ultra-cycling races decreased with both increasing race distance and increasing age. It is unknown, however, whether the sex differences in time-limited ultra-cycling races will equally decrease with increasing race distance and age. This study aimed to examine the sex differences regarding performance for timelimited ultra-cycling races (6, 12, and 24 h). Methods: Data were obtained from the online database of
more » ... he Ultra-Cycling Marathon Association (UMCA) of time-limited ultra-cycling races (6, 12, and 24 h) from the years 1983-2019. A total of 18,241 race results were analyzed to compare cycling speed between men and women by calendar year, age group (<29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60-69; >70 years), and race duration. Results: The participation of both men (85.1%) and women (14.9%) increased between 1983 and 2019. The age of peak performance was between 40 and 59 years for men and between 30 and 59 years for women. Between 2000 and 2019, more men (63.1% of male participants and 52.2% of female participants) competed in 24 h races. In the 24 h races, the sex difference decreased significantly in all age groups. Men cycled 9.6% faster than women in the 12 h races and 4% faster in the 24 h races. Both women and men improved their performance significantly across the decades. Between 2000 and 2019, the improvement in the 24 h races were 15.6% for men and 21.9% for women. Conclusion: The sex differences in cycling speed decreased between men and women with increasing duration of ultra-cycling races and with increasing age. Women showed a greater performance improvement than men in the last 20 years. The average cycling speed of men and women started to converge in the 24 h races.
doi:10.5167/uzh-207830 fatcat:3viyracgmzfd3ktsor3oo35zci