Mountain time trial in handcycling: Exercise intensity and predictors of race time in people with spinal cord injury

S. De Groot*, K. Postma, L. Van Vliet, R. Timmermans, L. J.M. Valent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Study design:Cross-sectional analyses.Objectives:To analyze exercise intensity during a mountain time trial in handcycling and to determine predictors of race time.Setting:Eight Dutch rehabilitation centers and Austrian mountain.Methods:Forty participants with spinal cord injury ( SCI; high lesion level ( >T6): N=11; low lesion level ( ≤T6): N=29) handcycled a 20.2-km mountain time trial. Heart rate ( HR) was monitored in 17 ( high: N=5, low: N=12) participants during the race to determine exercise intensity, expressed relative to the heart rate reserve ( %HRR). Two weeks before the race all participants completed laboratory tests to measure anthropometrics and peak values for power output ( POpeak), oxygen uptake ( VO2peak) and HR.Results:Mean race time was 4 h and 1 min ( s.d.: 1 h and 24 min), with no difference in race time between lesion groups. Mean exercise intensity during the race was 70±7%HRR. Exercise was mainly ( 73% of the race time) at a vigorous intensity ( 60-89%HRR), with 29% of the total time in the 80-89%HRR zone. No clear differences were found in exercise intensities between lesion groups. The strongest predictors for better race times were higher mean %HRR during race ( R 2 =57%), lower waist circumference ( R 2 =39%), higher POpeak ( R 2 =39%) and VO2peak ( R 2 =32%).Conclusion:A 20-km mountain time trial in a handcycle is intensive. Faster race times were achieved by those with a lower waist circumference, greater fitness level and ability to perform at higher average exercise intensities during the race. Level of SCI was not significantly associated with race time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-461
Number of pages7
JournalSpinal cord
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


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