Danish dynamite – new world record & gold medal

The Danish track squad set up a new world record in the 4000m team pursuits at the UCI Track Cycling World Championship in Berlin today. It took the 4 riders only 3min44sec to cover 4000m – and this with a standing start. The team reaches top speeds of way beyond 70km/h and averages 63.8km/h.

Energetically this equals an average power above 500 Watts during almost 4 minutes with peaks in the high 800’s. The power output of each rider is quite stochastic, depending on the position he’s riding in. The team switches the lead regularly and needs to be properly in sync.

Typical power output and cadence during a track team pursuit (not yesterday’s record ride!)

In the first 60 seconds riders mainly use Posphocreatine and ATP Reserves – our body’s most potent“rocket fuel”. For the rest of the time they rely on aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (they burn carbs). Statistics show that over 4 minutes anaerobic energy production contributes only by a mere 30% to total energy expenditure, but this is enough to produce uncomfortable blood lactate values.

If we look at the total energy cost to ride this world record, it’s a ridiculous low number. Assuming they average 500 watts over the entire ride, they only burn a bit more than 120 kcal or 30g of Carbohydrates – this shows why activity by itself is not enough to lose weight and has to be combined with a smart diet.

But losing weight was not the aim in this competition, hats off to the Danish team – hell of a ride!

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