BACKGROUND - The high mechanical efficiency of the geared handcycle makes it suitable for elite athletes to train and even compete in races with able-bodied (recreational) cyclists. However, the actual exercise profile for endurance events has not been quantified.
OBJECTIVE - To guide future training regimes in a safe and effective process, the aim of this research was to quantify the workload, speed, cadence and heart rate parameters during 6000 km of training and within a 540 km ultra-long races.
METHODS - One spinal cord injured participant (lesion level Th4, ASIA B) handcycle (modified Shark S Sopur--Sunrisemedical, Malsch, Germany) was equipped with Schoberer Bike Measurement System (SRM) crank. For the laboratory test, a Cyclus II Ergometer was used. The energy intake and quality was determined during the time of race (540 km).
RESULTS - Workload at a defined metabolic situation was augmented through training by 63.8% from 90.0 to 147.6 W. The athlete finished the 540 km race with an average speed of 21.6 km h⁻¹ and a total race time of 38:52 h.
CONCLUSIONS - Ultra-long-term races in a handcycle can be suited by well-trained persons with a spinal cord injury. The quality of the training preparation time (for example, intensity and volume) is of immense importance to reach an adequate physiological capacity and to avoid serious injuries or medical problems.