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  • Author: Michael J. Saunders x
  • International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance x
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Caffeine Enhances 10-km Cycling Performance in Habitual Users Only When Preceded by Caffeine Abstinence

Timothy D. Griest, Michael J. Saunders, Christopher J. Womack, and Nicholas D. Luden

Purpose: The primary objective was to assess the performance benefits of caffeine (CAF) supplementation in habitual users. Importantly, this investigation was designed to account for the potential confounding effects of CAF withdrawal (CAFW), which are inherent and common in previous work. Methods: Ten CAF-consuming (394 [146] mg·d−1) recreational cyclists (age 39.1 [14.9] y; maximum oxygen consumption 54.2 [6.2] mL·kg–1·min–1) completed four 10-km time trials (TTs) on a cycle ergometer. On each trial day, 8 hours before reporting to the laboratory, subjects consumed 1.5 mg·kg–1 CAF to prevent withdrawal (no withdrawal [N]) or a placebo (PLA; withdrawal [W]). Then, 1 hour prior to exercise, they received either 6 mg·kg–1 CAF or PLA. These protocols were repeated 4 times, employing all combinations of N/W and CAF/PLA. Results: CAFW did not impair TT power output (PLAW vs PLAN P = .13). However, preexercise CAF only improved TT performance when compared to PLA in the W condition (CAFN vs PLAW P = .008, CAFW vs PLAW P = .04), not when W was mitigated (PLAN vs CAFN P = .33). Conclusions: These data indicate that preexercise CAF only improves recreational cycling performance when compared to bouts preceded by CAF abstinence, suggesting that habitual users may not benefit from 6 mg·kg–1 of CAF and that previous work may have overstated the value of CAF supplementation for habitual users. Future work should examine higher doses of CAF for habitual users.

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Comparison of Physiological Responses and Performance Between Mountain Bicycles With Differing Suspension Systems

Jeffrey E. Herrick, Judith A. Flohr, Davis L. Wenos, and Michael J. Saunders


This study compared the metabolic and performance effects of riding front-only suspension (FS) and front-and-rear suspension (FRS) mountain bicycles on an off-road course that simulated competitive cross-country race conditions (>105 min in duration, with ∼70% of time spent riding uphill).


Seven competitive mountain bikers (73.8 ± 7.6 kg; 61.0 ± 4.3 mL·kg–1·min–1) completed two randomized FS and FRS trials. Bikes were similar, excluding rear wheel suspension on the FRS, which increased bike weight by ∼2 kg. Each trial consisted of four laps of rugged 8 km trail with 154 m of elevation gain per lap. The first three laps were performed at ∼70% of VO2max; VO2, HR, and RPE were collected during the first and third laps. The final lap was performed as a maximal time-trial effort.


During the first and third laps, VO2, HR, and RPE were similar between FS and FRS. However, FS was significantly faster than FRS during the ascending segment of the course (17.6 ± 2.9 vs 18.9 ± 3.4 min, P = .035), despite similar VO2 (P = .651). Although not statistically significant, FRS tended to be faster than FS during the descending portion of the course (8.1 ± 2.0 vs 9.1 ± 2.1, P = .067) at similar VO2. Performance during the final time-trial lap was significantly faster for FS than FRS (24.9 ± 3.9 min, 27.5 ± 4.9 min, P = .008).


FS was faster than FRS over a course that simulated competitive cross-country race conditions. The faster times were likely the result of improved cycling economy during ascending, which were at least partially influenced by the lighter weight of the FS.