Cycling is predominantly know as an endurance sport. However, it is very dynamic as there are different aspects to it in terms of the genetic make up of our muscles that can lend ourselves better to certain situations and disciplines within cycling.
Are muscles are made up of either predominately slow twitch muscle fibres which are better for endurance, where you can go for long distances without getting tired. Those with fast twitch muscle fibres are capable of sprinting or of explosive efforts. We call this our neuro muscular power, where we can put very high power out in a few seconds, but will get tired more easily. Some people also have a mixture of the two and fall in the middle. We are all built very uniquely and differently.
Although we are born with our muscle types, through training we can develop our fitness to a certain extent in all areas. However, we will also have a higher potential based on our muscle types.
Endurance is the foundation of any cycling and something that we all need to build when we get started to give us a good base, where we will be rely on our slow twitch muscles. The types of disciplines that best suit endurance and don't rely on neuromuscular power or sprinting are Time Trails and Ultra endurance events. For road racing the slow twitch rider will do well in sustaining the long event, however maybe held back and miss a win due to being out-sprinted at the end by a rider with more neuro muscular power.
Neuro muscular Power
This is the other end of the spectrum. After a cyclist has built up their endurance they can work on their potential to put out explosive power over a few seconds to propel the bike forward... fast! Sprinters are best suited to track cycling, criteriums and do well over attacks and out-sprinting their opponents in road racing, although they may struggle with fatigue over the long duration of a road race.
Personally, I think that I think that my muscles favour more slow twitch, I can get my head down and can keep a steady pace. At the end of long rides I feel quite strong. I still do sprints in training and it's encouraging to see them improve.
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