Is cycling the most physically demanding sport ?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by limerickman, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. tomdavis80

    tomdavis80 New Member

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    Oh, I have no doubt that the Tour De France is probably the most demanding event for any athlete in my mind, but what I am arguing here is the nature of the training and competitions in boxing as compared to cycling. Some cyclists can have a lot of natural talent and win a good number of races at some categories but the same can't really be said about boxing because a boxer doesn't really have the luxury of not training and expecting to be able to win against a midlevel amateur fighter. It takes lots of experience, instinct, and training along with talent to be able to handle that kind of competition because every other boxer's training like you are.

    But there is no question about the competition of the Tour De France being the most demanding athletic event for any sport or event. Most cyclists who even tried to handle a Tour De France level event even if it was a lower level event and not the high level and speed that it is with the pros, it would take a toll on any cyclist's body.

    I have experienced something similar to you and Bronchitis, but not so severe. I participated in the 35 mile El Tour de Tucson for the first race that I ever did last November and I was slightly sick with the flu and had a nasty headache the night before but felt better that morning. I decided to race anyways and I put every ounce of energy I had out on the road and that caused me to be laid out in bed for a week suffering from the energy drain of the 35 mile race while finishing 8th which isn't too bad.

    Thomas Davis
     


  2. Styler

    Styler New Member

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    No-one's yet metioned the Marathon des Sables. Running across the Sahara for days on end must be one of the greatest challenges on earth...

    I know some serious mountaineers, and have met some really serious ones. I think climbing successes are usually mostly down to sheer bloodymindedness, although the guys are often pretty fit. Saying that, Stephen Venables (first brit to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen) only quit smoking a week or two before leaving for Nepal!

    Polar explorers are another possibility. Is walking unsupported across the Arctic harder than the Tour? There's clearly a big difference between finishing the Tour and winning it...
     
  3. Tmax1

    Tmax1 New Member

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    (first brit to climb Everest without supplementary oxygen) only quit smoking a week or two before leaving for Nepal!

    I wounder how he quit.

    I'm struggling....

    Tmax1
     
  4. Tmax1

    Tmax1 New Member

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    "wounder"

    Wound...hmm. Not just a slip or a mis-spell I am sure...

    Tm1
     
  5. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    This was the event that I was trying to recall when I posted this question initially : Marathon des Sables.
    Indeed, I think this event is very,very tough (I am acquainted with some one who did this - and this person is a very good amateur cyclist and he told me that MDS is tougher than the RAS :
    the RAS being Irelands premier cycling event).
     
  6. Styler

    Styler New Member

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    the fact is that amateurs compete in and do quite well in the marathon des sables. the same cannot be said about the tour de france.

    i've read about ultratriathlons, and get the impression that they're very tough too. however, i would have thought that the fitness and determination to win at a more competitive level (ironman for instance) would have to be higher than to win at a longer yet more specialised distance.
     
  7. Aztec

    Aztec New Member

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    I have never come across anything more painful or demanding than a single set of 20 rep full squats with a weight that has you seriously doubting whether you'll make 20 when you reach number 11 or so. Truly hardcore lifting is about as demanding and painful as the body can stand.

    And I just don't think we can compare intensity vs. duration. The total sum of pain/effort is surely higher in cycling, but many real lifters have a tough time sleeping the night before 20-rep squat day because of the anxiety associated with that intensity.

    So it's all apples to oranges.
     
  8. taras0000

    taras0000 New Member

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    I played Junior A hockey for a couple of years before taking cycling full time. Let me tell you, the practices that we had were insane. they were basically two hour interval sessions. Although it's not as hard as the racing that i've done, it damn hurt a lot more. the burn inthe legs was akin to doing a kilo. except over and over again. plus the full contact aspect hurts too. and you heat up under all that equipment. still the kilo is the most painful event i've done.
     
  9. Psycorower

    Psycorower New Member

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    I'd have to say that rowing is the most physically demanding sport in my opinion. I've rowed competitively for 5 years, training 2-3hours a day on the water and usually a couple of hours in the gym aswell. I switched to cycling becuase i did percieve it as slightly easier. It is still a brutal sport no question but in cycling i have found that only my legs and ass hurt and my breating and heart are going like crazy, I can focus on a part of my body that isn't hurting, like my arms or something. In rowing, EVERYTHING and i mean EVERYTHING hurts, and i don't just mean aching i mean proper hurting. Also as you are using your whole body, the pressor reflex is greater in rowing so your heart rate will be higher for a given work rate and the percieved effort is even greater.
    Cycling is a tough sport but after the past 5 years rowing, i feel like i'm on holiday.
    I'm sure people could find similar arguments for most other sports but i've tried a hell of a lot of them and in my humble opinion rowing is right up there.
     
  10. tomdavis80

    tomdavis80 New Member

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    Wow, I'm enjoying the wide variety of opinions regarding which sport is the most demanding. Of course, I did put in my two cents for boxing as something comparable to cycling, but it doesn't mean that it's gospel.

    Thomas Davis
     
  11. Budarz

    Budarz New Member

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    Reading through previous replies on this thread, the thing that strikes me immediately is that the question was not phrased in a specific enough manner.
    If "physically demanding" is to imply that the participant is undergoing irreversible brain damage and senseless pain, then I'll stand by boxing or some other violent sport as the answer.
    My guess, however, regarding the intent of the questioner is that "physically demanding" was meant to imply something like energetically taxing. How exhaused does it make you feel, and quite literally, how much power must the human body produce to perform the activity?
    If this is the question, it's simple to answer... find out in which sport the participant puts out the most power (Watts). I know off the top of my head that rowers and track kiloists put out very similar numbers in terms of Watts produced. A previous post by Psychorower claimed that rowing is much more painful than cycling in his experience. I don't doubt that. I do wonder if he's ever tried the cycling equivalent of child birth - the 1km time trial on the track.
    Lastly, since the human body can't sustain those high power levels for long, the duration of the activity is important to consider. Is it tougher to ride 5 hours at 250W or 10seconds at 1800W? The energy expenditure in Joules is calculated by taking power x time. Clearly the long ride takes more energy, but since the metablolic sources of energy are different in the two cases, one can easily recover from a relaxed 5 hour ride just by eating, whereas one must replenish not only sugars, but creatine phosphate, adrenaline and recover from nervous system fatigue from a 100% short-term sprint. According to research, this will actually take longer. Much more to be said, but other things to do.
    CHeers.
     
  12. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Boxing can be pretty demanding. You only have to watch some of the Ali vs Frazier fights to get some idea. I recall the time Smoking Joe failed to get out of his seat for the 15th and Ali collapsed as soon as he heard he had won the bout.


     
  13. shokhead12

    shokhead12 New Member

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    Moto X hands down.
     
  14. tomdavis80

    tomdavis80 New Member

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    I'm sorry, but I don't see how motocross can be as physically demanding as boxing, cycling, or even rowing can be? Sure, it's a tough sport with its own demands on the human body but is it so hard that when you go all out, you are liable to collapse on a couch in a short-term coma? I doubt it, the hard part is controlling the motorbike. If you want to differ and argue about it, be my guest but if you can't make a good argument about why motocross is that demanding, don't tell me or anyone in these cycling forums that it's the most demanding sport.

    Thomas Davis
     
  15. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    i dont think motorcross is the most physically demanding sport, but it is probally up there, above most sports.

    what could be more physically demanding than a 5hr hilly road race where you are on the rivet the entire time? (imagine a cat 3 in pro/1/2/3 race, where the guy is just barely strong enough to turn himself inside-out to stay in the pack)
    talk about being wasted.

    i suppose a new runner running a marathon would hurt a real lot.

    i would also nominate the 24 hr mtn bike racers who do it SOLO.
    that has got to be insanely hard (assumming you push yourself)
     
  16. Michuel

    Michuel New Member

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    Just got back from finish of Boat Race at boathouse at Chiswick Bridge (about 18mins). Mixed message, in the minor race preceding a number of rowers appeared to collapse in seats at finish, with others just gasping for breath. But in main event Cambridge crew packed with Olympic medallists looked comfortable, smiling. Oxford didn;t look so distressed tho I didn't see them close-up.
     
  17. SRA

    SRA New Member

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    For long term endurance, I believe it ranks in the top five.
     
  18. lancesutton

    lancesutton New Member

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    Speaking of personal experience:
    3 years of cross-country, mile and 2 mile in high school.
    3 years of rowing in college (Go Vikings!).
    15 years of cycling, including some amateur racing.

    Without a doubt, rowing is the most physically painful thing I have ever done for fun.

    Which is why I cycle now :).
     
  19. EoinC

    EoinC New Member

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    I actually found being a professional Gladiator quite demanding. Looking back at it, there was the physical aspect - some of that armour is quite heavy and the new lightweight titanium weaponry had not come in when I was fighting, back in the early days of the Empire - but the real killer was the stress. I mean, a job is a job, but, competing at the professional level, some days I just didn't want to get up and go to work.
    The crowds were always really nice, and that helps a lot, but, at the end of the season, you're just dead on your feet. You know, some of those lions can run bloody fast and you've no sooner chased one down than another one goes off the front.
    Back when I was an amateur, we all wanted to go to Europe, but, I'll tell you straight, the European Gladiator scene wasn't all sunshine and lollipops. In fact it was all a bit of a circus.

    Eoin (I-want-a-freewheel) C
     
  20. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I can't resist butting in here.

    I have a website that includes several features on Roman gladiators with lots of genuine pics (taken from mosaics). It tells you how gladiators actually trained and has been researched over quite a few months.

    Here is the link. If you try and retype it, be careful as a zero is used for 0catch.

    http://www.romancoins.0catch.com/

    Click on "features" and you'll find lots of info on Roman gladiators. Sadly, they had no road-bikes.



     
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