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Pacing during a cross-country mountain bike mass-participation event according to race performance, experience, age and sex.Moss, Samantha L.; Francis, Ben; Calogiuri, Giovanna; Highton, Jamie M. (2018-12-15)This study describes pacing strategies adopted in an 86-km mass-participation cross-country marathon mountain bike race (the 'Birkebeinerrittet'). Absolute (km·h ) and relative speed (% average race speed) and speed coefficient of variation (%CV) in five race sections (15.1, 31.4, 52.3, 74.4 and 100% of total distance) were calculated for 8182 participants. Data were grouped and analysed according to race performance, age, sex and race experience. The highest average speed was observed in males (21.8 ± 3.7 km/h), 16-24 yr olds (23.0 ± 4.8 km/h) and those that had previously completed >4 Birkebeinerrittet races (22.5 ± 3.4 km/h). Independent of these factors, the fastest performers exhibited faster speeds across all race sections, whilst their relative speed was higher in early and late climbing sections (Cohen's d = 0.45-1.15) and slower in the final descending race section (d = 0.64-0.98). Similar trends were observed in the quicker age, sex and race experience groups, who tended to have a higher average speed in earlier race sections and a lower average speed during the final race section compared to slower groups. In all comparisons, faster groups also had a lower %CV for speed than slower groups (fastest %CV = 24.02%, slowest %CV = 32.03%), indicating a lower variation in speed across the race. Pacing in a cross-country mountain bike marathon is related to performance, age, sex and race experience. Better performance appears to be associated with higher relative speed during climbing sections, resulting in a more consistent overall race speed.