Objective: To investigate how experience and feedback influence pacing and performance during time trial cycling.
Design: Twenty-nine cyclists performed three 20 km cycling time trials using a Computrainer. The first two time trials (TT1 & TT2) were performed either i) without any performance feedback (n=10), ii) with accurate performance feedback (n=10) or, iii) with false feedback showing speed to be 5% greater than actual speed (n=9). All participants received full feedback during the third time trial (TT3) and their performance and pacing data was compared against TT2.
Results: Completion time, average power and average speed did not change among the false feedback group but their pacing strategy did change as indicated by a lower average cadence, 89.2(5.2) vs. 96.4(6.8) rpm, p<0.05, and higher power during the first 5 km (SMD=39, 36, 36, 27 and 27 W for 1–5 km respectively). Pacing changed among the blind feedback group indicated by a faster completion time, 35.9(3.1) vs. 36.8(4.4) min, p<0.05, and power increases during the final 5 km (SMD=14, 13, 18, 23 & 53 W for 16-20 km respectively). No performance or pacing changes were observed among the accurate feedback group.
Conclusions: Pacing is influenced by and interaction between feedback and previous experience. Conscious cognitive processes that lead to RPE and pacing appear to be influenced by previous experience.