In today’s Journal Club we’ll check out a fascinating new study that examines whether looking at too much feedback during a time trial makes you slower on the bike. Is it possible to improve your cycling performance by limiting the amount of data you focus on during a race? Let’s find out.

Bayne, F., et al., Less Is More—Cyclists-Triathlete’s 30 min Cycling Time-Trial Performance Is Impaired With Multiple Feedback Compared to a Single Feedback. Frontiers in Psychology, 2020. 11.

It’s hard to run into a cyclist these days who isn’t aware of their power output on the bike. Racing, training, fitness, there aren’t many cycling contexts that aren’t surrounded by numerous channels of data.

I’ve been thinking about the potential impact of all this extra data on the performance of the cyclists I work with for the past five years or so.

One strategy I’ve tried to use is to get cyclists to simplify the screens on their Garmin or Wahoo. I’ve written about that process in a recent post, as well as throughout our free Cycling Workout Guide. 

At any rate, my interest in simplifying data on the bike is the primary reason this new study caught my attention. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the basics of the study design. 

Study design

1. Evaluate how feedback impacts TT performance

Researchers compared how cyclists performed when exposed to different feedback scenarios during an indoor 30k TT

2. Participants rode with either one or seven channels of feedback

The single feedback condition included one stream of data. “Multiple feedback” included seven streams of cycling data.

3. Researchers noted that “single feedback” cyclists were faster than “multiple feedback” cyclists.

The “single feedback” group covered a greater distance during the 30k TT than the “multiple feedback” group.

Now that we have a basic overview of the study design, let’s jump in for further details.

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