First it was heart rate, later it evolved into power meters. The next step in improving cycling performance could be lactate monitors that would inform the cyclist in real time of the blood concentration of this substance whose excessive accumulation is mainly responsible for the drop in performance.

When muscles oxidize glycogen to obtain energy, lactactus is generated as a waste substance which, in turn, is recycled by the muscles to obtain more energy. If the intensity of pedaling is sustainable, the concentration of this substance remains stable since the muscles are capable of recycling lactate at the same rate as they generate it.

However, when the intensity increases above a certain point, the blood concentration of this substance shoots up and reaches a point where its accumulation represents a limit for muscular activity that forces the cyclist to relax the intensity.

That is why, for years, cyclists have undergone lactate tests to determine precisely at what intensity it was triggered.

A test that is somewhat laborious since it involves taking a blood sample, usually from the earlobe, quickly after making an effort to prevent the concentration from dropping and falsifying the measurement. A sample that is analyzed at the moment and through which the trainer can establish with complete precision the different levels of intensity, relating them, in the past to heart rate and, currently, to watts.

Now, a revolution is being proposed with several companies trying to develop a real-time lactate monitor similar to blood glucose meters that constantly inform the cyclist of this parameter, allowing them to precisely adjust their diet en route to avoid feared bird.

A device that, by the way, the UCI prohibits its use in competition, as was seen by cyclist Kristen Faulkner who lost her third place on the podium in the last Strade Bianche after using one of these meters during the race.

Perhaps this is the same problem that a lactate meter would have to face, although, of course, nothing would prevent the cyclist from using it in their training to adjust their intensity even more precisely than what is achieved using the meter. of power.

And, although watts are a tremendously accurate measurement of the effort the cyclist is making, physiologically the power applied does not always correspond to the body’s response to that effort.

Precisely, with the lactate meter, the cyclist could know in real time how his body responds to each effort, knowing exactly if that day he can maintain 10 W more on a climb or, on the contrary, that day he has to lower his expectations of their intervals.

Some renowned trainers such as Iñigo San Millán, Tadej Pogacar’s trainer, define lactation meters as “the most important revolution since the invention of heart rate monitors 40 years ago.”

In fact, there are cyclists who during their training stop to take lactate measurements precisely to achieve a better adjustment for that day’s session, as recognized by some such as AG2R cyclist Larry Warbasse.

In any case, we will still have to wait a while to have these meters that, as we said, several brands and laboratories are developing in the quest to take the cyclist’s training to a new level.