Purpose: Limited research has been done on the V˙O2 response to time trial exercise in the supramaximal domain or during free range exercise typical of competition. The present study was designed to measure and to model the V˙O2 response during supramaximal time trial exercise.
Methods: Well-trained cyclists (n = 9) performed a 1-min incremental exercise test to obtain maximal power output (PV˙O2max) and four cycle ergometer time trials of different distances (750, 1500, 2500, and 4000 m). Athletes were instructed to finish in as little time as possible. V˙O2 was measured breath-by-breath and modeled monoexponentially over the first 54 s (750 m) or 114 s (1500, 2500, and 4000 m) of the time trials.
Results: Mean PV˙O2max in the incremental test was 383 ± 28 W. Mean V˙O2max was 4.5 ± 0.2 L·min−1. All time trials were characterized by an initial burst in power output during the first 15 s (175 ± 23%, 149 ± 14%, 145 ± 14%, 139 ± 10% PV˙O2max) being largest for 750 m. Simultaneously, the mean response time was significantly smaller in 750 m compared with all other trials (18.8 ± 2.2, 20.9 ± 1.9, 20.8 ± 1.5, and 21.2 ± 2.2 s).
Conclusion: Near maximal values of V˙O2 can be reached within 2 min of strenuous exercise. The larger initial burst in power output in 750 m was accompanied by a faster V˙O2 response and seems to be of importance to trigger the aerobic system maximally.