A related paper from Foster and de Koning in the same issue looked at the effect of such hard breakaway efforts on subsequent time trialing and also your perception of exercise. In brief:
• Trained cyclists rode 2 10 km time trials (with additional familiarization trials). The first 4 km was controlled at a set pace for both trials.
• Cyclist had full feedback on power output, speed, and distance.
• One was a typical self-paced time trial effort from 4-10 km.
• One was a BURST condition, where at 4-5 km, the cyclists were told to hammer as hard as possible, with the idea of “breaking away,” followed by the final 5 km as a continued time trial.
The results highlight how physically and mentally taxing the effort of breaking away can be. In BURST, the 4-5 km power output was much higher (282 W) compared to CONTROL (240 W).
The BURST was in some senses a painful bust, however:
• After the BURST at 4-5 km, PO dropped from 282 down to 220W, remaining below CONTROL values until 9 km.
• Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were obviously much higher during the 1 km BURST (9 on a 10 point scale) than the rest of the BURST TT and also throughout the CONTROL TT.
• Interestingly, RPE increased steadily over the 10 km TT in both conditions. But despite similar RPEs except over that 1-km BURST, the lower PO in the BURST condition showed that the cyclists never recovered physically, and also struggled to recover mentally from that break effort.
• TT times were much faster for CONTROL (16:36 min) than BURST (17:00 min).