Friday, April 14, 2017

April FTP Test

Looking back at my TrainerRoad history it was November that I did my last FTP Test. Since then I have gone through the CX Training Plan and since the new year both of the Sweet Spot High Volume Base Plans. With hindsight I should have tested my FTP at the beginning of the year but I didn’t. Deep down inside I probably thought it was higher than I was riding at. I was coming off some long endurance months with Dirty Kanza in the Summer and my second Everesting in the Fall. Neither of these are ideal for working up to CX season where races last 45 minutes and you are in Zone 5 for most of it!

So in reality my FTP of 258 was too high through the Winter but I stuck with it through the Spring with the expectation that I would ride “up” to it during the base phases.

As I closed out the first 6 weeks of the Sweet Spot Plan Sweet Spot plan, TrainerRoad announced that they had revised the plans and had added more Sweet Spot rides that are shorter duration vs Endurance rides at the weekend. This didn’t really impact me as most of my weekend rides are outside, at least the Sunday one is. This is weather not withstanding and there have been a few weeks that the week has been sunny and the come the weekend it’s been raining. Not that I am a fair weather rider per se but I am all for making the best use of my time and 2 hours of quality on the trainer far outweighs 3 or even 4 hours in the rain!

So with all that said it was at the start of the next Phase; Build, specifically the Sustained Power Build plan that I sat down and geared up for a FTP test.

I have done enough of these to know what I need to do to make it as successful as possible. I was a couple of days past the Mulholland Challenge and I felt that I had recovered enough. I have a pretty stedy routine for days like this and the key to it to try and make sure every variable is accounted for; time of day, tire pressure, drivetrain cleaned, fluids and so on are all the same as the last time…or as close as I can get.

I use the TrainerRoad 20 Minute FTP test but I front it with my own designed warm up ride. This is simply a 15 minute ride with increasing power that is designed to get the legs spinning and get me, well…warmed up!

I completed my warm up and rode through the first 30 minutes of the test which is in itself a warm up. started the test. I break the actual test into 5 minute sections. I am pretty sure most people do this as thinking about the entire 20 minutes can be a bit overwhelming.

The target power, per TR was 265, I was aiming for 275 which was slightly over but based on recent rides I thought was achievable.

The first 5 minutes went well. I settled in nicely and was having no issues. In the second 5 minutes my only concern was my cadence which was up in the mid to high 90s, faster than I typically ride, I momentarily changed gear and my cadence dropped to 85 and my power shot up over 300 watts. I knew I wouldn’t able to hold that for the remainder of the ride and so I switched back. The net effect of fussing about with the gears was to unbalance the 5 minutes of target vs actual and so I was slightly down. The third 5 minutes is usually the trickiest. You’re past the halfway point and you’re counting down to the end but it’s such a long way to go. That said with the earlier fussing I focused my mind and cruised through. The final 5 minutes is a count down and during the last minute I dialed it up and increased the power. The last section of the ride is the cool down and this was something I needed. My HR had topped out at 170 which is high for me on the bike! 


The calculation post ride is almost instant and TrainerRoad spent no time in telling me I had increased my FTP 2 points up to 260. I was a little disappointed but the extra 1 or 2 points I was hoping for were no doubt lost during the second 5 minutes’ interval and in future I need to look at the gearing to find something that lets me sit at the 90 rpm cadence. There is always something for the future.

So with all that said my new FTP is the highest it’s ever been. I do think that I was correct in my assumption that I have ridden back up to the prior 258 during the last 8 weeks.

The next step on the plan is the Sustained Power Build, this is an eight week cycle. L’etape and BWR will land on weekends during but that’s the way the plans roll out and it can’t be helped.

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