My last FTP (Functional Threshold Power) Test was about 10 weeks ago and I wanted to align my training to the Garmin Vector Pedals. Up until now I have been keying off of the Stages Cycling PM but there is a difference of around 10-15% between them. The Vectors are always lower than the Stages but as the difference is consistent the absolute number didn’t matter. With that in mind the time was right to take a new test and see where I was. October has been tough month. I have been crazy busy and stressful at work and teetering on the edge of over training. I was getting a good sense of that just from the training, my legs wouldn’t spin up and the output was low compared to the effort going into it. I was also struggling to get my heart rate up. A had a solid rest week and with that behind me I teed up the FTP Test.
I used the TrainerRoad test as I prefer the format to the Sufferfest (Rubber Glove) Version and I added an extra 15 minutes/5 mile warm to the front of it. The test takes 20 minute and it has a long warm with a couple of spin ups to get your heart rate up.
I’ve done the FTP test many times now and I know that I need to break it down into 5 minutes chunks, I also know that I often fade during the third quarter. The Target was 237 Watts which with the Stages PM would have been an easy 250-260 Watts. The key is to not go out too fast, just build up steadily and hold it for the 20 minutes, unfortunately my third quarter fade got the better of me although it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past. The last quarter is a minute by minute play where I increase as much as I can until the clock runs out.
The result 230 Watts. This was actually a 3 Watt drop compared to the current setting of 233 Watts. So while this is a nominal step back in terms of an absolute number it's actually an increase of that 10-15% difference. Put another way if I had tested with the Stages my FTP would have gone from 233 to around 255.
The bottom line, the training is working, I am getting stronger and faster! That combined with my weight loss is increasing the my Watt/Kg to 3.2.