Testing, Testing, FTP

I finally gathered up my courage today, placed my trainer in front of David Harmon, Sean Kelly and the 2013 Tour of Flanders, and did my first ever FTP Test.

Well, I guess I had done this before, but in the ‘old days’ before I had a power meter we used to call them Lactic Threshold Tests. Bet that brings back some memories, eh?

The test is done to determine your Functional Threshold Power, which is supposed to be the maximum average watts you can produce over a 60-min period. There are several ways to do this test, including of course, a 60-min time trial. Luckily nobody is that nuts on the internet and most sites recommend shorter efforts. What I chose was the same as Coach Rob had me do for the past 3 years – 20 minutes as hard as I could go without the lactic acid building up enough that my quads exploded.

As usual with these things, while I was in the middle of it I thought I was going to die at any moment, but right afterwards I ‘knew’ I could have gone harder.

The results are below, but the short story is that I had an average of 236 watts, which, after multiplying by .95 (to get your theoretical FTP over 60 min), comes out to and FTP of 224 watts. This, apart from telling me that I can power a window fan for an hour, is what will now determine the 7 power zones I train in once January hits, adjusted every so often since this number will presumably rise through the season.

One note I should add is that I think I could do better on the road. When I climbed Ventoux the other day my best 20 minutes was just under what I did today and I really wasn’t pushing very hard. I wonder if anyone else has found the same thing.

FTP TEST 1 – 2014 by gerrypat at Garmin Connect – Details.

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14 thoughts on “Testing, Testing, FTP

  1. I’m still waiting for my new bike with power (have to wait until after Christmas), so this is second hand information. A good cycling friend of mine that’s been training with power for years told me he always produces a higher number on the road compared to his indoor trainer.

  2. Do it on the road. I think HT is much harder to maintain high intensity for that long. On top of that, your other zone training will mostly be on the road, so they should be based on something as realistic as possible. Best is to use an even hill that takes 20+ mins to climb and preferably not to steep – 3-6% gradient.

    • Thanks, I’ll do that for the next one. I think I’m safe for the first month or so of the season, since I know it’ll be mostly indoors. Next one will be on the road. Nice long ride today, btw, Rich. Getting out some holiday aggression?

  3. Good that you did it, Rob! (I haven’t done one in a long time…) Perhaps next time the weather is conducive, do one outside on a climb. Numbers typically are higher on a climb.
    I’m off the bike by choice (2.5 weeks break after last race ended my season) and by necessity (intestinal issues–darn annoying b/c cause is unknown, but the good news is that I am at lowest weight, same as race weight at start of HRA, without doing exercise)

    • And I thought diet and exercise was the way to lose weight, especially over the holiday season. Hope you find out what’s causing your intestinal issues. Take care Jan.

  4. You may want to consider modifying your protocol as well. You really need to get the engine going a bit before you start the effort. From your ride it looks like you did some short efforts ahead of time, but what works best for me is:
    1) do a 20 min or more warmup where you stay around 60% of your threshold, so very easy.
    2) Then do a 5 min effort, where the first 4 mins you maintain your target threshold power, then in the fifth minute you raise it by 10% or more.
    3) Pedal easy for 5 mins,
    4) Start your 20 min effort.

    This gets the body primed to remove lactic acid before you start your effort.

    • I’ll do that next time, thanks. The 60 min I did was recommended someplace on the internet, but I wasn’t sure about the one-minute efforts (they called them ‘wind-ups’), so I probably didn’t go hard enough.

      Will readjust and try again in Feb.

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