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  1. #1
    Senior Member ancker's Avatar
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    Did my first 'real' FTP test today...And...

    ....I'm slow.

    I did the FTP test from "Racing and Training with a Power Meter". Using their test and formula I ended up with an FTP of 196W. I weigh 150lbs/68kg which puts me at 2.88W/kg. I've been riding for around 2.5 years and 'training' for a little less than 2. I just got the powertap hub so this is my first look at real power numbers. For the sake of full disclosure, I'm 29 yrs old an am 5'7".

    I think is a little lower than reality. I did the test on a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer, so I was indoors. I also wasn't on my main bike, so the fit was slightly different than what I'm really used to. I was nice and fresh (2 days off) so I can't really blame it on fatigue. I think it's harder to sustain power for longer time periods indoors. You can see this in the graphs where my power starts to drift down about halfway through the 20minute TT interval, then I realize it and pick it back up 20W or so.

    I'll test again in a couple weeks on my main bike. I'm not sure if I can do it outside since there is still corn up that requires I slow at every intersection to look for cars, but we'll see.

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/212055999
    I can provide output from Golden Cheetah too if anyone is interested.

    I'd be curious if anyone has feedback, tips, pointers, heckling, laughter, etc.
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  2. #2
    going roundy round wanders's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancker View Post
    ....I'm slow.
    This implies you did a Functional Threshold Speed test.



    I also have a KK trainer. My power is 15% lower on it compared to outside. I weigh a little more than you so yours might not be that much but you should try to test outside for comparison.
    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron View Post
    Damn.

  3. #3
    Roadie brian416's Avatar
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    It's tough to tell without playing with the file in WKO+, but overall your pacing looks pretty good. Your outdoor FTP is likely higher, you're not acclimated to riding indoors this time of year, cooling and motivation are big issues indoors.

    The only thing that stands out to me is that you spin a low cadence

  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Never post your FTP in public. Only bad things come from this. Either its low and you'e weak, or it's high and your fat, or if it's high and your not fat, then your lack of results show that either your mentally weak, or tactically stupid

    No terminus of the chart comes out well.

    BTW, for me, I test out on the fat branch.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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    And to add another data point, my indoor LT tests tend to be better than my outdoor LT tests and similar or a little lower than outdoor uphill race results.

    Just use that number for training and retest soon and often. It takes practice to get the pacing and focus right for the testing.

    If you do any LT interval training, you'll know pretty soon if that number is way off. If 20 minute LT intervals are too easy, you've set your LT number too low. They should hurt and you should not want to do the 2nd one.

    I like indoor testing since it eliminates so many variables.
    ...

  6. #6
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    At just over your weight (158), same height (5'7"), I was about 10w higher than you (209?). That was the year I earned enough points to upgrade to Cat 2. I can't climb to save my life, nor can I TT, but I know tactics and I have good 20s power (approx 1100w on a good day, as I've figured out poring over power files).

    Spin more - you can tax your aerobic system more and shift to bigger gears towards the end. I find that I spin until I blow and then I push.

    In my best 20 min tests I've coasted or otherwise eased about 10 min in. After 10-20 seconds of going easy I manage to convince myself to keep going. Most of the time I fail to do that and I stop. I've completed maybe five 20 min FTP tests in 4 years and I probably started 30-40.

    On the other hand my best 20 min effort came in those tests. My best efforts under 5m came in races. My best 60m also came in a race. But the 20m test, that's a testing thing, I never go as hard in a race as I did in my 20 min tests.

    As a general rule I average 160-190w in most races. 200w and I am absolutely redlined. Most of my training is 140-160w avg. I've since downgraded to Cat 3 again and I can hold my own. In Cat 2 races I was usually in trouble except a big Cat 2 only race where I avg something like 170w until a crash on the last lap (Tour of Somerville). When I have to average 220w for any length of time I get shelled. Seems like 225w for 5 min is a max in a race, if it stays like that for 8-10 min I'm off the back.

    Don't let your current FTP test hold you back. There are other things you can do, other ways to enjoy the bike. FTP and w/kg limit time trialing and climbing respectively. I score poorly in both so I focus on mass start stuff like flatter crits. Look on YouTube for sprinterdellacasa to see what a 200-210w FTP can do for you (2010 was my best year, the year I earned the points to upgrade to Cat 2).

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian416 View Post
    It's tough to tell without playing with the file in WKO+, but overall your pacing looks pretty good. Your outdoor FTP is likely higher, you're not acclimated to riding indoors this time of year, cooling and motivation are big issues indoors.

    The only thing that stands out to me is that you spin a low cadence
    +1. You can create an account at trainingpeaks.com and upload the file, once you upload the file (by creating an exercise entry in calendar) you can see the peak power tab and it will tell you your CP30 or CP20 numbers, which is a result of the WKO+ software. It is always lower than the average rating I get from the test interval.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ancker View Post
    ....I'm slow.
    I ended up with an FTP of 196W. I weigh 150lbs/68kg which puts me at 2.88W/kg.
    Your post reminds of how important weight is in cycling. My FTP is 25-35% higher than yours but I weight almost 35 lbs more. So my PWR is lower than yours. What depresses me is that I was about to enjoy this forum while eating my favorite snack bar, now that I read this I won't

  9. #9
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Never post your FTP in public. Only bad things come from this. Either its low and you'e weak, or it's high and your fat, or if it's high and your not fat, then your lack of results show that either your mentally weak, or tactically stupid

    No terminus of the chart comes out well.
    FTP is serious biz! lol
    cat 1.

    blog

  10. #10
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    FTP is serious biz! lol
    Yeah, I don't much care how my FTP is interpreted by others unless there's a useful comment. I'm big and have low power this season -- no surprises there. <shrug>

  11. #11
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    Never post your FTP in public. Only bad things come from this. Either its low and you'e weak, or it's high and your fat, or if it's high and your not fat, then your lack of results show that either your mentally weak, or tactically stupid

    No terminus of the chart comes out well.

    BTW, for me, I test out on the fat branch.

    meh
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  12. #12
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I'm sitting here in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Village, and I 'm certain I out weigh the biggest of them by 50 lbs, 70 lbs or more for the climbers.

    It's that friggin denominator in the w/ kg formula that's the problem.
    Last edited by merlinextraligh; 08-19-12 at 07:17 AM.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  13. #13
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    meh, its just a number.
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    also, it doesn't matter what u weigh just chop off an arm!
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  15. #15
    bf is my facebook. ljrichar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancker View Post
    ....I'm slow.

    I just got the powertap hub so this is my first look at real power numbers.

    I did the test on a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer, so I was indoors.
    Same setup as you. I can't get close to my outdoor numbers inside. PE is way higher for the same effort. I wouldn't be surprised if you gain 20-40 watts. Find a loop somewhere with low traffic & minimal interruptions. I use a 4 lane road that has a median the whole way in a golf course community. I have to do a few turnarounds but no lights.

  16. #16
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    At just over your weight (158), same height (5'7"), I was about 10w higher than you (209?). That was the year I earned enough points to upgrade to Cat 2. I can't climb to save my life, nor can I TT, but I know tactics and I have good 20s power (approx 1100w on a good day, as I've figured out poring over power files).

    Spin more - you can tax your aerobic system more and shift to bigger gears towards the end. I find that I spin until I blow and then I push.

    In my best 20 min tests I've coasted or otherwise eased about 10 min in. After 10-20 seconds of going easy I manage to convince myself to keep going. Most of the time I fail to do that and I stop. I've completed maybe five 20 min FTP tests in 4 years and I probably started 30-40.

    On the other hand my best 20 min effort came in those tests. My best efforts under 5m came in races. My best 60m also came in a race. But the 20m test, that's a testing thing, I never go as hard in a race as I did in my 20 min tests.

    As a general rule I average 160-190w in most races. 200w and I am absolutely redlined. Most of my training is 140-160w avg. I've since downgraded to Cat 3 again and I can hold my own. In Cat 2 races I was usually in trouble except a big Cat 2 only race where I avg something like 170w until a crash on the last lap (Tour of Somerville). When I have to average 220w for any length of time I get shelled. Seems like 225w for 5 min is a max in a race, if it stays like that for 8-10 min I'm off the back.

    Don't let your current FTP test hold you back. There are other things you can do, other ways to enjoy the bike. FTP and w/kg limit time trialing and climbing respectively. I score poorly in both so I focus on mass start stuff like flatter crits. Look on YouTube for sprinterdellacasa to see what a 200-210w FTP can do for you (2010 was my best year, the year I earned the points to upgrade to Cat 2).
    Aki you are always so positive...
    Great post.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  17. #17
    Fast for a sloth miwoodar's Avatar
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    Adding a data point...My first successful 20 minute effort was 188 iirc. That was after a number of failed attempts wherein I was sure that it would land higher. In my case a pile of 2x20's (80-120 minutes per week) brought it up very quickly and i saw my first 300+ pretty soon thereafter. That was the spring of 2010 and it's still going up. These days though...adding a few meager watts is a major victory.

    My reps are maybe 10 watts lower on rollers and 30 lower on my fluid trainer btw. That's with fans and the room temp in the 50's.

  18. #18
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    In my best 20 min tests I've coasted or otherwise eased about 10 min in. After 10-20 seconds of going easy I manage to convince myself to keep going. Most of the time I fail to do that and I stop. I've completed maybe five 20 min FTP tests in 4 years and I probably started 30-40.
    You want to talk a little bit about pacing?

    The first five minutes of the 20 minute test should not be all out. Go a little bit easier that you really feel you should go. At about 5 minutes in you should push the pace to what you really feel like your 'test effort' should be. The middle 10 minutes is where it starts to hurt and you think about quitting. Think about something else. The last 5 minutes suck. Go harder than you feel like you can really hold. At 1 minute I start pushing the pedals pretty damned hard. I tell myself, "You can do anything for a minute". At about 20-30 seconds left I come out of the saddle and 'sprint'.

    Then I struggle to him my 'lap' button, swear and basically coast for the next 5 minutes or so.

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    Here are some ways to figure out if it was paced right: use your HR meter in tandem with your PM can help determine how well paced the effort was. Watch for big dips in power (even with 10s of smoothing) other than the usual surge right at the start and end. Also watch that your HR comes up to threshold by 3-4 minutes, and holds reasonably steady throughout that 10m. And if you had enough gas in the tank to really go way harder in that last minute, you probably didn't go out hard enough. If your normalized power is way different than your average power, there again you probably went too hard at some point, or eased up too much elsewhere.

    As you get better at pacing those efforts you'll find the average power will naturally ramp up as you get better at holding right around threshold.

    Also consider whether the 5m 'blowout' interval prior to the 20m interval is leaving you a bit worn out. Depending on your fitness it might make more sense to do a longer and slightly less intense warmup, with maybe a 5m threshold effort in there just to get you ready to suffer a bit.

  20. #20
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
    You want to talk a little bit about pacing?

    The first five minutes of the 20 minute test should not be all out. Go a little bit easier that you really feel you should go. At about 5 minutes in you should push the pace to what you really feel like your 'test effort' should be. The middle 10 minutes is where it starts to hurt and you think about quitting. Think about something else. The last 5 minutes suck. Go harder than you feel like you can really hold. At 1 minute I start pushing the pedals pretty damned hard. I tell myself, "You can do anything for a minute". At about 20-30 seconds left I come out of the saddle and 'sprint'.

    Then I struggle to him my 'lap' button, swear and basically coast for the next 5 minutes or so.
    This is pretty close to how I do it.

    I have a target number to shoot for. I will start riding slightly under the target for the first two minutes, then ramp up to the target. I try and keep my AP and NP numbers as close as possible. My HR should be within 5 points of my normal LTHR. At about the 15 minute point, I'm having trouble breathing and I want to quit. I tell myself "5 more minutes of this ****". With one minute to go I hit it for all it's worth and sprint at the end, just like Fat Boy. I also have trouble finding the button on the Garmin.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ancker's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the comments and advice. I'm hoping to retest in a week or two. I've got a road or two in mind that might work for the 20 minute part. I've heard of people doing a test on rollers instead of a trainer for indoors, but I can see myself falling off of them during the high intensity intervals.
    I'll definitely take it a little easier at the beginning of the 20 minute effort. I ramped it up to where I wanted my average power to be pretty quickly and struggled to hold it. After I recovered a bit and realized I was slowing down I was able to increase my wattage back to just under where I wanted for the last 10 minutes. It still hurt like hell, but I finished 'strong'.

    The 65 miles I rode the day after was a bit tough, seemed like it took forever to get the legs to warm up. TSS 225. Normalized power 164W.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ancker View Post
    ... I've got a road or two in mind that might work for the 20 minute part. I've heard of people doing a test on rollers instead of a trainer for indoors, but I can see myself falling off of them during the high intensity intervals.
    I'll definitely take it a little easier at the beginning of the 20 minute effort. I ramped it up to where I wanted my average power to be pretty quickly and struggled to hold it. After I recovered a bit and realized I was slowing down I was able to increase my wattage back to just under where I wanted for the last 10 minutes. It still hurt like hell, but I finished 'strong'.

    ....
    Overall, you will get better on the test once you've done a few. It's hard to get a repeatable test on the road (temp, wind, traffic, etc.). You might give it a try on the rollers, it works well for me. You really shouldn't be sprinting at any point, so rollers should be OK if you can keep control during intense suffering. I would recommend getting an industrial fan, not the $30 walmart model (cooling indoors is critical).

    On the pacing, I try to pick an exact target wattage for the entire 20 minutes and start there. I've gotten pretty good at picking the target based on recent ride/race numbers and considering my current state of fitness and rest. If I pick the target well, then I'm thinking there is no way I can finish when I'm 10 minutes in. If I can push through until 15, I can usually finish. I consider a test "perfect" when my HR is drifting up the last few minutes (at steady watts) and I am on the verge of blacking out and my leg mechanics start faltering (basically blowing up right at 20). If I didn't choose a good target, I'll pick up the pace the last couple minutes or sometimes I blow up early.

  23. #23
    Super Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
    You want to talk a little bit about pacing?

    The first five minutes of the 20 minute test should not be all out. Go a little bit easier that you really feel you should go. At about 5 minutes in you should push the pace to what you really feel like your 'test effort' should be. The middle 10 minutes is where it starts to hurt and you think about quitting. Think about something else. The last 5 minutes suck. Go harder than you feel like you can really hold. At 1 minute I start pushing the pedals pretty damned hard. I tell myself, "You can do anything for a minute". At about 20-30 seconds left I come out of the saddle and 'sprint'.

    Then I struggle to him my 'lap' button, swear and basically coast for the next 5 minutes or so.
    I have to save this so I can refer to it later. I have two problems with myself.

    1. I once did a 286w 20m effort so I think that's what I should be doing, at the very least. Same SRM, on the trainer, with big fan, etc. I try to go out to do something higher than 210 FTP (220 for 20min), usually in the 250w range. I'll have to start at 210w or so and work up from there.

    2. When I feel like quitting I usually quit. I really dislike pushing hard mentally, it's something I haven't been able to do for many years now. I guess it's why I race mass start races, the external push is much better than anything internal.

    I want to do a step up test on a friend's computrainer. I think that'll help, shorter efforts, minute at a time.

    I haven't done the 5 min before the test thing, too much mental stress.

  24. #24
    Senior Member ancker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    I haven't done the 5 min before the test thing, too much mental stress.
    I could be wrong, but I think the reason for that effort is to use up enough energy to make your 20 minute effort an accurate representation of a 60 minute effort (or FTP). If you just go out and warm up then do a 20 minute effort, you're only calculating a 20 minute effort, not using a 20 minute effort to estimate a 60 minute effort.
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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    I want to do a step up test on a friend's computrainer. I think that'll help, shorter efforts, minute at a time.
    I find step tests such as MAP on a trainer to be much harder. With a 20 minute test on the road, I get into the zone. It's a lot like a TT, just harder, and often shorter.

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