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Masters Racing (All Disciplines) Race on the track or road or on your mountainbike in the Masters Category? Want to talk tactics, strategy and training with your peers?

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Old 01-09-13, 08:05 PM   #1
DGlenday
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FTP Went DOWN ... What The ---

Had my FTP measured in October. The number wasn't very high, but it was a basis to work from.

I haven't been on the road as much as I'd like during the cold season, but I've done some very strenuous mountain hikes, ridden about 50 miles a week, and attended a tough weekly CompuTrainer class - which went well, and it looked as if my FTP had gone way up.

Had my FTP measured tonight, and expected at least a 10% gain ... but it went down by 2 watts!

WTF?!? As much as I'd like to find an excuse - there's no special reason for a poor performance, and I was feeling fine when I started. I just didn't do well, and I've no idea why!

I'll be riding a bit less this winter, though I'll still be doing tough mountain hikes, and will be doing another very tough CompuTrainer course each week.

I guess the questions are:
- Should I expect it to fluctuate like that?
- Does it matter?
- How important do you consider FTP to be?
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Old 01-09-13, 08:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
Had my FTP measured in October. The number wasn't very high, but it was a basis to work from.

I haven't been on the road as much as I'd like during the cold season, but I've done some very strenuous mountain hikes, ridden about 50 miles a week, and attended a tough weekly CompuTrainer class - which went well, and it looked as if my FTP had gone way up.

Had my FTP measured tonight, and expected at least a 10% gain ... but it went down by 2 watts!

WTF?!? As much as I'd like to find an excuse - there's no special reason for a poor performance, and I was feeling fine when I started. I just didn't do well, and I've no idea why!

I'll be riding a bit less this winter, though I'll still be doing tough mountain hikes, and will be doing another very tough CompuTrainer course each week.

I guess the questions are:
- Should I expect it to fluctuate like that?
My FTP can fluctuate by 60 watts over a season

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Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
- Does it matter?
No. Yes. Maybe. Depends. See below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
- How important do you consider FTP to be?
As a training tool it's a good number to work off of. If you're doing a lot of one hour time trials, bigger is better. Beyond that it's irrelevant for racing because in a race, it's not the number, it's when the number is. I know a lot of guys who can crank out 1600w sprints when they are fresh. They get in a break with me and after an hour they are lucky if they can break 800. Most races are won with the ability to recover from effort, and go again strong.

I work with guys who do 10k TT's. Their FTP is nothing to write home about but they can knock a 10k out of the park. If you want a big FTP then you train for one hour steady state rides. You won't win a lot of races but the guys will appreciate you towing them around.

There's a lot of variability to testing and training BTW. 2w is well within a margin of error.
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Old 01-10-13, 06:54 PM   #3
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Two watts is noise. We could lock you in a freezer for a week, thaw you out, test you again, and you could have a 2W difference. I suggest you read a little more about training with power. Beginning racers get fixated with the ewang. Don't do that. Try and keep everything in perspective. I have found that the best indicator of fitness is form. You'll know when you have it, and you'll know when it's starting to fade away. If you're on form, the absolute power isn't that important.

My FTP dropped 60W from September to November, and I didn't live like a sloth for those two months, either. In fact, I rode too much, which pushed my FTP down.
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Old 01-10-13, 07:32 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys - I was hoping for some perspective.

I actually feel at least as strong as when my FTP was measured in October - so although I can't help feeling bitterly disappointed, I won't let it bug me too much.

I'm doing a 60-miler on Saturday - and will use that as my own (subjective) measure of form.
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Old 01-10-13, 08:40 PM   #5
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I'd also point out that it's quite possible to not move FTP (what kind of test are you doing BTW?) but improve the degradation curve past FTP (60 minutes). In other words your 60 minute number may not improve, but your 90 minute number might.

So much of this depends on how you train, at what exertion and duration, and how you follow it up.
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Old 01-10-13, 10:07 PM   #6
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All I can do is echo what has already been said, and offer myself as an example of it. I've been training hard, and training smart. My FTP hasn't increased nearly as much as other areas of performance, and I would never worry about 2 watts in either direction.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:12 AM   #7
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...what kind of test are you doing BTW?
It's done on a CompuTrainer. This is a copy/paste from the results sent to me by my coach:

On a trainer, warm-up easy for 15 minutes;
Over the next 5 minutes, do five (5) hard 30-second efforts, followed by 30 seconds of soft-pedaling. The purpose of this drill is to open up the blood and oxygen flow and to increase the heart rate prior to the 20-minute effort, so dont go too hard. Push a wattage you think you can sustain for 10 to 20 minutes.
Pedal easy for 5-minutes and prepare yourself mentally for the 20-minute test, as its going to hurt!
Start the 20-minute test by selecting a wattage/intensity you think you can sustain for the full-20 minutes. The cardinal rule of time trialing applies here: dont start out too hard. Keep in mind that the best cyclists in the world can only sustain 400-500 watts over a 1-hour period of time, so if you find yourself starting out at 500 watts, you know you are likely going much too hard. Its best to start out easy for the first two minutes, and then build progressively to a wattage/intensity level you think can sustain.
Hold that level for the first 15 minutes, and then give it your best effort during the final five minutes. (If you find yourself fading in the last five minutes instead of holding steady or building, then you may have gone out too hard. Keep this in mind for your next test).
Take your average wattage for the 20-minute period of time and multiply by .95.
Your functional threshold power = 20-minute CP test x .95

The power and hear rate zones are calculated using percentages developed by Dr. Andrew Coggan
Heart rates are also taken every 5 minutes.

The results are distributed showing FTP, and the various power and heart rate zones.
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Old 01-11-13, 06:19 AM   #8
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That looks like it's right out of Carmichael. It might be a little conservative, but all tests should be viewed as relative to one another and not to anything else. In other words, stick to one test, compare results using the same test, and only compare your own results. If you performed each test the same way, I would say that your FTP has not changed. What did your coach say?
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Old 01-11-13, 09:21 AM   #9
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OP, leaving aside the technicalities, why did you expect a 10% gain on the basis of 50 miles per week and a computrainer class? I'd have thought that was a maintenance schedule at best.
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Old 01-11-13, 10:25 AM   #10
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OP, leaving aside the technicalities, why did you expect a 10% gain on the basis of 50 miles per week and a computrainer class? I'd have thought that was a maintenance schedule at best.
+1. A 10% gain is significant. Plus, we measure training in hours@effort level, not miles. Again, I would try and learn more about training with power first before setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
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Old 01-11-13, 10:37 AM   #11
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To add to RacerX's post you can also improve your short term power (15 seconds or 1 minute or 5 minutes) and not see a change in FTP. Or you can improve the time that you can ride at 90% of FTP while not changing FTP. It depends on how you train and that should depend on what you're training for.

Since you have a coach you should have gone over your goals with him and he (or she) had made a plan for you to help you meet them.
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Old 01-11-13, 11:19 AM   #12
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Shovel - That's more likely Friel; Carmichael requires two, eight minute TTs and takes the higher of the two results, multiplied by .90.

Last edited by revchuck; 01-11-13 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:17 PM   #13
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Couple of other comments:

Miles is a poor metric for tracking workload. I can do 50 miles in 5 hours or 50 miles in 1.5 hours depending on terrain. Duration is a much better metric.

On that subject there's no substitue for time. A really pinpointed program might have a trained athlete good for crits on 6 hours a week. That number can get some progress in a less trained person, but you better not be farting around at all.

Indoor training/testing needs to be do with a lot of ventilation, circulation, and cooling.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:33 PM   #14
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A really pinpointed program might have a trained athlete good for crits on 6 hours a week.
I wonder who that might be.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:49 PM   #15
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I wonder who that might be.
Ivan Dominguez.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:52 PM   #16
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Ivan is a Russian name.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:54 PM   #17
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Ivan is a Russian name.
You can tell when the Soviets stopped supporting Cuba by the names.
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Old 01-11-13, 01:39 PM   #18
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I have never supported Cuba.
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Old 01-11-13, 02:18 PM   #19
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I love Cuban food... and if you want a cigar, well...
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Old 01-11-13, 02:36 PM   #20
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I love me a Cuban sammich. You can keep the cigar. That was another time.
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Old 01-11-13, 02:42 PM   #21
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Haven't touched a cigar in a decade, as that no longer fits the nature of the choices I make. But if I did want a cigar, then...
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Old 01-11-13, 04:24 PM   #22
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Well a Cuban sandwich ain't exactly healthy either, but....
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Old 01-11-13, 04:34 PM   #23
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One of the reasons I ride is so that I can enjoy the occasional food blowout without paying for it... although that's also probably why I'm losing weight so slowly...
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Old 01-11-13, 05:26 PM   #24
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Old 01-13-13, 04:48 PM   #25
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OP, leaving aside the technicalities, why did you expect a 10% gain on the basis of 50 miles per week and a computrainer class? I'd have thought that was a maintenance schedule at best.
A few reasons:

- The first time I did an FTP test was also the first time I'd ever been on a trainer.
- Several people I ride with regularly had a higher FTP (measured in both Watts and Watts/Kg) than me - yet I have no problem keeping up with them on the road.
- During the fall session, in most of the exercises including intervals, ErgVideos, and various others, I was far stronger than my FTP would indicate.

So I didn't think the FTP I measured in October was reflective.

Anyway - I'm "over it" and will try it again at the end of summer, to see if there's been any significant improvement. By that time I'll have been cycling for 2 full years, will have far more miles under the belt, and hope to have competed in a few races. I've just started reading Friel, and between that and this sub-forum, am slowly educating myself.

Thanks again for the sage advice in this thread.
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