Originally Posted by FormerRower
I had pretty broad question that probably can't be answered specifically, but I wanted to see if there was a generally held consensus among those of you that frequent this board. I am a Cat 4 (and have been there for about two seasons), and I got serious this summer about training. I have been on the bike since May and picked up a powertap, and with a coach, managed to get my FTP to 362 watts at about 70kg (5.2 watts/kg). This brings me to my question (actually a couple of questions). Is there an easy way short of lactate and Vo2 max testing to determine what my physiological ceiling would be? I have a pretty good amount of data now from the last couple of months, so I am guessing there might be a way to extrapolate what a best possible FTP (give or take) would be.
Also - I usually can't get more than a couple of races in a summer, so I am having trouble accumulating enough upgrade points to move up. If I was able to count a couple of seasons I would have enough, but the USCF rules seem to limit the ability to count old seasons. Have any of you put in for an upgrade with not enough points, but were able to make the case that you should be in a higher category? Thanks!
Holy mother of God, 5.2w/kg as a cat4? Why haven't you moved up by now? Just get to the front, drill it, and drop the rest of the pack. They wouldn't even be able to draft you at that power.
As for determining your ceiling, you will probably never know until you've been doing serious training, consistently, for a few years. Don't believe in the numbers, too much. Mark Cavendish had mediocre testing (LT/VO2) numbers, but the British coaches gave him a shot. He won't win a TdF, but look at his success already.
As for upgrading early: yes. It's easy to do in the lower ranks. Part of the idea from upgrades, however, is that you are more than just physically strong, but you are tactically proficient. You need to develop pack handling skills, technique, and good tactics more than just brute strength.
Commit yourself to a few weekends of racing and focus on winning them. If your power numbers are correct, you should be able to drop everyone in the cat4's (and even cat3s) just by hammering it at the front.