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Too Old to FTP?

Old 12-07-23, 02:17 PM
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Too Old to FTP?

Disclaimer: I already know a couple of things:

1. FTP is not a true measure of much
2. There are many who could care less about it - and I don’t blame them
3. There are people who cannot spell FTP

With that out of the way; I recently started a 20 minute ramp test, which I haven’t done for a (GASP) couple of years. I found that during the last part of the warm-up, I recall 175 Watts for 5 minutes, really got me huffing. The there was a spinning rest break before the real event started. When I was ten minutes into the test - pushing about 275 Watts with heart rate in the 170s, I started feeling twinges in my chest. Not pain, but unusual twinges. Since they did not go away, I stopped the test and bagged it.

Decided at that point there was no use risking my health trying to push for a higher number or to see if I had maintained my past number (228).

When I first got my KICKR two years ago, I went gonzo and would regularly wreck myself pushing high watts and trying to get ever higher watts on sprints. Then too, when pushing high watts, I would not only have twinges during the ride but for days afterward. I was so concerned I had an EKG which was normal. After the EKG I backed off and have not experienced the same sensations either indoors or out. Doing the FTP test was a reminder for me that it just wasn’t worth it.

Any similar experiences?
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Old 12-07-23, 02:22 PM
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20 minute ramp tests are all about pacing. That's one reason there are 8 minute tests, AI tests, and a variety of other formats. As long as you use one test consistently, you'll get a usable metric to guide your training.

With that said, if I was feeling something unusual with my HR during hard efforts, I'd be talking to my Doc ASAP. You don't want to be the guy who was in great shape til he wasn't.
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Old 12-07-23, 03:26 PM
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I pretty regularly push myself to the limit on the trainer, doing a full 20 min max sustainable power test every 3-6 weeks and am quite familiar with the chest twinges that you refer to. There can be many sources of those twinges - they can be rhythm disturbances, they can be intercostal muscle spasms, blockages in blood flow to the heart, and several other possible things. A standard 30 second ECG not under load will not pick up many disturbances that show up under only stress or sporadically. You can ask for a proper stress test, but do it with a cardiac group that understands athletes. Most labs will stop the test at power levels and/or heart rates that apply to only the general public, not fit cyclists. When I go in for a stress test (every year or two), I push myself to the absolute ragged limit (pre-arranged with my cardiologist) because I want there to be a better chance that any issue that primarily shows up under high workloads to appear during testing. Note that some medications can cause rhythm disturbances such as PVCs that feel nasty during workouts. I'm monitored pretty closely by a cardiologist because of electrical system damage from a prior bout of myocarditis, and I am used to all sorts of funky feelings in my chest. I did have a particularly nasty bout of PVCs that felt especially lousy during exercise that turned out to be caused by a medication I was taking, and resolved after discontinuing the med. You can also request a 24 or 48 holter monitor that is essentially a mobile ECG, which will pick things up that didn't happen to occur in a doctor's office visit. Best to consult directly with a cardiologist, and find one who either is an athlete, or works with athletes. Normal cardiologists just don't get it (why we do what we do).
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Old 12-07-23, 03:31 PM
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I detest tests of all kinds. Especially FTP tests.

I'm content with a submaximal, go out and ride as you want, machine learning techno babble estimation.

HRV4Training Pro has this feature. Do I care if it's super accurate? I do not, but it's useful (or at the least, entertaining) to see the changes over time.

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Old 12-07-23, 03:32 PM
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Did do a 24 HR holter monitor but did not use it on the trainer. Was concerned enough at the time to stay off it, but that would no doubt provide better readings. Thank you for your response.
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Old 12-07-23, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Did do a 24 HR holter monitor but did not use it on the trainer. Was concerned enough at the time to stay off it, but that would no doubt provide better readings.
Better than holter is the Zio long duration monitor. I had one of these on continuously for 10 days or so. The cardiologist said to go out and ride as hard as I wanted to -- basically a long stress test.
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Old 12-07-23, 03:40 PM
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I have no idea and I am not kidding one bit what FTP means..I was hoping it was not derogatory towards the Pope...I have no idea what watts are relating to cycling. When I first heard the term I thought people had rigged up some kind of pedal powered generator to run their lights.....I do know even being grossly overweight I can push along without feeling chest pains or twinges. I always figured if my heart rate got too high it would just let me know....I need to look into this sometimes...I know when I used to be serious about running and biking in the 80-s and 90's it was much simpler.
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Old 12-07-23, 05:01 PM
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All I can add is that I do push myself to the absolute limit on occasion and don’t experience any strange chest twinges. Not yet anyway at age 56 in a couple of weeks!
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Old 12-07-23, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
I always figured if my heart rate got too high it would just let me know...
Same here. I do monitor my HR during exercise, but I don’t set any limits. I push on until I can’t, but I would certainly stop if I felt something unusual going on in my chest.
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Old 12-07-23, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
I have no idea and I am not kidding one bit what FTP means..I was hoping it was not derogatory towards the Pope...I have no idea what watts are relating to cycling. When I first heard the term I thought people had rigged up some kind of pedal powered generator to run their lights.....I do know even being grossly overweight I can push along without feeling chest pains or twinges. I always figured if my heart rate got too high it would just let me know....I need to look into this sometimes...I know when I used to be serious about running and biking in the 80-s and 90's it was much simpler.
FTP stands for functional threshold power. Sometimes this is called one hour power but usually measured in 20 minute tests. It's the amount of power you can produce in a steady effort.

The power we produce is measured in watts. One horsepower is about 740 watts. Some track sprinters can produce over 3 horsepower, or 2500 watts, for a short time.
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Old 12-07-23, 10:30 PM
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In a Jethro Tull vein… Too old to FTP and too young to die-aye.

Thanks to all for the replies.
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Old 12-08-23, 04:58 AM
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If you're doing HIIT and trying to improve/maintain fitness, you're not too old for FTP tests. That said, I've quit tests because I just didn't have the juice that day, I think twice this year.
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Old 12-08-23, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by big john
FTP stands for functional threshold power. Sometimes this is called one hour power but usually measured in 20 minute tests. It's the amount of power you can produce in a steady effort.

The power we produce is measured in watts. One horsepower is about 740 watts. Some track sprinters can produce over 3 horsepower, or 2500 watts, for a short time.
sounds like it is beyond my means unless it can be done with no special equipment. I have a goal of doing 100 miles at 20mph in Oct I did 100 miles and was at 18.7mph, at the 50 mile mark I was 20.47mph and at the 75 mile mark I was 19.44 mph and at 86 miles I was 19.14 mph. so had a pretty dramatic drop off. this was solo would knowing watts really help or is just a nice to know type thing? I have cut back on my beer consumption the last month or so from 3 or 4 a day to 1 a day and actually dropped about 6 or 7 pounds so dressed to ride I am around 210lb right now and hoping to be 200 or so my spring when I ride this route again. I don't know why but really want to do it at 20mph average. realistic goal or not? sorry for hijacking.




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Old 12-08-23, 09:12 AM
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"unusual twinges" are not to be trifled with. I do still like pushing myself from time to time but I don't turn myself inside out like I used to. But I did have heartburn for the first time ever earlier this year. Thought it was a heart attack and was preparing to say goodbye to this cruel world. Thank god for Tums.
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Old 12-08-23, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
sounds like it is beyond my means unless it can be done with no special equipment. I have a goal of doing 100 miles at 20mph in Oct I did 100 miles and was at 18.7mph at the 50 mile mark I was 20.47mph and at the 75 mile mark I was 19.44 mph and at 86 miles I was 19.14 mph. so had a pretty dramatic drop off. this was solo would knowing watts really help or is just a nice to know type thing? I have cut back on my beer consumption the last month or so from 3 or 4 a day to 1 a day and actually dropped about 6 or 7 pounds so dressed to ride I am around 210lb right now and hoping to be 200 or so my spring when I ride this route again. I don't know why but really want to do it at 20mph average. realistic goal or not? sorry for hijacking.
Watts absolutely help.

Once you know your limits (FTP...), and you get a book of data from rides, you can easily plan out your efforts for long rides, training, group rides...

Speed is very variable - wind conditions, elevation, road conditions... it can be very difficult to base your effort off of feel and speed. Especially over the course of a century.

Watts are watts. If you can put out say 200w for 5 hours - you can stay dead on at those 200w. Without that data, you may smoke yourself going into the wind while trying to keep the speed in line.
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Old 12-08-23, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
sounds like it is beyond my means unless it can be done with no special equipment. I have a goal of doing 100 miles at 20mph in Oct I did 100 miles and was at 18.7mph at the 50 mile mark I was 20.47mph and at the 75 mile mark I was 19.44 mph and at 86 miles I was 19.14 mph. so had a pretty dramatic drop off. this was solo would knowing watts really help or is just a nice to know type thing?
The way to measure watts on the bike is with a power meter. Watts can be estimated various ways but the power meter gives the real time power.

You can use the numbers as a training tool. It can take the guesswork out of controlling your effort. If you know your ftp, or the amount of power you can sustain, this can help prevent going too hard or too easy. Some days you might not feel great but the power meter can tell you if you're putting out your normal watts. Or, you might feel like King Kong and blow yourself up in the first hour. Knowing and watching your power can help there, too.

What you're trying to do is basically a 100 mile time trial. A power meter might help but is certainly not necessary. I would never have the discipline to try that no matter what equipment I had. I do know guys who can train like that and have absolute dedication to whatever goal they set. It ain't me.
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Old 12-08-23, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
sounds like it is beyond my means unless it can be done with no special equipment...would knowing watts really help or is just a nice to know type thing?
jadmt,
Dude. With pulls like the above, you're killing it. *Maybe* knowing watts would help with the 20 mph goal by giving you insight into conserving energy for the last bit, who knows, but the casual mention of your FTP is sure to impress/depress us netizens.
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Old 12-08-23, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
jadmt,
Dude. With pulls like the above, you're killing it. *Maybe* knowing watts would help with the 20 mph goal by giving you insight into conserving energy for the last bit, who knows, but the casual mention of your FTP is sure to impress/depress us netizens.
my wife says I am an idiot she is probably right .
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Old 12-08-23, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
3. There are people who cannot spell FTP
I can spell it. But I had to google it to find a meaning other than file transfer protocol.
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Old 12-08-23, 12:13 PM
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Well …. You guys had me looking up “FTP.” To me, that’s always meant “file transfer protocol.”
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Old 12-08-23, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jon c.
I can spell it. But I had to google it to find a meaning other than file transfer protocol.
Originally Posted by Biker395
Well …. You guys had me looking up “FTP.” To me, that’s always meant “file transfer protocol.”
Showing our age? But I thought file transfer protocol was lower-case ftp.
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Old 12-08-23, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Showing our age? But I thought file transfer protocol was lower-case ftp.
I miss the days when hapless newscasters would say, "Visit our website at H T T P colon slash slash w w w dot..."

That was half the program right there.
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Old 12-08-23, 03:40 PM
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I never cared about FTP or watts even when I was a lot younger. Those things are irrelevant and unimportant.
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Old 12-08-23, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
I never cared about FTP or watts even when I was a lot younger. Those things are irrelevant and unimportant.
Irrelevant and unimportant -- to @wolfchild.

The same cannot be said of everyone.
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Old 12-08-23, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
I never cared about FTP or watts even when I was a lot younger. Those things are irrelevant and unimportant.
I agree and I don't track any of my riding or have any kind of computers on my bike. I'm 49.
That being said, tracking watts is the cyclist's equivalent of a musician's metronome - it keeps you honest.
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