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New rider: 3.6 FTP. Good or bad?

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New rider: 3.6 FTP. Good or bad?

Old 10-26-21, 11:54 PM
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New rider: 3.4 FTP. Good or bad?

All,

I知 relatively new to riding (been going back and forth between riding and running for some time now) and am an ex-collegiate cross country runner.

i値l get straight to the point.

Went to the gym today to do a max effort FTP test and went out a little hard. Ended up tapping out 13:47 into the 20 minutes as I do not have the muscular endurance yet to maintain said effort. Average power was 293.6 W. I currently stand 63 and weigh 180 pounds or 81.64 kilograms.

I haven稚 been doing much riding, maybe once a week on average totaling 15 miles a week. With an average of ~ 3.6 W/kg for just south of 14 minutes, does this indicate any kind of riding potential? I知 really intrigued and want to know if I can be good.

for the sake of background, I am a 4:19 miler, 9:02 two-miler and have a resting heart rate of 28 bpm (verified by a medical 24-hour holter monitor for premature ventricular contractions causing head-rushes and tunnel vision when standing).

any feedback (positive, that is) helps. Looking for any and all advice I can get to improve my stats. Thanks!

best,
collin
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Old 10-27-21, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by collinullrich
All,

I知 relatively new to riding (been going back and forth between riding and running for some time now) and am an ex-collegiate cross country runner.

i値l get straight to the point.

Went to the gym today to do a max effort FTP test and went out a little hard. Ended up tapping out 13:47 into the 20 minutes as I do not have the muscular endurance yet to maintain said effort. Average power was 293.6 W. I currently stand 63 and weigh 180 pounds or 81.64 kilograms.

I haven稚 been doing much riding, maybe once a week on average totaling 15 miles a week. With an average of ~ 3.6 W/kg for just south of 14 minutes, does this indicate any kind of riding potential? I知 really intrigued and want to know if I can be good.

for the sake of background, I am a 4:19 miler, 9:02 two-miler and have a resting heart rate of 28 bpm (verified by a medical 24-hour holter monitor for premature ventricular contractions causing head-rushes and tunnel vision when standing).

any feedback (positive, that is) helps. Looking for any and all advice I can get to improve my stats. Thanks!

best,
collin
81.6 Kg and VO2 max of 73 should get you into the low 400 watt FTP range or around 5 W/Kg. With training and skill development, you could make Cat 2 with ease and maybe Cat 1.

Once per week and 15 miles means you are untrained for cycling. Ride at least 5 days per week. Do two training blocks, your improvement will be steep
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Old 10-27-21, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by collinullrich
want to know if I can be good.

for the sake of background, I am a 4:19 miler, 9:02 two-miler
Yes.
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Old 10-27-21, 03:07 AM
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Intervals 2 or 3 times a week and 2 lower intensity rides. With you being an accomplished runner, I am guessing you have done running intervals. Same thing applies to cycling. They are, IMO, a bit easier to do on an indoor bike of some kind. I do not usually like riding indoors, but I found that doing the intervals makes it much less boring. I feel I have much better control over the time and effort of the intervals, and mentally can concentrate on the efforts much better without the environmental impact of doing them outdoors,
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Old 10-27-21, 05:11 AM
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Seems as if, since you've been riding for a year and still only up to 15 miles, you may have untapped potential. Thoughts on my potential in cycling? Wonder if it's more lack of interest than physical ability? Find some group rides and you won't have to ponder this for another year.
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Old 10-27-21, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Once per week and 15 miles means you are untrained for cycling. Ride at least 5 days per week. Do two training blocks, your improvement will be steep
Umm ... I'm not a trainer or a coach, so take my input for what it's worth, but: cycling is a sport with highly repetitive motion (like running), jumping into too much training volume too quickly can result in repetitive motion injuries. It is possible that your body (tendons, ligaments, core) needs time to adjust to the new stresses of the cycling motion. Certainly there are people who can do as GhostRider advises without any problems, but be aware and if you start to feel unusual pain (i.e. more than muscle soreness), then consider backing off for a while.
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Old 10-27-21, 06:25 AM
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You're off to a good start, but if you didn't complete the 20-minute test at 294w you don't have an FTP of 3.6 w/kg.

If you did, it would be .95 x 294w = 273w or 3.42 w/kg.

20 minutes is the standard, but there are eight-minute & ramp tests as well.

The drop off in what one can hold for 14:00 vs. 20:00 is significant, from my FTP tests I know that the first ten minutes isn't too bad, 10:00-15:00 is tough, and 15:00 to 20:00 is brutal.
I'm sure that I could hold well above my FTP for 14:00 but not last to 20:00.

FWIW I also have Xert's "What's my FTP" Connect IQ app on my Garmin, and that calculates an FTP based on shorter efforts, and is usually within a few watts of my "official" FTP based on a 20-min test.

Last edited by Dancing Skeleton; 10-27-21 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 10-27-21, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by noimagination
Umm ... I'm not a trainer or a coach, so take my input for what it's worth, but: cycling is a sport with highly repetitive motion (like running), jumping into too much training volume too quickly can result in repetitive motion injuries. It is possible that your body (tendons, ligaments, core) needs time to adjust to the new stresses of the cycling motion. Certainly there are people who can do as GhostRider advises without any problems, but be aware and if you start to feel unusual pain (i.e. more than muscle soreness), then consider backing off for a while.
Note that I did not say ride as hard as you can 5 days per week. I took for granted that someone with the running credentials has the basics of training down. He knows about recovery rides/runs, tempo rides/runs and intervals. He just needs to get out onto the bike.

Lasting only 13 minutes and only putting out 293 watts is pretty bad for his numbers but cycling uses different muscles and the recruitment pattern is different than running. IIRC, Lance did not break 2:30 hours in the Marathon despite training pretty hard for it. So, it is impossible to say how good the OP can become because he could clearly outrun Lance but on a bike right now, there are old cyclists on this forum who could drop him. He also has to figure out if he likes it.

OP's mention of Zwift was a good one but it does not develop any skills needed to race.
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Old 10-27-21, 07:06 AM
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I think Dancing Skeleton put it well. Definitely a very good starting point. Other thing to consider is the power accuracy of your gym machine. Some of them are very optimistic. If it was a Wattbike then it should be accurate.
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Old 10-27-21, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Dancing Skeleton
You're off to a good start, but if you didn't complete the 20-minute test at 294w you don't have an FTP of 3.6 w/kg.

If you did, it would be .95 x 294w = 273w or 3.42 w/kg.

20 minutes is the standard, but there are eight-minute & ramp tests as well.

The drop off in what one can hold for 14:00 vs. 20:00 is significant, from my FTP tests I know that the first ten minutes isn't too bad, 10:00-15:00 is tough, and 15:00 to 20:00 is brutal.
I'm sure that I could hold well above my FTP for 14:00 but not last to 20:00.

FWIW I also have Xert's "What's my FTP" Connect IQ app on my Garmin, and that calculates an FTP based on shorter efforts, and is usually within a few watts of my "official" FTP based on a 20-min test.
It uses 85% of a 5 minute effort power to estimate FTP, which is close for most. I did not find it to be all that accurate
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Old 10-27-21, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
It uses 85% of a 5 minute effort power to estimate FTP, which is close for most. I did not find it to be all that accurate
Me neither. For me 85% of my 5 min power would be nearly a 10% over-estimate of my FTP.
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Old 10-27-21, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Dancing Skeleton

The drop off in what one can hold for 14:00 vs. 20:00 is significant, from my FTP tests I know that the first ten minutes isn't too bad, 10:00-15:00 is tough, and 15:00 to 20:00 is brutal.
I'm sure that I could hold well above my FTP for 14:00 but not last to 20:00.
Nailed it. This is why power curves are useful.

My numbers are flatten out dramatically once I get beyond 20 minutes, but between 10min-20min there is a big difference.
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Old 10-27-21, 07:52 AM
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85% of my best 5 min power this year would be 286W which I know I can't possibly hold for a hour. That's how I would pace a 20 minute max power effort.

My guesstimated FTP which I use for training zones and pacing is 260-265W, closest to a 1hr test was a 246W average for 1hr 17 min over a route with some downhills and the like.

78-79% of 5 min max would be a good estimate for me.
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Old 10-27-21, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Me neither. For me 85% of my 5 min power would be nearly a 10% over-estimate of my FTP.
Mine has been as low as 82% and as high as 87.9%, depending on training

Alex Simmons has an interesting chart on his blog. Either OP's power meter is wonky as you suggested or he simply needs to train his legs, which is why I think is going on. Low efficiency. He needs miles.




https://4.bp.blogspot.com/

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Old 10-27-21, 08:50 AM
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Do you only want to ride if you have numbers that show you as good at riding or do you want to ride?

If you enjoy riding then ride, don't worry about your numbers other than to use them to track your progress and get clues on things you want to work on.

If you are asking if anything about your numbers show you as having the potential for being a pro level cyclist of superior ability, well that means nothing if you don't become a pro cyclist of superior ability. Regardless what the numbers say you can do.
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Old 10-27-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dancing Skeleton
You're off to a good start, but if you didn't complete the 20-minute test at 294w you don't have an FTP of 3.6 w/kg.

If you did, it would be .95 x 294w = 273w or 3.42 w/kg.

FWIW I also have Xert's "What's my FTP" Connect IQ app on my Garmin, and that calculates an FTP based on shorter efforts, and is usually within a few watts of my "official" FTP based on a 20-min test.
Originally Posted by GhostRider62
It uses 85% of a 5 minute effort power to estimate FTP, which is close for most. I did not find it to be all that accurate
95% of 20 minute effort doesn't appear to be close to 60 minute effort.
Neither does 85% of a 5 minute effort.


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Old 10-27-21, 09:48 AM
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Being able to self pace for a 20min FTP test is a tough skill.
Even if indoors under constant load, knowing what number to hit on the power meter requires knowledge of your prior performance and where you expect to be now.

At least early on, you might benefit from a Ramp test if your equipment supports it. With this form of test the indoor bike sets an ever increasing power level, and you just keep turning pedals until you can't any longer.
So no pacing experience required.
To give you some idea mine looks like this. (Note: mine won't work for you. It's for a lower power output/me !)

After several frustrating and failed 20min attempts I switched to the Ramp Test. This gave me usable and better yet, repeatable numbers.

All the best

Barry

If you want more details on my failures
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Old 10-27-21, 09:56 AM
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According to the above chart ^^^^ I am barely on the cusp of getting on the chart.

Any FTP test that means anything is not to be found on a piece of gym equipment. Gym equipment is specially designed to stroke the egos of the customer base.

I'd trust nothing unless it was 60 minutes. The rest is just guesses.

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Old 10-27-21, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
.
I'd trust nothing unless it was 60 minutes. The rest is just guesses.
No.

The relationship between X minute power and critical power or 1 hour FTP is pretty well known. Note how we're arguing several percentage points here. If your 5 minute maximum power is, say, 350W we can be very confident that it's between 250W and 300W.

Probabilities aren't just guessing.

Furthermore, 1hr tests are something people will, at best, rarely do (especially if required to do it on a trainer; I just can't imagine what could possibly motivate me to do that), so estimation based on recent best efforts is very valid and useful for setting training zones, as well as pacing. If you can't do your training based on these estimates or it destroys you when it shouldn't, now you know they were too optimistic 🤷
​​​

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Old 10-27-21, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Branko D
No.

Probabilities aren't just guessing.

Furthermore, 1hr tests are something people will, at best, rarely do (especially if required to do it on a trainer; I just can't imagine what could possibly motivate me to do that), so estimation based on recent best efforts is very valid and useful for setting training zones, as well as pacing. If you can't do your training based on these estimates or it destroys you when it shouldn't, now you know they were too optimistic 🤷
​​​
Probabilities are by definition educated guessing.

Furthermore, a "20 minute FTP test" isn't 20 minutes. From Training Peaks:

WARM UP

  • 20 minutes at endurance pace
  • 3ラ1 minute high cadence drills at 100 RPM w/ 1minute rest between each
  • 5 minutes at endurance pace

MAIN SET

  • 5 minute all out effort.
  • 10 minutes at endurance pace
  • 20 minute all out effort

COOL DOWN

  • 10-15 minutes easy

Let's see here...20+1+1+1+1+1+1+5+5+10+20=66 minutes, not including cool down.

The "20 minute" test takes longer than just hammering it out for an hour.

Any yahoo can go out & give it his all for 20 minutes for a good looking but worthless number It's the drop off after emptying out the energy stores that a proper 60 minute hammerfest or 66 minute "20 minute" test is getting at.

My actual 60 minute hammer till you puke is North of ~300 watts. My 20 minutes is unimpressive & gets less so as the times get shorter on the chart. So what? The actual 300 as measured is what matters.

My curve is pretty flat. Holdin' pretty steady at 3.5 w/kg at the 60 minute mark. Bangin' out 20 minutes on a piece of worn out uncalibrated gym equipment would never show that. How's your curve? A little steep on the left side much?

Last edited by base2; 10-27-21 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 10-27-21, 01:10 PM
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i smell a pissing contest in the making...
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Old 10-27-21, 01:43 PM
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I sent you a private message. My #1 advice is to move over to Slowtwitch for this conversation and ignore the Bikeforums troll factory. Despite the few good posts here and there. The signal/noise ratio is a bit lower over at Slowtwitch. Especially since a lot of talented runners are over there that moved into triathlon or bikes. You're at the beginning of a possibly fruitful journey, better to start it out over there than over here.
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Old 10-27-21, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
... better to start it out over there than over here.
+1, excellent advice.
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Old 10-27-21, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by F22c_legs
If you can't finish a 20min FTP test, then would a ramp ftp even be accurate?
On the occasions I did finish a 20min, I had too much left in the tank.
Performing a Ramp Test in ERG mode using a Wahoo Kickr Bike, gave me a fully repeatable number for me to judge my improvement. No pacing skills required.
Now was the number I received really an FTP and comparable with other people, I didn't care about accuracy as long as it was a precision measurement.

Barry

And before you ask...
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Old 10-27-21, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry2
Being able to self pace for a 20min FTP test is a tough skill.
Even if indoors under constant load, knowing what number to hit on the power meter requires knowledge of your prior performance and where you expect to be now.
Exactly. My official 20-minute tests were based on what took me to the edge while on Alpe du Zwift & the Innsbruck KOM climbs, as well as structured over/under workouts on Zwift.
I had an idea of what I could hold for 20 minutes, and although I faded slightly before the end I had enough to push for the last minute & hold steady.
My 20-minute power did not vary much.
Also, the number generated by Garmin & Zwift was very close to what the Xert CIQ app gave me, Xert was 2% higher, as it included some of the warm up phase.

The 20-minute number was pretty accurate for a one hour effort as well (over an hour).
I backed that up on a the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb race.
My effort of almost 1.2 hours with a significant portion at over 5,000 feet was at 92% of my FTP.
There is no let up on that climb, it's 7.4 miles at an average of 12%, nothing less than ~8%, nowhere to let off the gas.
I'm sure that if I had tried to go at 100% the whole ride, I would have cracked at the one-hour mark.
I have friends who have done so.

YMMV
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