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FTP test on velodrome

Old 09-26-18, 04:08 AM
  #1  
bartek. 
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FTP test on velodrome

Hi,

as my track session has just begun, I wanted to set my Power Zones and would like to start with the FTP test on track. I read somewhere that track is not the best place to make the test but I have a power meter only on my track bike, so..;-)
Here is some questions that bother me and it's hard to find answers on the Internet.

a) what type of test suits better for a velodrome? 20 minutes or 2x8 minutes?
b) how to manage gear ratio? just pick the one that give you a stable pace at ~95rpm for what I consider is my FTP?
c) shall I go with the traditional warmup for FTP? 3x all-i-can intervals + 5 mins full effort before the proper test? Maybe I am wrong but doing this kind of warm up could be more exhausted on one gear than on road bike and can impact on the FTP results. or maybe shall I use rollers for the warm up?
d) what about nutrition? is it ok to make a short pit stop during 10 mins recovery after the 5 mins full effort to drink a water and supply an energy gel?
e) do you do the test on the sprinter's line?
f) i guess there is no answer for this, but is it better to go with the aerobars or dropbars? I believe I can produce better numbers while in time trial position but I guess using the FTP results for training on the dropbars can be not efficient?

Looking for some answers for more experienced riders,
thanks!
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Old 09-26-18, 05:02 AM
  #2  
Morelock
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That's a loaded post.

a.) on a velodrome you're going to have a tough time getting a good 20' test in. Your power spikes and dives as you enter / exit turns, so even pacing by power will be very difficult.
b.) again, your cadence isn't going to stick at 95rpm. It's going to go up and down as you go through the turns.
c.) do whatever warmup you will be able to repeat in all future tests. 2x8 or 20' with whatever protocol, they're just ballparks. If you're a sprinty type with a lot of anaerobic it's probably best to get that out of your system before the actual test.
d.) You don't need nutrition for a sub 1hr effort if you've got a good diet otherwise. But if you feel better with it, go for it.
e.) wherever you can make it around the track
f.) Test for whatever position you're going to be racing in

Can it be done - absolutely.
Honestly though, if you've been riding with power for any amount of time, you should have a pretty good idea what your zones are based off previous rides and races. I used to do a lot of FTP tests... what I found that as opposed to those numbers being indicative of how I'd do at different distances/efforts, all it really showed was that I was very good at a 20' test. (comparatively)
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Old 09-26-18, 07:32 AM
  #3  
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I think a lot of the answers to your question tie back to the purpose of knowing (/estimating) your FTP - so you can target different power zones (and energy production systems, and power-for-durations) in training, and track long term progress. So, whatever you do, you want it to be consistent to how you'll train in the future. Which is to say, your FTP in the aero position won't be super applicable to your FTP in drop bars or however else you'll train; do whatever protocol you'll want to repeat in the future.

[FWIW I stopped doing the specific warm-up protocol years ago; rather than estimating my FTP, my coach and i just use 20-min maximal effort as one of our indicators]

Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to do an FTP test on a velodrome, although I think I'd struggle a bit to lock in the ideal cadence (when I do 20-min tests on the road, I tend to start near 100 rpm but decrease to 85 or even 80 rpm, using bigger gears, as i fatigue). You might have to do a few test runs to see what gear is going to get you in the right range at your rough target power output.

Morelock is right about power/cadence variance in there, although that tends to be more applicable to shorter and steeper tracks, or tighter turns. A cigarshaped track will exacerbate this effect; a bowl-shaped one will reduce it. If you're doing this on a 250, then I'd suggest doing the effort not in the sprint lane but (presuming you're alone on the track) by riding the 'water line' - a line of equal height - going wide in the straights and down a bit in the turns. You'll see pursuiters do this (they call them Lucy Lines) by riding the black line in the turns and out to the sprint line in the straights. And you'll see experienced people in warmup riding out to the rail in the straights and to the stayer's line in the turns. It's also one of the best way to get a feel for a track, and to assess how smooth its transitions are. If the waterline isn't a nice oval, it's a wack track. But i'll still race there.
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Old 09-26-18, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for the answers guys, I really appreciate it. Indeed, I understand the problem with the test on velodrome due to turns. It's 250m track, with banking 42į, definitely not cigarshaped. I used to ride on it for couple of years now, so I definitely feel comfortable there and even if I obviously feel a difference at enter/exit turns, I used to handle it without loosing extra power, at least in my head, there is not much feeling here.

I asked about cadence as I simple see what I do e.g. at 4-16km Strava's flat segments that I use for trainings. I am rather quite consistence at cadence and keep about 95 rpm all the way (obviously with some +/-3rpm from time to time). However it's a bit different on track when you have just one gear (even if I don't really use shifting that much on the segments while riding my road bike).
I read that type of the test (20' vs 2x8') can also vary on disciplines that a rider is focused on. Such as CX, criterium vs triathlon, gravel etc. As I haven't done any test so far, I guess I will give a try both to see which suits me better.

As I race only on velodrome (endurance and pursuits) and fixed/road crits sometimes, I believe that problem with the test on velodrome is not that huge, as in real life scenerio. But again, I am quite new to the Power Academy, actually just want to start. So, apart from efficiency of trainings, during a race, the actual numbers for the velodrome FTP should be more accurate for crits/track endurance races than from the indoor trainer. Correct me if I am wrong here.

I definitely need to check out this water line. Haven't heard the name of it before but sounds like something I often do (if possible) without naming it. I believe this is what I described in the first sentence as "I used to handle it without loosing extra power..."

BTW. British Cycling Academy recommends 20 minutes warmup (https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/zu...TE_WARM_UP.pdf) that can be done on rollers and then follow with 30 minutes maximum effort and use average of the last 20 minutes as the value of FTP (reduced by 5%). Looks more optimistic, especially as you don't need to push that hard before the last 30 minutes but I guess all of them are more or less similar at the end

Last edited by bartek.; 09-26-18 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 09-26-18, 03:14 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
That's a loaded post.

a.) on a velodrome you're going to have a tough time getting a good 20' test in. Your power spikes and dives as you enter / exit turns, so even pacing by power will be very difficult.
b.) again, your cadence isn't going to stick at 95rpm. It's going to go up and down as you go through the turns.
But this is true on the road, too, depending on what road one is doing their 20' test. So I don' t think it's an issue at all.
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Old 09-26-18, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
But this is true on the road, too, depending on what road one is doing their 20' test. So I don' t think it's an issue at all.
This is very true. There is never a perfect test. Once you do several over a period of time you'll get a sense of your FTP and the pacing you need to get an accurate result. Don't overthink it, just do some tests. If they vary by several watts, that's fine. It's just a number to give you guidance for your various training zones.

Last edited by tobukog; 09-26-18 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 09-26-18, 04:38 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
But this is true on the road, too, depending on what road one is doing their 20' test. So I don' t think it's an issue at all.
Sure, again depending on what conditions you choose when you test... however the point of an FTP "test" is to try to remove as many variables as possible. That's why most are done on a trainer or a steady incline. Certainly you CAN do it on a mountain bike trail if you wanted... but why would you?
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Old 09-26-18, 05:54 PM
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So, I have done the test tonight (or rather just wanted to see how it works). First of all, I forgot to calibrate my power meter, so any numbers were not accurate for sure (I changed my chainring, it was a way warmer than yesterday etc.). Too bad I recalled about it in the last 10 mins or something. I believe I used too big gear too, as I was riding about 86-89rpm for the test and the problem was with my legs here definitely. Maybe I was a bit overtrained after yesterday. The most weird thing was with my HR as the maximum for the whole activity (warmup + 20 mins) I got only 158bpm and my average for the 20 mins was 142bpm. This is a way too low. I actually feel like my heart rhythm could go upper, however I couldn't maintain a higher cadence as I felt my legs empty. So, I believe I was overtrained and not recovered yet and/or I used too big gear for the test.

Last edited by bartek.; 09-26-18 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 09-26-18, 06:15 PM
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Did you use a PM or only go by HR?
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Old 09-26-18, 06:17 PM
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PowerMeter. I checked the HR stats after all.
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Old 09-26-18, 06:51 PM
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So were your power reading lower than expected as well? Maybe just take whatever the results were and set your zones, do your structured workouts based on those zones and see if the harder workouts feel too easy.

For an FTP test I donít think your cadence is too low, but itís definitely too low for track racing. If you have access to a velodrome year round and thatís where the majority of your training is going to be i would probably just structure workouts based on speed and cadence, especially if itís an indoor velo where you donít have to worry about wind, temp, and all those other annoying variables. You probably donít even need the power data if thatís the case.
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Old 09-26-18, 07:03 PM
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It's definitely numbers that I couldn't expect. Even a day before the test I got higher numbers for power just for riding on the track and could push easily my heart rate to 180bpm and more. Also the cadence was low for me. It was my first try of the test, not well prepared, but I wanted to use it as a test ride to see how it goes and what gear to select.

And yes, I train on indoor velodrome but most races are on outdoor velodromes unfortunately.

I will try next one on better selected gear ratio and with more freshness in my legs
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Old 09-26-18, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bartek. View Post
It's definitely numbers that I couldn't expect. Even a day before the test I got higher numbers for power just for riding on the track and could push easily my heart rate to 180bpm and more. Also the cadence was low for me. It was my first try of the test, not well prepared, but I wanted to use it as a test ride to see how it goes and what gear to select.

And yes, I train on indoor velodrome but most races are on outdoor velodromes unfortunately.

I will try next one on better selected gear ratio and with more freshness in my legs
Yeah i would wait a few days and just take it easy and spin around, then re-test when you are fresh
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Old 09-26-18, 11:24 PM
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What PM are you using and did you note the zero offset value when you finished?

With the SRM, once the data is uploaded, pretty sure you can manually update the zero offset to correct the data...
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Old 09-27-18, 06:40 AM
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If you've never done a 20-min test, don't be surprised if your numbers are low. 20 min. tests are hard. It takes practice to become good at them.
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Old 09-27-18, 09:29 AM
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I do two 8 minute sessions for that very reason. It is hard to get a 20 minute effort right.
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Old 09-27-18, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
Sure, again depending on what conditions you choose when you test... however the point of an FTP "test" is to try to remove as many variables as possible. That's why most are done on a trainer or a steady incline. Certainly you CAN do it on a mountain bike trail if you wanted... but why would you?
No, not really: it's to put out the most power you can over 20 min. No one rides Xw for the 20' straight. Most people pace it such that you start out easier than you finish.

An FTP test is used to set your training zones. It doesn't require "remov[ing] as many variables as possible." Back when I was a Cat 1 roadie, we did blood lactate testing, in a park that is mostly flat but the power still fluctuates because of...y'know...reality.
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Old 09-27-18, 11:29 AM
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Also...DO A RAMP TEST rather than a 20' test. Like Topflightpro said: 20min tests are HARD and take practice.
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Old 09-27-18, 11:45 AM
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Variables are very important in testing ftp... lots of things can drastically alter your results that if you don't account for can throw off your test results from time to time. But I still think it's a pretty pointless test if you've got training and race data to look at.

Last edited by Morelock; 09-27-18 at 12:03 PM.
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