FTP Hour Trainer Test Done, Post-Ride Pacing Questions



RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

FTP Trainer Test Update:
Wed 18/07/12
FTP TEST (60 mins 239W Ave.)
Monday 10/09/12 (TODAY)
FTP Trainer Test - (60 mins 271W Ave. )
Wow! Awesome! Great work and thanks for the update./img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon14.gif
 

Rider123

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Jul 18, 2012
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Thanks guys,

A bit OT, but I have signed up for a road race in a couple of weeks. It's 75km but with a big hill (Ave. 7% for 5km).
My smallest gear is a 39x23 and I was wondering whether I would need a 25 or 28T at the back, considering my FTP.
I do prefer spinning at high cadences but I can grind if I have to.

I will be racing in Cat 4 so with my high watt/kg but low FTP, is my best chance to really nail the hill (it comes 40km before the finish though)?
 

Felt_Rider

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Oct 24, 2004
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Do you have anyone in your local social circle that may have one of those cassette ratios that you can try out before the race?

For instance I have two 11-28 cassettes that I am not using the third is on my training wheel. I have a 11-25 that I am not using.
So if you were in my area I would certainly let you borrow one of those to try out. The SRAM 11-28 has 22,25,28 so you could get the feel of the 25 and 28 with just trying the one cassette.

Just a thought. Never hurts to ask a cycling friend if they have a spare laying around. :)
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

Thanks guys,

A bit OT, but I have signed up for a road race in a couple of weeks. It's 75km but with a big hill (Ave. 7% for 5km).
My smallest gear is a 39x23 and I was wondering whether I would need a 25 or 28T at the back, considering my FTP.
I do prefer spinning at high cadences but I can grind if I have to.

I will be racing in Cat 4 so with my high watt/kg but low FTP, is my best chance to really nail the hill (it comes 40km before the finish though)?
The short answer is yes, try to find a cassette with a 26T-28T sprocket. You may want to try to find a 26 and a 28, depending on your rear derailleur. The 26T should work fine, but the 28T may pose a problem depending on your rear derailleur. I have several cassettes for this reason and if I were riding this event I would ride my 34/50 compact crank and my 13-26 cassette. As to taking advantage of your w/kg advantage on the climb, forget it unless you can ride the climb with a small group. If you were to get to the top of the climb alone, there's no way you are going to stay away to the finish. If, on the other hand, you can get to the top with 3-4 other strong climbers then you can work together after the climb and perhaps stay away to the finish. If you plan to get into racing and prefer to spin, I suggest going to a compact crank and buying 3-4 cassettes. You can swap a cassette very easily and with few tools and it gives you a lot of gearing options for multiple types of courses.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

Thanks guys,

A bit OT, but I have signed up for a road race in a couple of weeks. It's 75km but with a big hill (Ave. 7% for 5km).
My smallest gear is a 39x23 and I was wondering whether I would need a 25 or 28T at the back, considering my FTP.
I do prefer spinning at high cadences but I can grind if I have to.

I will be racing in Cat 4 so with my high watt/kg but low FTP, is my best chance to really nail the hill (it comes 40km before the finish though)?I
I'd go out and buy an 11-25 or 12-25 cassette before the race. If you're really going to hammer that hill and try to shatter things then you might not 'need' the 25 but it's a whole lot better to have it and not use it than to wish you had it, especially for someone that prefers to spin on hills.

FWIW, a 10 to 11 minute climb 40K before the finish of a Cat 4 road race is not likely to shatter things. You might get away but it's a very long distance for folks to chase and 3 km of 7% climbing isn't really long enough for a major selection unless a lot of like minded climbers really punch the hill hard and then they'd better be willing to work hard together to sustain any split for another hour or more. You'll almost certainly drop some folks but those aren't the folks you'll be most concerned about and it should take the snap out of a lot of folks legs but that's a long way from the finish to really decide things.

Your raw power isn't too shabby if you ride a smart race and don't tow folks around or ride at the front without a tactical purpose. And it sure makes sense to hit the hill hard and exploit your power to weight but don't expect the race to be decided there unless folks either roll hard and fast approaching the hill or if you and others can keep the pressure on after you top out the hill, especially if the hill leads to a plateau and not a long descent where folks can recover. IOW, stretch hills like that to force folks to dig for their FTP and sustained power and then you might see the elastic break.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

Thanks guys,

A bit OT, but I have signed up for a road race in a couple of weeks. It's 75km but with a big hill (Ave. 7% for 5km).
My smallest gear is a 39x23 and I was wondering whether I would need a 25 or 28T at the back, considering my FTP.
I do prefer spinning at high cadences but I can grind if I have to.

I will be racing in Cat 4 so with my high watt/kg but low FTP, is my best chance to really nail the hill (it comes 40km before the finish though)?
At 60kg and 4.5w/kg FTP you'll be OK on that hill on a 23 sprocket unless there's some really steep sections. For all I know it could have a last kilo of 14%... If it's an even-ish grade you should be fine.

That hill is a little early in the race to likely cause a race winning selection but it'll probably shell a fair few folk out the back. Smaller bunches tend to have less crashes... That said, it's not beyond the relms of possibility that if you nailed it hard on that climb shortly after the first increase in gradient. Due to your light weight you could get a little cagey and sit on the front and let the tempo drop a little going onto the climb and then accelerate from a lower speed rather than nailing the very start of the hill at Warp 10.

If you get away with a small bunch of guys then at the very worst it'll be fantastic training that'll teach you something about racing and maybe give you confidence. You might even win...

If you don't try you wont know.
 

Rider123

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Jul 18, 2012
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I think I will head to my LBS and pick up a 12-28T as I will be heading up to the mountains (~15 km @ 6%) with some friends during the Christmas break. May as well pick it up now, to use for the race as well.
With regards to going to a compact crank, I've got a Quarq so I think I will have to stick with my 53-39.

My tactics for the race will probably be to sit in for the first 2-3 kms of the climb. I've realised that a lot of people start off a climb too hard and fade near the end (I know I did that a lot before my PM). I'll put something in with ~2km to go if I'm not over VO2 Max Power levels. However, I'm not sure whether a sustained ride at say (330 Watts for the last 2Km at the front) would be better than a big kick to get away.

Personally, I would love to get away on the climb by myself and solo the last 30-40km.

Would I be any chance of doing that with a FTP of 270W or am I kidding myself against the bigger riders?
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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You'll need more than 270 watts to solo away to a win if it's flat for the last hour, especially if you only attack on the last 2km of the hill and if you end up riding solo. It's for that reason I think it's better to ride very hard, but not absolutely full gas, nearly all the way up the hill. At least there'll be a bunch of riders off the back and you might dump a bunch of guys that are trying to ride as a team, which will prevent team work in the finale...

I think you're wrong by a country mile on the gearing for the race and would be served well be having a closer ratio cassette - but then again, if you have the legs then the difference of a few rpm won't be a deal breaker. If you're pegged at a pace that you'd never faced before and need a one tooth change and all you have is two then it might be the gear change that locks your legs and kills your hopes and dreams for that race.

If this isn't a race that you targetted at the start of the season as an "A" race then you're overthinking it way too much. It's a race. A couple of hours on the bike. Start, ride near the front and watch, wait then ride...
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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If the other riders get organized, you have no chance of staying away at 270W. Your best shot is to pay attention to the other riders leading up to the climb and on the climb. See if you can recruit a small group of strong climbers to work together after you get to the top. You might even want to do most of the work on the climb to help solidify your team. The heavier riders will more than earn their keep when the road flattens out. If you can get a couple of others and share the work, then you will have a good chance of staying away. If you end up dragging along a slacker or two, don't worry about it because they will probably drop off the back before the finish.
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .
A bit OT, but I have signed up for a road race in a couple of weeks. It's 75km but with a big hill (Ave. 7% for 5km).
My smallest gear is a 39x23 and I was wondering whether I would need a 25 or 28T at the back, considering my FTP.
I do prefer spinning at high cadences but I can grind if I have to.
FWIW, when deciding how to set up my drivetrain for a target event, I always start with what I want for my smallest gear based on the climb or climbs of the course. You can use a tool such as AnalyticCycling.com to compute your estimated speed as a function of power, weight, wind, etc. I always focus first on the steepest sections of the course to determine my slowest speed for extended durations (ignoring anything less than a minute). Then I work back from that to estimate cadence at different gear combinations. I know from experience that I do much better if I can keep my cadence in the 85-95 range and definitely above 75, so I'm really looking for places where my cadence drops below 85. The reason I don't focus on the downhill sections is because I will probably be drafting there and it's a lot easier to spin >100RPM if the actual power is relatively low. So, even with a compact crank I'm not too concerned about high speeds on the downhill sections. If necessary, I can go to a 34/29. Normally I'd reserve that for a pure hillclimb event with grades > 6%.
 

Rider123

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Jul 18, 2012
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I think I will probably make do with my 11-23T on the back after taking a look at AnalyticCycling.com. Also, the climb is pretty much consistent at about 7% (7.5% for the first 2 km, 6.7% for the last 3km).

I was taking a look around on the internet after my FTP test and the general consensus is that anything over 4.5 watt/kg is pretty good(Cat 2/1 Territory).
How rare exactly is a FTP of over 4.5 watt/kg?

I'm just asking because I don't think I am anything special. Only been riding for 3 years now, but was a cross country runner before (PB was 17:20 for 5km on the back of maybe 1.5 years of training).
 

Felt_Rider

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Oct 24, 2004
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

I think I will probably make do with my 11-23T on the back after taking a look at AnalyticCycling.com. Also, the climb is pretty much consistent at about 7% (7.5% for the first 2 km, 6.7% for the last 3km).

I don't have race experience, but just thinking about it from a point of view that this is just one race out of hopefully many in the future. Each of these race experiences will chalk up to something learned and can be used as future reference. So sticking with what you have is not a bad choice if you go in with that perspective.

I lean more to what Dave mentioned. It is not a bad thing to have a different cassette in your inventory for this race and for future races that may have even more substantial climbs and from what he said the gear is available if you blow up or stall out going too hard on a climb and need an easier gear to spin up to the crest.

Either way you do seem as if you have the ability to make do with the 23T. I would be fairly comfortable on that climb with the 25T and I have a horrible watt/kg. Still nice to know that I have that 28 in case I get near blowing up from misjudging the climb. It happened to me a few weekends ago on a 2 mile climb and not only was I in the 28 a few times, my hand was reflexive in continually hitting the shifter as if there was another gear available. That climb has several short 15%+ sections.
 

Creatre

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Mar 11, 2010
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

I think I will probably make do with my 11-23T on the back after taking a look at AnalyticCycling.com. Also, the climb is pretty much consistent at about 7% (7.5% for the first 2 km, 6.7% for the last 3km).

I was taking a look around on the internet after my FTP test and the general consensus is that anything over 4.5 watt/kg is pretty good(Cat 2/1 Territory).
How rare exactly is a FTP of over 4.5 watt/kg?

I'm just asking because I don't think I am anything special. Only been riding for 3 years now, but was a cross country runner before (PB was 17:20 for 5km on the back of maybe 1.5 years of training).
In my experience 4.5w/kg is enough to win a Cat4 race, but is average in Cat3, and below average in Cat1/2. I have a 4.3w/kg FTP, and I got 3rd in a 8mile mountain top finish RR as a Cat4. I am usually in the second pack of big regional climbing/mountain races (~10-20th place) in Cat3. I would be way off the back in a Cat1/2 climbing/mountain race. You have seen very good gains, continue to work on that FTP and you won't have any trouble in the future hanging onto the big boys. But, as of now, it's not a super rare FTP.

I also used to think a 10-15min climb was not enough to split up the field, but it will devastate fields. Especially in Cat4. I would not be surprised if your field is down to groups of 5 or less by the top. Depending on the group organization, likely many of those groups will remain on their own even with 40k to the finish. I would not be surprised if a well organized group of 5 or so with you in it will be able to power over the top of that climb and stay away to the finish. Do NOT attack on that climb, it is suicide to think you will stay away solo. Follow wheels and CONSERVE, CONSERVE, CONSERVE. Follow attacks if you have to, but if you don't think he's going to get more than 5 or 10 seconds, stay with the bigger group, and let them bring him back. Save as much energy as possible, and then attack out of the smaller group in the last 5-10mins of the race, depending on what strategy you want to bring.
 

Rider123

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Jul 18, 2012
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Race Completed!

Was put in the Cat 4/Junior U17 bunch but I was technically only racing against the Cat 4's. There were only about 6 other Cat 4's that I had to worry about (15 U17's.)
First 26km was pretty flat and although I told myself to sit in under we hit the climb, adrenaline got the better of me and I did try to go with a couple of moves. Made the other Cat 4 riders in the bunch chase which was good.
We hit the climb and a couple of U17's went off the front. I followed and the other Cat 4's all went. About half-way in, I could see that there was only 1 other Cat 4 left, with maybe 4-5 U17's in our group. We were going hard up the hill, I was putting out ~300W for ~10-15 mins. As soon as I saw as the last Cat 4 rider dropped, I moved onto the front, drove it for the remaining 2-3km to the top. I knew I needed a decent gap and a group to latch onto as I was by far the lightest Cat 4 rider and was no chance of soloing 40km to the finish. At the top of the hill, there was an U17 maybe 500m ahead, and me driving a group of 3 other U17s with all Cat 4 riders behind us.

As soon as we got to the top, the other 3 U17's came around me and they descended the mountain like mad men. I know I'm not the best descender (triathlete), but jeez these guys were flying around the hair-pin bends.
Luckily for me, one of the U17 riders didn't quite make it to the front and so he waited for me to work together at the end of the 15km descent. We swapped turns and picked up a couple of dropped Cat 2-3 riders from previous bunches. We rolled turns for the last 15km and I was starting to hurt. Just kept looking back to make sure none of the other Cat 4's were catching up and doing my best to stay with the group. Lasted 12km before I blew up and rode the last 3 km by myself, anxiously looking over my shoulder.

Rode to the finish line and got the win! The end result was a 3-minute gap to the next 3 Cat 4 riders who battled it out in the sprint.
Great feeling!
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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Well done. You had a plan and you executed the plan. The key was getting to the top of the climb with some other strong riders to ride the last 40K with. You will really be able to exploit your W/kg advantage on a course with a climbing finish. For the flatter courses, you'll want to get good at finding partners to team up with.
 

Rider123

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Jul 18, 2012
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Thanks RapDaddyo,

Now that the final road race is done and dusted, I think I will need to review my upcoming plans.
I live in Australia so the criterium season is just around the corner. It goes for a good 5 months so I've got time to introduce some VO2MAx Intervals.
I've only focused exclusively on my FTP since getting my power meter ~2 months ago.

However, to make things interesting, I would also like to focus on the upcoming triathlon season (2 months away), which is really quite different to criteriums, in terms of intensity and duration.

I'm just wondering what the best way to structure my training is:

At the moment, I am cycling 4 sessions a week (+ my 3 swimming sessions); 1 group ride (3-4 hours), 1 long solo ride (usually long SST/Tempo) (2-3 hours) and 2 trainer rides (2 x 30 mins FTP Intervals).
Should I drop one of the FTP Intervals for a Vo2Max session to get my supra-threshold power up or is it still to early and am I better served continuing with my 2 FTP Interval sessions during the week trying to bump up FTP?
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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Originally Posted by Rider123 .

I'm just wondering what the best way to structure my training is:
At the moment, I am cycling 4 sessions a week (+ my 3 swimming sessions); 1 group ride (3-4 hours), 1 long solo ride (usually long SST/Tempo) (2-3 hours) and 2 trainer rides (2 x 30 mins FTP Intervals). Should I drop one of the FTP Intervals for a Vo2Max session to get my supra-threshold power up or is it still to early and am I better served continuing with my 2 FTP Interval sessions during the week trying to bump up FTP?
With this schedule, I would think you could get some good L5/L6 work on your weekly group ride. It's often difficult or impossible to get in solid L4 work on group rides because it's viewed as poor etiquette to stay on front for 10+ minutes (your group may be more tolerant but many aren't). However, I have found that staying on front for about 5 minutes is readily tolerated. If not, then you could do a mix of L4 and L5 on one of your two trainer rides. Something like a 5min warmup followed by 5min VO2MAX + 5min recovery + 20min L4 + 5min recovery + repeats as the session allows should do the trick. As you get closer to your target events, you can increase the VO2MAX efforts and also increase the intensity of the L4s at shorter durations. I always start with my weekly objectives defined as duration or TSS at level and then figure out what I will get from my group rides where I don't control the intensity. That tells me what I need to do on my solo or small group rides where I can control the intensity.
 

Rider123

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Jul 18, 2012
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I've been a bit hesistant to work on my Vo2max Intervals during Winter and I'm not sure whether I will start now, simply because I don't know whether it will be beneficial for me.

From what I've read, VO2MAX Intervals (3-8mins in length) are good for improving your 3-8 min power, useful in road races.
They are also good for improving your VO2 Ceiling, which is helpful if your FTP is stagnating. However, they aren't particularly useful for increasing FTP themselves.

So, as my current aim is to increase my FTP, which does not seem to be stagnating, then there is no real need to commence VO2MAX Intervals. Even in criterium races, the 3-8min power won't be that useful to me because selections in crits are more in the order of 30s (sprint) to 2 mins.

Please correct me if my thinking is wrong.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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You'll likely get differing opinions on the VO2 Max question but IMO if you're not running out of FTP headroom relative to say your 5 minute power, you're not stagnating on FTP progress, and you don't have events that will demand a lot of 3 to 8 minute VO2 Max efforts coming up in the next six to eight weeks then stick with the Threshold work and the base building (CTL) work.

There's a couple of downsides to introducing L5 work too early in your program, for one it's hard to generate as much session TSS during dedicated L5 sessions so unless you pad them with some easier work (if you have the energy to do so after a hard L5 session) then your CTL tends to sag. Another is there's only so much high end work most folks can tolerate in their training week so the L5 work typically comes at the expense of at least one if not more L4 sessions and IME push up work on FTP is more effective then pull up approaches based on a lot of L5 work. And maybe the biggest is that L5 work is very hard mentally and physically and over the years I've seen an awful lot of riders try to speed up their progress by swapping L4 work for L5 work only to totally fry themselves on training and hang up the bike for a while if not forever. Search the archives on these boards and you'll see that scenario play out again and again.

Yeah, VO2 Max work can be incredibly valuable and can be very important for racing or for raising your aerobic ceiling after a lot of FTP progress and then stagnation. But use it when most appropriate which IMO is either when you're running out of aerobic headroom (FTP too close to 5 minute power is a pretty good sign) or you'll need some more VO2 Max top end in upcoming events and want to do some work in that area as part of specific race prep.

That's my take on it, but I know plenty of folks that really love L5 work so you'll likely get some differing opinions.

-Dave