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First FTP test

chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
...using my new Elite Drivo and Zwift

I did the short version. This consisted of:

5 mins warm up at 90W, then
2 mins at each of three progressively higher powers up to 220 (at which point I was nearly dead), then, thank fark:
6 mins at 90W, then
20 mins for the test itself.

I managed to keep my HR at about 153 for the 20 mins, at an average power of 150. At the end it told me that my FTP was 143W.

This was pretty close, I reckon, to the max I could have done, as I felt pretty bad at the end for a few minutes - faint, and a bit nauseous.

So, some questions - I already knew I was Captain Slowmo McSlow, but is 143 really as censored as it seems? Is it likely to be anywhere near accurate measured that way?

For reference, I tend to average 14-15 mph over rides from 15-45 miles when I'm out and about, and I weigh about 165 pounds (74 kg).

Thoughts? Do I just need to pedal harder for longer? At 55, how much might I be able to improve?
Is the gorilla tired yet?
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  • jollygiantjollygiant Posts: 117
    If you go to Watopia and do the long side of the Mountain inc radio tower and back down the same way, then end the ride when you get back to the tunnel under the sea. Go as hard as you can both up and down, you may well beaten your FTP score and it will tell you, you have a new FTP when you finish your ride.

    But even if it doesn't its good threshold work out!
  • there's no easy way of saying this... It's not good . Sorry. But you have your FTP. Now go away and do plenty of 2*20 at 150 watts then retest in 2 months. Good luck
    . Lots of room for improvement.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    ...using my new Elite Drivo and Zwift

    I did the short version. This consisted of:

    5 mins warm up at 90W, then
    2 mins at each of three progressively higher powers up to 220 (at which point I was nearly dead), then, thank fark:
    6 mins at 90W, then
    20 mins for the test itself.

    I managed to keep my HR at about 153 for the 20 mins, at an average power of 150. At the end it told me that my FTP was 143W.

    This was pretty close, I reckon, to the max I could have done, as I felt pretty bad at the end for a few minutes - faint, and a bit nauseous.

    So, some questions - I already knew I was Captain Slowmo McSlow, but is 143 really as censored as it seems? Is it likely to be anywhere near accurate measured that way?

    For reference, I tend to average 14-15 mph over rides from 15-45 miles when I'm out and about, and I weigh about 165 pounds (74 kg).

    Thoughts? Do I just need to pedal harder for longer? At 55, how much might I be able to improve?

    Ditch Zwift and get on Sufferfest. Do the Full Frontal 4DP test and it will identify your weaknesses. Select the recommended program for your weaknesses and follow it. With 4DP, it sets the program workouts at your identified levels as opposed to Zwift's one size fits all.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • jollygiant wrote:
    If you go to Watopia and do the long side of the Mountain inc radio tower and back down the same way, then end the ride when you get back to the tunnel under the sea. Go as hard as you can both up and down, you may well beaten your FTP score and it will tell you, you have a new FTP when you finish your ride.

    But even if it doesn't its good threshold work out!

    Whut
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • Lots of advice being tossed out but little understanding.

    ~2W/kg is not going to win any bike races of note but it's not "censored ". It is what it is and is probably better than what the vast majority of the general population would manage if asked to do a test. I can't really comment on the validity of the data measurement. Depending on your goals and condition, such tests may well be unnecessary or ill advised.

    As to what *you* should be doing, well that's not something anyone here can discuss specifically for you because that requires a lot more detail beyond the scope of a public forum, so let's stick to general advice.
  • Your result might be skewed if you are new to turbo training, like I was back in January, not used to the heat compared to riding outside. I was feeling like I was giving it full beans, but my heart rate was way lower than hard rides outdoors.

    My first result was 218W iirc, but after a few free rides to the radio tower where I pushed myself and Zwift analysed my 20+ minutes workouts, my estimated FTP increased to 266W.
    ================
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  • tonysjtonysj Posts: 354
    ...using my new Elite Drivo and Zwift

    I did the short version. This consisted of:

    5 mins warm up at 90W, then
    2 mins at each of three progressively higher powers up to 220 (at which point I was nearly dead), then, thank fark:
    6 mins at 90W, then
    20 mins for the test itself.

    I managed to keep my HR at about 153 for the 20 mins, at an average power of 150. At the end it told me that my FTP was 143W.

    This was pretty close, I reckon, to the max I could have done, as I felt pretty bad at the end for a few minutes - faint, and a bit nauseous.

    So, some questions - I already knew I was Captain Slowmo McSlow, but is 143 really as censored as it seems? Is it likely to be anywhere near accurate measured that way?

    For reference, I tend to average 14-15 mph over rides from 15-45 miles when I'm out and about, and I weigh about 165 pounds (74 kg).

    Thoughts? Do I just need to pedal harder for longer? At 55, how much might I be able to improve?

    Comparison of what you could aim for;
    I'm 55 yrs, 78kg, 5'10" Very similar to yourself in that respect.
    Been cycling for 16 months.

    I've only ever done a FTP 3 times in the past 4 months, mainly because I had a go at Trainer Road on a free monthly so did The 1st FTP on 7th December was 243W for the 20 minutes over a 40 minute warm up FTP and cool down.

    The 2nd FTP on 14th Decmber was 248W for 20 minutes. The reason for doing the 2nd so soon was I felt I didn't push hard enough the 1st time out having read to NOT go out too hard in the first 5 minutes and blow out!

    The 3rd FTP on 19th January I blew out was coming down with a bad cold a few days later..

    The last one was on the 11th February was 256W for 20 minutes.

    I don't class myself as anything other than a casual/recreational cyclist, although I'm retired now which helps, but do like to push myself. Strava is great for this and I also have a garmin edge with heart rate cadence monitors so analyse the ride afterwards.

    Generally average 16 to 17 mph on most rides depending on distance I cover.

    Your FTP of 143W is what it is but you've got great room to improve if you put the work in and train rather than ride wasted miles thinking they will help you get fitter. Get a training plan sorted and try it for 8 weeks or so.

    Set yourself some targets, mine are ride my first 100 miler, better my 40km time on any ride, its currently at 1hr 14mins and 6 seconds average at 20.1mph. Do a ride of 10k feet elevation. etc.
    My first ever Sportive type ride is next Saturday on the Velo29 York-Leeds-York 101km ride, I fancy the 154km but my mates wont do it!!.
    You will soon get better and feel it in your legs.
    Good luck.
    Tony.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    Thanks for the comments, all, I feel like I'm at the beginning of a long journey (where structured training is concerned), and pretty clueless. Still, gotta start somewhere. Thanks again :)
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • Thanks for the comments, all, I feel like I'm at the beginning of a long journey (where structured training is concerned), and pretty clueless. Still, gotta start somewhere. Thanks again :)
    Rather than worry about structure (as that can be a doubled edged sword depending on what you are trying to achieve and your individual characteristics and situation), focus on applying the basic principles that work, provided you are healthy:

    Riding more.
    That means increasing how much riding you do, but in a sustainable manner. It might mean only adding 10-15-min per week until you've run out of available riding time. For most people starting out, just doing that over a few months will reap quite decent gains in fitness. Keep the increase in riding volume relatively modest - trying to do too much, too soon, too hard is the #1 mistake people make when "training".

    Riding more frequently.
    If you do 2 rides/week now, make it 3, and so on until you can not add any more rides. Perhaps limit it to 6 days/week max and 4-5 per week is quite a good frequency to aim for for someone relatively new. Keep in mind the advice about how much extra to add per week.

    Consistency.
    This is probably #1 when it comes to longer term development and improvement. Every time you take time away from riding means a loss of fitness and restarting is often hard as you are constantly battling just to get back what you had before let alone improve.

    Recovery.
    If feeling overly tired/fatigued then rest. If you increase your riding loads at a steady sustainable rate such as suggested above, you may find you rarely need to take any specific recovery time.

    Food.
    Keep an eye on what you eat. Any changes in weight need to be gradual and be the result of sustainable habitual change. Avoid "diets".

    Sleep.
    Practice good sleep hygiene - there is much important recovery and rebuilding that goes on when we sleep, and inadequate sleep leads to fatigue, stress and susceptibility to illness.

    Intensity.
    This is what drives the physiological development but there's no need to be overly hung up on it in the early days. Depending on what sort of rides you do, it's quite probable that you'll be getting enough higher intensity in the mix just by riding more and the fact that being relatively unfit means rides are harder anyway. Hills will do the trick for most and you can begin to introduce more challenging routes into your routine once your basic fitness picks up. Sometimes riding with others will also do this, although it can be a bit of a mixed bag as many group rides are ill disciplined.

    Goals.
    Have something to aim for as this can help with motivation when you need it.

    Fun.
    Make sure that you are enjoying whatever it is that you do as a motivated rider will improve more and perform better than one who is getting bored or not enjoying the training/riding they are doing. There are many ways to achieve this and it'll be different for everyone. It can be riding with others, or riding certain routes, or using motivational aids when training indoors, or riding certain bikes.


    If you can be consistent in your riding over a number of months, then you may be ready to consider some more structure in your training. But if you are unable to demonstrate consistency, then more structure isn't going to help you. When ready there are specialists who can help make the most of your training time.
  • A first FTP test result is neither good nor bad. It is merely a starting point.

    Don't sweat it.
  • If your real FTP is 143W, then riding at 220W for 2 minutes just beforehand would have completely wrecked your test.

    Give it a couple of days and have another go, but with an easier warm-up.

    As context, if you can manage 14+mph average over 45 miles then that's pretty good. I can just about do that on the flat and my FTP is 206W.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,784
    Loads of good advice on here already.

    My personal experience last year, was a first test (Twin 8 minute version) of only 118, but as I didn't ride it well, and was out of shape, I believe a true value would have been around 140. I carried out the test using Trainerroad, and used it for the next 9 months or so, and in that time went up to an FTP of 229. The beauty with a low starting FTP is that you generally (If you stick to the training sessions) will see significant (percentage wise) gains, that you struggle to achieve when you are genuinely more powerful.

    Stick with it, at least for a block of training, say 8 weeks, and see how you come out the other side, I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised.
    My enjoyment of outdoor cycling, with that extra power in my legs, was noticable.

    I slacked off for the last 2 months of the year, and am now at 200, but retesting this weekend, and hoping to get back to 210ish this time around.
    I have several events planned for later in the year including, 10 & 25mile TT's, 6 minute hill climbs, a couple of centuries, and a Velodrome accreditation course starting only later this month, so have plenty to motivate myself for!

    You may be someone who needs events to help motivate you - I wasn't last year, as I was new to structured training, and that in itself was sufficient to motivate me, and see the numbers increase, but I think this year, as it will be marginal improvements, I will need those events to keep me focussed.
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  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    ... much awesome stuff snipped...
    Thanks Alex.

    The most relevant sections for me from your comments are riding more, and more frequently.

    I've had loads of minor injuries and illnesses over the last few months, so it's been a lot of time off the bike. Work pressure makes it virtually impossible to get out at lunchtime, so that makes it more difficult.

    Then the Beast from the East finally pushed me to getting the trainer, which I'd been considering for ages.

    So now I'm in the position of being able to do more short sessions, say half an hour, during the week, and as the evenings get lighter I should be able to get out more, or use the trainer if the weather's censored .

    Hopefully now in the position to get a bit more consistency.

    Presumably for short sessions, I should go for high intensity?
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,704
    I never quite managed to try a 20 min test... generally these Wattbikes are in well heated gyms, where as soon as I pedal north of 200 Watt I begin to sweat buckets and that prevents me from having a proper dig.
    Based on outdoor VAM measurements (1350 for 5 min, 1200 for 7 min, 1000 for 20 min, 940 for 60 min), I should be somewhere around or north of 250 Watt, 3.5 Watt/Kg or maybe just over.

    I can do 1 minute at 320 Watt no problem, before the drip from my chin becomes a river... I can even do 30 seconds at 400-420 Watt before gasping for (ideally fresh) air.

    I don't seem to be able to push as hard as I can on a real climb... I think I would do a lot better at 10-15 degrees with a fan.

    Having a decent climb on your door step is probably a more humane indicator of your FTP
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    Having a decent climb on your door step is probably a more humane indicator of your FTP
    I wish!!

    I've got Richmond Park 15 minutes away, or the Surrey hills an hour or so away. Not that I'm complaining, it's just no good for short high intensity stuff when time's short.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,704
    Having a decent climb on your door step is probably a more humane indicator of your FTP
    I wish!!

    I've got Richmond Park 15 minutes away, or the Surrey hills an hour or so away. Not that I'm complaining, it's just no good for short high intensity stuff when time's short.

    And yet, your best effort up Dark hill is probably as good an indicator as any number you crunch out of a watt bike. Some folks are good lab rats and others are not and will always struggle to deliver high numbers on a stationary bike.

    FTP is the trendy number, the one that has replaced average moving speed as a way to put riders in boxes. It's also a meaningless number in many ways... you are unlikely to ever be able to produce those watts for one hour, due to lack of opportunities (other than the Alpe d'Huez, can you think of any?).
    The advice given above is great, but don't get hung up on the number, like any number some are better at it than others, without being necessarily fitter or faster or better individuals.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    And yet, your best effort up Dark hill is probably as good an indicator as any number you crunch out of a watt bike.
    Well yes... I can imagine Broomfield (I go clockwise) repeats would be good too.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • marykamaryka Posts: 746
    Having a decent climb on your door step is probably a more humane indicator of your FTP
    I wish!!

    I've got Richmond Park 15 minutes away, or the Surrey hills an hour or so away. Not that I'm complaining, it's just no good for short high intensity stuff when time's short.
    On the contrary, I think Richmond Park is a great place to go when time is short. If I've got less than 2hrs to ride and the weather is good, that's where I go (obviously avoiding the rush hour traffic morning and evening, and anytime on the weekends between about 10am and 5pm). Various laps and loops in RP is where much of my training takes place and certainly where I've built a lot of fitness over the years. You have pretty much an infinite number of options there, from very short sprints to longer endurance rides (10 laps isn't as boring as you might think), all without traffic lights and in a fairly safe environment when it's not full of commuting cars or rubbernecking tourists.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 13,879
    Upper Richmond Road to the top of Dark Hill is about the best sustained effort I've found around there without a downhill, u turn or traffic lights. Decent test of fitness.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    maryka wrote:
    On the contrary, I think Richmond Park is a great place to go when time is short.... Various laps and loops .....You have pretty much an infinite number of options there...
    Don't get me wrong, I love the park. I've lived just over 2 miles from Richmond Gate nearly all my life, and in the last couple of years the vast majority of my riding has been there, as long rides haven't often been possible for a variety of reasons, mostly injury.

    If I have an hour it's one lap, 15 miles total (including there and back), and then if I have more time I might do a couple of Broomfield repeats, or extra laps add about 25 minutes (at current fitness level, yes, I know that's an eternity compared with some :cry: ). As you say, there's lots of variety.

    By short, I meant really short, like half an hour. Many of my evenings and weekends are committed these days, so if I'm going to take a half hour lunch break rather than eating at my desk (I work at home mostly), it's got to be shorts on, quick half hour ride, then back to my desk, and if I can slink off for a quick shower after that's a bonus!

    Hence the trainer.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,686
    Your results may or may not be accurate - they key thing is whether they are consistent.

    By comparison, I usually average around 18-19mph for 2 hour lumpy rides outside, but a recent test put my FTP at 121 - which I suspect is low. But, it doesn't really matter to me, as long as the readings are consistent and I can see improvement.
  • joe2008joe2008 Posts: 1,531
    maryka wrote:
    Having a decent climb on your door step is probably a more humane indicator of your FTP
    I wish!!

    I've got Richmond Park 15 minutes away, or the Surrey hills an hour or so away. Not that I'm complaining, it's just no good for short high intensity stuff when time's short.
    On the contrary, I think Richmond Park is a great place to go when time is short. If I've got less than 2hrs to ride and the weather is good, that's where I go (obviously avoiding the rush hour traffic morning and evening, and anytime on the weekends between about 10am and 5pm). Various laps and loops in RP is where much of my training takes place and certainly where I've built a lot of fitness over the years. You have pretty much an infinite number of options there, from very short sprints to longer endurance rides (10 laps isn't as boring as you might think), all without traffic lights and in a fairly safe environment when it's not full of commuting cars or rubbernecking tourists.

    Jeez, I think I'd be looking at golf :wink:
  • The most relevant sections for me from your comments are riding more, and more frequently.

    I've had loads of minor injuries and illnesses over the last few months, so it's been a lot of time off the bike. Work pressure makes it virtually impossible to get out at lunchtime, so that makes it more difficult.
    Cool. Just heed what I said about not attempting to do too much too hard too quickly. Else niggles, injuries and illness will more than likely return to interrupt you again. Consistency and *gradual* overload is exceptionally effective for longer term gains and sustainability.
    Presumably for short sessions, I should go for high intensity?
    It depends. I wouldn't be going mad to start with but it's not really possible to give specific advice on what *you* should do without detailed personal information. Given what you mention above about injuries/illness, jumping straight into HIT might be the worst thing you could do.

    You should be doing the intensity that is right for you at the time, is specific to your development needs and accounts for all the factors (like I mentioned earlier) impacting on your training. That may or may not involve high intensity efforts.
  • chrisaonabikechrisaonabike Posts: 1,912
    You should be doing the intensity that is right for you at the time, is specific to your development needs and accounts for all the factors (like I mentioned earlier) impacting on your training. That may or may not involve high intensity efforts.
    All noted, thanks!

    The injuries are basically tennis elbow (very specific cause last Sept, I won't bore you with the details but I'm confident it won't recur, at least not in the same way), and sore neck.

    Both of which are worse with extended rides - short ones aren't so much a problem. So high intensity (which for me means 20 minutes at 150 watts :oops: ) doesn't seem to be aggravating anything and fits in with my very limited time at the moment.

    I've mostly got the tennis elbow under control and it's finally improving.
    Is the gorilla tired yet?
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    The most relevant sections for me from your comments are riding more, and more frequently.

    I've had loads of minor injuries and illnesses over the last few months, so it's been a lot of time off the bike. Work pressure makes it virtually impossible to get out at lunchtime, so that makes it more difficult.
    Cool. Just heed what I said about not attempting to do too much too hard too quickly. Else niggles, injuries and illness will more than likely return to interrupt you again. Consistency and *gradual* overload is exceptionally effective for longer term gains and sustainability.
    Presumably for short sessions, I should go for high intensity?
    It depends. I wouldn't be going mad to start with but it's not really possible to give specific advice on what *you* should do without detailed personal information. Given what you mention above about injuries/illness, jumping straight into HIT might be the worst thing you could do.

    You should be doing the intensity that is right for you at the time, is specific to your development needs and accounts for all the factors (like I mentioned earlier) impacting on your training. That may or may not involve high intensity efforts.

    I bow to your obvious knowledge and role in this area Alex, but as the OP hasn't access to a personal coach, isn't the 4DP test going to help them identify their weaknesses and provide a structured program to help improve the areas of weakness?
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,704
    I was curious so early this morning I pressed the FTP button on the Wattbike.

    I didn't know what number to aim for, after all 20 minutes involves some kind of strategic approach. I decided to start at conservative at 200 Watt and then take it from there.
    After 3 minutes I went a bit higher, as I was already looking at the display thinking... fuxk me, another 17 minutes of this?
    At the half way point I was bored to death, considering whether to just head to the shower, dripping buckets of sweat on the machine... drying with a towel and getting soaked again within 30 seconds. I kept pedalling thinking maybe hthe second half would go quicker... it didn't
    I did manage to finish a lacklustre attempt, legs were fine, I wasn't out of breath or anything, no HR monitor, but I suspect around 120-130 or so towards the end... suggesting I could/should have pushed a bit harder, but I don't think I could without passing out in the heat (it's probably only 18 degrees in the gym, but it feels like 35).
    The display said FTP = 210 Watt... I suppose it's a starting point, I just need to drag it down two flights of stairs and out of the reception area, in the breeziest corner of the car park and I should be fine, right? :mrgreen:
  • ryan_w-2ryan_w-2 Posts: 1,162
    I’ve only ever done 4 FTP tests (been cycling since Sep 16).

    03 Dec 16 - 187w @ 107kg
    12 Jan 17 - 270w @ 105kg
    17 Sep 17 - 321w @ 91kg
    06 Feb 18 - 347w @ 86kg

    We all gotta start somewhere... Just stick to it and don’t let figures consume you, cycling’s meant to be fun!
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  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,784
    I was curious so early this morning I pressed the FTP button on the Wattbike.

    I didn't know what number to aim for, after all 20 minutes involves some kind of strategic approach. I decided to start at conservative at 200 Watt and then take it from there.
    After 3 minutes I went a bit higher, as I was already looking at the display thinking... fuxk me, another 17 minutes of this?
    At the half way point I was bored to death, considering whether to just head to the shower, dripping buckets of sweat on the machine... drying with a towel and getting soaked again within 30 seconds. I kept pedalling thinking maybe hthe second half would go quicker... it didn't

    I find the twin 8 test hard enough, which is why I am much looking forward to trying the TR Ramp test instead - average time spent on it from completed tests seems to be around the 18-20 minute mark.

    Even on the twin 8 I found myself simply having to count the pedal revolutions to get me through - hopefully with the ramp test, out and out pain will be limited to around 4-5 minutes all in.
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  • cookeeemonstercookeeemonster Posts: 1,976
    I was curious so early this morning I pressed the FTP button on the Wattbike.

    I didn't know what number to aim for, after all 20 minutes involves some kind of strategic approach. I decided to start at conservative at 200 Watt and then take it from there.
    After 3 minutes I went a bit higher, as I was already looking at the display thinking... fuxk me, another 17 minutes of this?
    At the half way point I was bored to death, considering whether to just head to the shower, dripping buckets of sweat on the machine... drying with a towel and getting soaked again within 30 seconds. I kept pedalling thinking maybe hthe second half would go quicker... it didn't
    I did manage to finish a lacklustre attempt, legs were fine, I wasn't out of breath or anything, no HR monitor, but I suspect around 120-130 or so towards the end... suggesting I could/should have pushed a bit harder, but I don't think I could without passing out in the heat (it's probably only 18 degrees in the gym, but it feels like 35).
    The display said FTP = 210 Watt... I suppose it's a starting point, I just need to drag it down two flights of stairs and out of the reception area, in the breeziest corner of the car park and I should be fine, right? :mrgreen:

    Buy a smart trainer/power meter and a big fan, stick in shed, sorted :)
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,686
    Ryan_W wrote:
    I’ve only ever done 4 FTP tests (been cycling since Sep 16).
    03 Dec 16 - 187w @ 107kg
    12 Jan 17 - 270w @ 105kg
    17 Sep 17 - 321w @ 91kg
    06 Feb 18 - 347w @ 86kg

    That shows some very rapid improvement.
    85% improvement to your FTP and losing 20% of your bodyweight at the same time - chapeau.
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