FTP Test 2

This FTP Test was the culmination of 2.5 months of training (October 15th – December 30th). I started this build off with an FTP test on October 15th. I measured power with two devices: a CompuTrainer and a Quarq Cinco Saturn power meter. On October 15th I warmed up for 20 minutes (and ran the CompuTrainer calibration software) and then held the highest wattage I could possibly hold for 20 minutes straight, then cooled down for 10 minutes. According to the CompuTrainer I held 408w, and according to the Quarq I held 416w. Here is the graph of the data from the CompuTrainer, followed by the data from the Quarq:

CPT FTP 1 Data


Quarq FTP 1 Data

This time round I did the same procedure. I aired up both tires to 120 psi. I then warmed up for 20 minutes and during this time I ran the CompuTrainer calibration software. Last time I had the Rolling Resistance Calibration at 3.10. This time I had it at 2.94. One change I made this time was that I also calibrated the Quarq (following the manufacturer’s procedure). Additionally, I measured heart rate and cadence via the Quarq this time.

Admittedly, I was unsure how I would fare. As mentioned in a previous post, I have been recuperating from a minor injury in my right knee. It was starting to feel a bit better on Saturday, so I decided to go through with the test. On Wednesday I was seriously considering postponing it. As well, this build did not go to plan as well as I would have liked. During the Vo2Max focus phase I missed several workouts due to not acknowledging my weaknesses and planning accordingly. Additionally, during the Lactate Threshold phase, I missed several workouts due to technological malfunction, blown tires, and injury. That being said, I was mentally preparing myself for the event that I did not improve, or even testing lower than last time.

This time round was more painful than last time. Perhaps it was because I did so little biking in the week leading up to the test that I felt out of rhythm. Regardless, I ended up averaging 417w according to the CompuTrainer, and 430w according to the Quarq. Last time, the disagreement between the Quarq and CompuTrainer was only 8w, this time it was 13w. But, when adding the manufacturer’s error rating together between the two instruments, this falls well inside of the potential for error (+/- 2% and +/- 2% = +/- 4%; @400w = +/-16w). Another factor that could have led to this increase is that I calibrated the Quarq this time round, which I did not do last time. Here is a graph of the CompuTrainer data, followed by a graph of the Quarq data:

CPT FTP 2 Data


Quarq FTP 2 Data

I am quite pleased with the results. For training purposes, I will take the lower of the two to be the actual value of the test, so 417w. This gives me an FTP of 396.15w. I weighed in at 160.6 lbs, so 73 kg, thus I have an FTP of 5.43 w/kg.This means that all of my training zones for the next build will go up about 9w. Here is a graph of my new training zones that I will use in my build up to the U.S. Pro Championship:

Training Zones after FTP 2

Additionally, my girlfriend Erin got me a cool new mountable camera to use for training, technical, and blogging purposes. I took this as a good opportunity to put it to use and filmed the entire FTP test. If you want to see what bad cycling technique looks like, watch this video (Disclaimer: You may laugh out loud when you hear me moaning and groaning between 12 and 17 minutes):

7 thoughts on “FTP Test 2

  1. I tend to do my FTP tests all in aero position, since this is the position I will (should) be in racing situation. I do break the position shortly a few times in the second half when it gets really tough though. Insane numbers, especially for your weight!!!! 🙂 Great job!!

  2. Hey Thierry, this has definitely crossed my mind. I tend to do all Vo2Max intervals and Anaerobic Capacity intervals in the upright position, as I would only very rarely push these types of numbers in a race setting, and so whatever adaptations that occur at these wattages aren’t really necessary for me to directly transfer over to the time-trial position. On the other hand, some Lactate Threshold intervals, ALL Tempo intervals, and the weekly long ride, I spend down in the aero position. I have come to find that this is sufficient time spent in the aero-position to get comfortable racing in it for the intended duration at the intended wattages.

    In a similar vein, I used to do run workouts with racing flats on because they were the shoes I would be racing in anyways, and I liked feeling faster. Unfortunately, it puts unnecessary stress on the body with little to no increases in physiological gains. I think you can push more power in the upright position, which increases physiological gains, which when you go down into the aero-position during races brings down the exertion level at a particular wattage. Similar to training with big clunkers on in running, and then going to a racing flat for the race.

    • Lionel, with this in mind, (in your opinion) would you be better off doing your FTP and other VO2Max workouts on a well set up road bike where your position would be more inducive of pushing big numbers? On the trainer (computrainer especially) this is a bit of a pain in the ass switching back to the TT for long rides and likely the bricks, but just interested in your thoughts here.

      • That’s an interesting question. If the point of doing these sorts of high end workouts is to achieve the absolute highest exertion level possible, then I would say yes. I’m not sure of the difference we are talking about though, as I have never tracked wattage output on a road bike (this will change now with the Vectors!). But gains are gains, so even a 5w difference, in my opinion, would be enough to warrant making the switch to the road bike for high end stuff. I would make sure the seat heights are very similar though, so the switch back and forth is not too shocking. But, as the A-race nears, I would no longer make this switch (i.e. within two months). At this point, I would only do Neuromuscular Power and Anaerobic Capacity stuff once in a blue moon. I would incorporate a little bit of Vo2Max stuff though (to stay sharp) but I would only do these intervals down in the aero-position. Once I am within one month of the A-race, it is forbidden to not be in the aero-position at any time. This is certainly an interesting question, that I would like to explore next winter.

  3. Pingback: Week in Review (Build 2, Week 1) | LSandersTri

  4. Ridiculous numbers…..I just did mine and it was 298W. Looks like I’ve got some work to do…..How long have you tracked your FTP with power and what was your progression like within each season and from one season to the next (ie. from Base 1 through to Build how much did your FTP increase?)

    • I have been using power for about two years now. For the first year I didn’t really know what I was doing so it was really just a fairly meaningless number to me. The extent to my training at this point was if I saw 400w on an interval I must be doing good. Once I got exposed to the physiological basis of training then I started to read up on what the numbers actually mean. I did my first FTP test around New Years Eve last year. At that time I held 374w for the 20 minute test, so had an FTP of about 355w. From this point on I started training using Coggan’s zones. I actually just used these zones for all of my training in 2013 up until October, when I did another FTP test. That being said, the results of the FTP test in this post was almost one year to the day from the one where I tested 355. So, over the course of a season I saw a 41w increase. That is all the tracking I have done though. Now, that I have a broader knowledge base, I will certainly be tracking this more closely throughout the season.

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