Stick Stickly

Well, this is going swimmingly.

I’ve even had content to write about. I went mountain biking in Arkansas and it was tons of fun.

I did my first Functional Threshold Power test tonight with my buddy Nathan. It was going to be his first FTP test. Always a treat.

I looked at what my strengths are and what my A races look like for next year. After some considerations and lots of internet investigating, I decided to use the TrainerRoad 8 minute test protocol. Last year I used the 20 minute test and while it was useful, I’m going to be testing exclusively indoors. After one indoors last year, I knew I had to test outside to be able to focus my effort that long. Some people claim that you are getting further away from accuracy by not doing a 20 minute, 30 minutes, or even an hour. Although, Andrew Coggan quickly reminds people that everyone doesn’t necessarily accumulate lactate in exactly an hour but that it was an average and ’round number.’ I hadn’t actually considered that, but indeed you are testing for Functional Threshold Power, not setting an hour power personal best.

So, my goal was 370w. That would have ended up at 333w (8 minutes = 90% of FTP), which was where I was around January last year. It was a bit too ambitious. That first test of the offseason is such a sufferfest, too. 3 minutes into the first test and I thought, “Shit, this really hurts.” Mountain biking is so punchy that it really trains different systems, so it’s a shock riding at that consistent sustained power. After 4ish minutes, I noticed my power was drifting hard and I had bitten off more than I can chew. I adjusted to 350w and tried to just hold steady. By the time there was 1 minute, I was cursing my birthday. The break between the two tests is 10 minutes and it was glorious. I think I pedaled at 60w, gasping for oxygen.

The 2nd test was worse. I reassessed and thought I would shoot for 350w. It was weird 98 rpm pedal cadence was 327w. 102 rpm was 345ish. I just couldn’t maintain that high of cadence. I was giving thanks when it was finally over. I felt like I was battling with a rubber sword. Take that as you will.

First test was 343w average, 2nd test was 327w. I think with even pacing I could probably hit 350w. 90% of 343w is 309w FTP. November 14th of last year I had my 2nd test, getting 289. 95% (20 minute power extrapolation) of 289w is 275w. Not as fit as I thought, but heads and shoulders (34w) ahead of last year. I believe it’ll be easier to gain that muscle that I loss in the offseason. Last year, I had to build that muscle from scratch. I hit 405w (365w FTP) for 8 minutes last April, and I’m pretty sure that was my peak form from last season.

I can get super nerdy about this stuff.
You’ll have to forgive me.

Anywho, I’m not down much, 62 watts. Not sure what my 8 minute power was early last year, but I gained 130w on my FTP last off season. Obviously, that’s asking a bit much 2 years in a row, but I know I can get back up to 405w. I’m just going to stay positive and be stoked about any gains I see from here on out.

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