Anyone tried a ramp test outside?

TR doesn’t let you change it to an outside workout and ride it, but I know there are tools to export the workout independently or create your own with increases in power every 1 minute after a warmup, or simply ride it with a written wattage chart on your top tube and hit the lap button every 1 minute until you explode.

Obviously one could do a 2x8 or 1x20, but those are a bit more taxing and have pacing variables.

I have a great stretch of road nearby, and I’m fairly certain I could keep the power numbers within a tight range. Wahoo Kickr is still on backorder.

Thoughts?

I’ve been curious about this too, to the point of considering just writing the numbers on some tape and sticking it to my top tube. Frankly, the fight against a climb makes me go WAY deeper than anything else and it would be interesting to see what comes out of it, even if it’s just to try it.

Only thing I’d be concerned about is that outdoor power tends to be higher for most people, so compound that with being able to go deeper than you’re capable of inside and you could potentially end up with a value that’s too high and leaves you unable to complete indoor sessions. I don’t think it’d be a ‘bad’ value if you can keep the power relatively steady, but generally speaking it’s best to test in the same conditions you train in.

That being said, if you don’t have a trainer yet and you’re doing all your workouts outdoors it might work in your favor. Ramp tests also don’t incur a huge amount of stress, so you could test both scenarios within a fairly short time frame and compare the two.

3 Likes

Agreed. My outdoor power is higher. I wouldn’t be able to handle the TR workouts if I based them of my outdoor FTP.

I seem to recall hearing or reading that TR do not recommend doing an outdoor ramp test, primarily on the grounds of safety. If you’re doing the test correctly, you’re going to be a quivering wreck by the end of it. I know how bad I feel at the end of all my ramp tests and the thought of being out on an open road on my bike while I’m in such a state is enough to convince me that it is not a good idea. Apart from the danger you pose to yourself, there are other road users to consider too.

4 Likes

In my experience the feeling of a ramp test is not much different than the end of the last few sets of 2-3min LT intervals, and those come in the form of prescribed outside workouts.

Like putting the trainer on the balcony? :sweat_smile::grin:

2 Likes

I dunno if you’re going deep enough in your ramp tests, when I pull the pin on a ramp test, it takes a solid few minutes before my legs recover enough to be able to unclip from the pedals. LOL

If you want to test outside, switch to the 8 min version. Even with a SS output such as that, I’ve yet to find the perfect stretch of road. I can’t imagine trying to do a ramp test outdoors.

1 Like

Trying to find a long continuous and constant gradient road that you can safely up power continuously on would be night on impossible :neutral_face:

2 Likes

Given the increments between ramps are quite small, and you need to be fairly precise, you are going to need a very consistent gradient, no variations in wind, and no traffic/junctions etc. At least where I live, that’s not realistic for a c.20 min effort.

I’ve done a 20 min FTP test on one of probably 2 suitable sections of road road here, and that worked ‘ok’ only because you’re taking an average rather than trying to hit very specific numbers.

1 Like

I’d use the 20 or 8 minute test outdoors. I don’t have a lot of traffic near my home and marked out a course that I can use for repeatability, I can see this being hard if you live in a busy area. Strava has an FTP estimator based on 20 minutes, and I have something on my Garmin also. I can’t see the ramp test working outdoors, too distracting.

1 Like

Made it on TP pretty quickly and exported to elemnt. Guess I’m committed to trying now.

I don’t think doing it on the road will be all that different consistent wattage wise as compared to doing it on the dumb trainer and having to shift and increase/decrease cadence with each step.

I also suspect the exact 1 minute power, ~7 minutes in doesn’t matter that much in the result…for instance if one step is 5 watts low and the next one’s 3 watts high. I believe the idea is to simply consistently ramp power for 14-15mins until you can’t pedal anymore. If you stepped up 3‰ every 30 seconds, or 2‰ every 20 seconds or 1% every 10 seconds instead of 6% every 60… Would it change your best final minute power average? I’m guessing any difference would be negligible.

1 Like

It worked. I haven’t done a ramp test since spring, but felt similar to the inside ones I remember. The vast majority is pretty easy, above FTP it gets hard but tolerable…then there’s a point where you think you can do 3 more minutes, and then 30 seconds after that point everything wants to quit and you have to really focus to make it through that single minute. Then have to throw every last bit to stepping up another 6% and hanging on for 1 more minute. Then 8 minutes later you think “oh…I think I could’ve done one more step, or at least half a step, I was just being a wimp”

Made it to 484 on the last step, so 363 ftp…which is about what I’d expect right now. Maybe a lack of Chad’s on-screen text motivation cost me a couple watts.

Keeping the power steady at low watts was a lot harder than higher watts. Little undulations in the road and seemingly little corrections make for bigger spikes in power, but once over 260 or so it’s way easier to smooth things out. Especially with the Element which gives the color coded watt bar on the left side, and then 5 second power number. Won’t sync to training peaks now, so can’t look at the lap watts vs. prescribed watts, but in the moment I don’t think I was ever off by more than a few.

5 Likes

Good effort and some impressive numbers.

Very cool, I’ve always wanted to try one outdoors, your power during the ramp was very smooth, really good pacing considering being outdoors and going that hard

It can be done outside, it just requires some careful planning as it’s surprising the distance you travel in that time.