This is longer than I intended. TL;DR version is that I think there’s a lot of value to some more programmed tests (like the ramp test, you test to failure on a progressively harder test until failure). Except these other tests would focus on other aspects of fitness beyond just a power curve. You can use them to help athletes assess their strengths and weaknesses and recommend training plans based on that. TR can also make use of that data internally and to show the athlete their improvement on a relevant benchmark after a training block.
You guys talk a lot about it taking (fitness wise) more than just FTP to win races. For example it takes ability to go hard and recover or ride at threshold. Yet we have no standard way to assess that. So I request TR make a few standards.
Something that I think most athletes want to know is where their strengths and weaknesses are to figure out what to train if they want to play to their strengths or fix their weaknesses. Today people can look at their power curve and the 5s, 60s, 5min and FTP W/kg charts to see how they compare to others, but that is far from perfect.
The problem with the W/kg chart is the data behind that power curve doesn’t necessarily represent what you are capable of, only what you have done. For example, if you haven’t done long, sustained efforts you won’t have an idea of what your endurance capability really is. You don’t know your true power capability curve, only your power history curve.
Another issue is that chart doesn’t tell you anything about your ability to go hard then recover. Or ability to maintain efforts at / near threshold.
One way to fix that is to do some workouts where you do these things specifically. However, there are a ton of different workouts to choose from and there’s no quantification besides you can complete the workout or had to reduce the intensity. You don’t know if you could have gone 5 or 20 minutes longer. You also don’t know which workout is likely to be too much or what is too easy. And you don’t know how your result stacks up to others.
My proposed solution is to create a few more test workouts (like the ramp test), each tailored to evaluate different aspects of your fitness. The tests would be progressive and test until failure (like the ramp test). For example, a test that does over unders for longer and longer durations until failure could test for my ability to go hard and recover. A test that has the rider ride at FTP until failure could test endurance and accuracy of your FTP setting. A test that does some progressively higher power intervals mightBe useful. I am sure a few other tests that more knowledgeable people can think of.
Then there could be some guidance (it could just be in the workout description of the test or a blog post) to help the user understand what their performance on the test means and how it compares to what is expected / likely possible (at their FTP). You could help people understand where they might be especially gifted (naturally excel). There should also be some guidance to which training blocks / plans are best to improve their performance on that test. There should also be some guidance as to which scenarios / goals improved performance would be helpful for. This would address so many questions that people have over and over.
Another benefit would be for TrainerRoad internally. By having another test that many athletes are periodically doing (even if it’s not part of any plan) and is setup to see how an athlete performs until failure, you have some really valuable data. If you did add the relevant benchmark to the begging and end of a training block, it would help you (and the athlete) see how effective the training was (obviously you would have to account for plan compliance). TR