Big Performance Dip

I noticed in November of 2019 that I needed a rest. Up to that point my training had been very steady, averaging 250+/- miles a week at around 12+/- hrs/wk with a few 20hr weeks. I wasn’t seeing a performance dip, I was constantly getting faster. I’ve never ridden this much in my life. It was more that my body, namely my knee, were starting to feel a bit off. A week of rest came in November and another in December. Perfect.

Shortly after that rest, I had a banging ride. Solo for 73 miles with a NP of 272 and average speed of 19mph. For the first hour my NP hovered around 300. I put a power meter on my road bike at the beginning of 2020 so I don’t know what numbers I was putting out before but I’d never averaged 19mph on this particular ride. I’m not new to cycling but I am new to road biking, been on the road for 1 year but have mountain biked for decades.

I did a ramp test at the beginning of 2020, which resulted in a 305 ftp. I expected it to be higher but don’t we all. I started SSBHV. I chose HV because the training load paralleled what I had been conditioned to do, albeit outdoors. But due to sickness I kept pushing it back and was doing the hours but not the intensity on the trainer with 2hr tempo rides and outdoor rides when weather permitted. It was during that time when I had that banging ride.

SS work on the trainer has always been ‘easy’. Never had to bail out on one and never had an issue finishing one. A current SS workout typically finishes with a NP around 250. However, The past 2 weeks these workouts have felt hard. I had to drop the intensity or cut 1 or 2 of them short, which I have never done before. I did petit last night and woke up with heavy legs… On top of this demoralization train, I looked at some TR workouts from last year at this time and my NP was 290 for SS. That seems like a huge dip. What is going on? Has anyone gone through this? What did you do? Should I drop to MV?

Nothing has changed that I can think of, other than the current training load is indoors as opposed to outdoors. I really don’t want to rest. I’m hoping to have a big year. I’ll probably drop back to the 2hr tempo rides for a week and see what happens. Also, the knee pain comes and goes and keeps moving around. It was on the outside (red circle) and now it’s the blue circle moving into the muscle.

40 years old
305 FTP
4.15 w/kg

Maybe drop the tempo rides and focus on SSB? Tempo is really good for racking up fatigue, and HV doesn’t give much room for error when it comes to overworking yourself.

It sounds like your awesome ride came from a time when you were shedding a lot of fatigue due to other factors, so keep that in mind.

In your shoes I’d drop to MV to keep the outdoor rides available, which is a higher volume version of what I do (Currently LV instead of MV so I can commute and ride as much outdoors as i want without worrying about digging a hole)

This is unless you feel you need a HV level of structured training to see improvements, in which case I’m not sure.

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Are you using the same bike on the trainer as outdoors?

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As mentioned before it looks like you basically ditched the fatigue from all that training and had a solid, fresh ride.

Even without seeing details on your graph, you built up quite a bit of load with minimal rest. If you overcooked it it’s going to take some time to get back. And you haven’t had really consistent training in quite a few weeks. Hell, you shouldn’t be faster than you were at peak last year anyway.

I’d caution doing too much indoors without building up. I’m on for 12-14hrs/wk but I’ve built up to it and even put in 6-8 with a good bit of intensity all summer. It’s still a little tough ramping back up in the winter with no outdoor rides. If you’re on an HV schedule 6 days you swap in more Z2. In base or aerobic blocks I’ll ride 3-4days Z2, 2-3days tempo/SS, and 1 day with some high intensity freestyle or a zwift race if I’m dying of boredom. Usually weekdays are 2hrs and weekends 6-8hrs between the 2 days. I aim for an IF of .8 or below for the week.

As far as the knee, I’d take a good look at cleat position. The trainer can bring out issues you don’t notice on the road. Especially with high volume. I’ve moved to a completely new position on the bike over the past year and I attribute getting it dialed to the fact that I spent over 400hrs on a trainer in 2019 :joy:

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Both of those 2 knee problems are caused by tight quads affecting the alignment of your knee - The VMO and Vastus Lateralis are the 2 muscles that keep the bone straight - foam roll both sides plus ITB and TFL - should sort it…painfully!

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I was previously using my mountain bike with stages left side power meter. Now I’m using road bike with right side pm. Same bike I ride outside.