Bizarre FTP score

Hello.

I registered for Trainer Road today and my first order of business was to take the FTP test. I went all out and scored 138, which I learned is quite low for someone like myself who is 34, in solid shape and fairly experienced on the bike.

Did I screw this up?

Which test did you use? Are you using a power meter or virtual power?

I did the 20-minute test with a CycleOps smart trainer.

Firstly, 138 isn’t necessarily low. That might just be where your cycling fitness is at right now. If it’s roughly accurate, you’ll likely see rapid improvement in just a few months.

That said, the longer test formats require more skill in pacing your effort. If you’ve never tried to pace a 20 effort before, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve paced it poorly. Give yourself a day or so to rest and give the Ramp Test a go. It’s also about 20 mins long, but only a few minutes of it really suck. If you have a smart trainer that you can run in erg mode, it’s a very difficult test to mess up. You just ride until you can’t any more.

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Thank you, sir. I guess I have some work to do on the bike.

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This is skeptical to me. Someone more skilled than me chime in, and correct me if I’m wrong…did you use ERG mode during this 20-minute test? Now, I’m not too sure how ERG mode works with the 20-min test, but if you weren’t winded, or if you felt you have a lot more in the tank at the completion of test, I’d advise doing the ramp test, and if you want to do the 20-min test, make sure your ERG mode is off. Second, and I need to preface this with: we are all different. However, my brother was sedentary for quite a few years, and got back into cycling, did an FTP test, and his result was 180-ish. A few things with your Hammer:

  1. Make sure you calibrate via Rouvy
  2. Calibrate via TrainerRoad
  3. Conduct another FTP test with ERG mode on, and try the Ramp Test. I would be willing to bet you’ll see a different end-result
  4. If end-result doesn’t change, then you’ll see rapid gains with TR

@kurt.braeckel and @mcneese.chad, May have something better to add

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I’d agree with you that 134 seems quite low if you are at least semi fit and have some experience on the bike

Make sure your trainer is calibrated properly, especially if it is a wheel-on trainer which may need a small amount of ‘doping’ like you need to do for some Tacx trainers such as the Bushido to generate correct power numbers. You should be able to find some calibration details around the internet specific to your trainer

As others have mentioned I would suggest doing the Ramp Test in ERG mode as well

Can you post your graph or a link to your activity?
Give yourself a day or two off and do a ramp test and make sure to really bury yourself.
If you have any recent efforts on longish climbs it’s possible to guestimate a really tough ballpark too.

BTW in the 20 minute test ERG mode automatically disengages for the 20m segment and it’s run in resistance mode.

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It does seem low for a generally fit male in mid 30s…but if correct then it is what it is and you’ll see big improvements quite quickly if follow the TR plans so all good!

If new to cycling I would try ramp test since if inexperienced then 20 min test hardest to pace and do.

Also check trainer is calibrated before test and set up correctly.

Not bizarre at all. I’m guessing you’re similar to me and that you’ll see some big gains quickly as others have suggested.
Check out all the possibilities with your power measurement, but keep focus on your training first and foremost. Push out your best without getting sick due to fatigue. The numbers can lie sometimes.
FYI. I started off around your mark even though I have a very physically demanding job. I can lift 90kg over my shoulder, but there is another level to be gained from building a riding base.
Stick out one full season using TR and see what happens.

I was also in the same boat, I thought I was pretty fit, I was riding MTB most Sunday’s and going to the gym 2-3 times a week. My first FTP test was 147W, 14 months later after TR’s structured training (still riding MTB and going to the gym) I’m currently around 230W.

:sunglasses:

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It is what it is. Just a number on a particular scale with a particular trainer.

I would look on the positive side and expect some big improvements in the next few months if you train consistently.

In comparison, I would expect that most of us would struggle to do do 10 pull ups right now, but after a few months practise, we should all be able to.

Get training, enjoy the journey!

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Hi

Slightly confused as to why you are calibrating through Rouvy and TR. My understanding is that you only use one ie Rouvy. I have a hammer and I may be wrong but that is my understanding.

Thanks

Chris

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Trainer Road calibration makes my Hammer unusable (even with Powermatch) , I recommend Rouvy.

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Hi

That is my findings. I calibrate through Rouvy and the just pair with TR and away I go.

What is powermatch.

Thanks for the reply.

Chris

LOL

I did ask. Straight over the top of my head. I suppose the the question I should have asked is should I just leave it off with my hammer when in erg mode.

Thanks

Is this your test?

First observation is that on the whole it looks fairly legit. It looks like you were in manual mode and not erg mode, and looks like you went out a bit hard at the start of the 20 minutes but then found the right level and held it.

Second observation: based on your 20 minute watts, you over-cooked your warm up. Your 3 1min efforts at the start were done as if your FTP was 200 watts, and your 5-minute effort was done as if your FTP was 150. So that might have taken a little too much out of you before you started the 20 minute effort.

Recommendation 1: check your trainer is correctly calibrated, follow the instructions carefully.

Recommendation 2 (assuming there was no massive change with the calibration): if you repeat the 20 minute test, set your FTP to 138. Then when you start the 20 minutes, start at 146 watts and stay there for at least 10 minutes. If you feel like you can do more, start ramping up the intensity slightly until you’re going all out for the last few minutes.

Recommendation 3: put the trainer in erg mode and do the ramp test, then see if the numbers compare.

Recommendation 4: start a training plan with the number you get and just see how it goes!

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Eh you cant really overcook the warmup on a 20 minute test in-fact the efforts should be done at max effort as they also serve the function of reducing anaerobic contribution to ftp. Otherwise rest of advise was spot on.

OP, how much do you weigh?