I’m fairly new to cycling and started riding in groups and racing as a cat 5 last year. I used trainer road for the first time over the winter and made huge gains and definitely carried them over into the start of 2020 expecting to hit the ground running racing. Obviously there aren’t any races going on but I have been doing some small group rides that are the fastest in my area with other racers that are extremely strong. I am by no means a strong rider, I started this year with an FTP of 203, and I usually get dropped about 75% of the way on endurance and race style rides giving it all I’ve got.
On to the point of the question I have… as a new cyclist everyone wants to give me their advice, which I am always receptive to and have been trying it. The premise of the advice on training has been “its warm out, just keep riding as much as possible with the fast guys and you’ll keep getting stronger, don’t worry so much about structure.” This hasn’t worked too well for me. My FTP has steadily fallen down to 190 over the past 3 months. The other kicker is I work crazy hours as a surgeon and don’t have a lot of free time, so time on the bike is a precious commodity.
My plan going forward is to get back to some basics. I was planning another round of Sweet Spot Base with the addition of choosing one ride per week with the group to do, since I usually have about 4-5 days a week to ride. I seem to do well with structure. I know SSB has some specific physiologic goals and I don’t want to wreck that by doing additional rides that are obviously going to be pushing me well past threshold. In your opinion do you all think this will help or am I overthinking? Im pretty committed to becoming a stronger racer when the time comes, but I’ve found this really hasn’t been a cake walk. Appreciate any advice.