Consistent Ramp Test failure @ step 16

Finished my 10th ramp test last night. It was a good enough test, I mean, I was spent, HR was maxed, and I added a few watts. 3.0 w/kg.

It got me thinking, I looked back at all 10 tests, 9/10 of the tests all fail within about 15 seconds after starting step 16. I mean, like, all of the tests I break between 25:09 to 25:23. Thought it was curious. I don’t believe anything is right or wrong, just curious.

Anyone else ever notice the same thing?

If it matters, I’ve trained almost exclusively in the tri plans, either 1/2 or full. When I have tried the sweet spot it has wrecked my running legs.

Happy riding.

19:30 on the ramp is your current FTP. So it is normal that you fail just after that if your FTP is not going up by huge percentage.

Making it to 25mins would be BIG gains.

Have you been updating your FTP each time you re-test? i.e. accepting the new result? If not you may be running your FTP too low.

How can this be the case?

What was your FTP after each test?

I think he got his times wrong - step 16 is around the 19:30 break even mark.

EDIT: 25:00ish would be the total workout time after the cool down…

So in summary it is totally normal and expected that you fail the test at the same point - and the workout duration is roughly the same - if your FTP hasn’t changed by a huge amount.


He is talking (I assume) about total time, not 25 min from the ramping time. So 16 step is 20 min mark on a ramp test.

That makes sense otherwise we’d be looking at a monster FTP after 10 tests.

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I guess some more information. First test, July 2018, last test Jan 2020.

My times are wrong, 25:09 to 25:23 are the overall times of the Ramp Test, not time in step. That is my bad, I apologize. I guess what I meant to say is, 9/10 times I fail within 20 seconds of Step 16 starting, which is in the 20:09 to :20:23 timeframe if you are simply looking at the ramp.

I do apply the FTP change after each test. In general, the increase is in the 5-8 watt range.

I’d also like to point out that, over the course of a year, my FTP cycles between race ready (high) and after taking a break (low). So it isn’t like my FTP is always growing. It cycles, between a low point and a high point.

After race season, after taking a break, I will lower the FTP setting as I start base again.

In all, I simply found it interesting, no matter what my current FTP is, that I fail within a few seconds, on every test, regardless of my current FTP.

Maybe I could be using TR better. Like, when I start over on base, that I don’t lower the FTP. I lower so I can finish the rides/plan. Maybe next cycle I’ll man up and keep the high/race ready FTP and see what happens.

The point to remember is that everybody fails the ramp test around the same point regardless of if they have a high or low FTP. 200w or 400w - always step 16.

What changes the duration is the difference between your actual FTP and the FTP inputted into TR at the start of the test.

If actual FTP is below the TR value you will not reach 19:30 - if actual is above the TR value then you will go past it.

If you say you never finish a ramp test before the 19:30 mark I assume you must manually decrease the FTP value before you start training again?

Do exactly this. If your FTP figure is too much lower than ‘reality’, you’ll potentially be training in the wrong zones and thus not getting the intended benefit of following a structured plan. No shame in not finishing (or having to dial down) the odd ride here and there, or finding the end of a block really hard - otherwise how do you know when you’ve reached your current limits?


The mention is starting over on Base. Therefore test at the beginning of the block and use that number.

Agree with not decreasing mid cycle / block though.

That’s what I meant - should have been clearer.

I was wondering what you all meant when talking about total workout time, until I remembered there’s a cooldown. I hardly ever complete the cooldown as too busy trying to see straight!