Fitness going up while FTP decreases?

Hi all, I have a question about my fitness improving despite FTP seemingly dropping, particularly through the base-build-specialty plans with AT at the helm ahead of this cyclocross season. I started training again back in May after a stressful two months off. I’ve been through MVSSB2, MV Short Power Build and now onto MV CX Specialty using AT. It’s the first time I’ve completed a Short Power Build phase without burning out, honestly.

My summer’s experience:
-ramp test set my FTP at 266W for MVSSB2, stormed through PLs as fitness came back.
-tested at 310W when starting Short Power Build, PLs got zeroed out, and completed block successfully.
-gave myself an extra week off from being rundown (new puppy, poor sleep) before starting Build 2.
-Ramp test dropped me down to 302W, PLs mostly unchanged, I stuck with this lower FTP and felt my fitness continue to improve.
-Ramp test at the start of Specialty phase wanted to drop me down another 10-15W. I ignored this recommended FTP change and completed the first week’s two VO2max workouts without issue. RPE was low, HR was high.

I’m not quite sure what would explain my perceived fitness going up, but FTP going down. I’ve slept and eaten well since the extra recovery week, haven’t dropped weight drastically, and have nailed pretty much every workout. Could it be that despite improving my VO2 capacity, my base is falling away due to the relatively short five week block and preceding two-month hiatus from riding and training? Or am I just testing poorly, and the fitness is still building?

Any insight appreciated!

Might be just bad luck with the ramp test on a particular day. As I understand it is calculating FTP directly from your wattage during the last blocks of the test. I use 20 min tests and have definately had some bad tests which haven’t correlated with my actual FTP.

Are you using Adaptive Training? If not, then switch to that. Possible that you’re just good at nailing VO2 workouts but might struggle in other parts of the power curve. In which case AT should give you tougher VO2 sessions that stretch you more while still keeping other workouts manageable.

I wouldn’t worry about it if your fitness is going up @kirbz . When I started with TR I had not long came of a coaches program and my FTP from a 20mins test was in the region of 280w, my first ramp test was 270w and every subsequent one went down when they fell below what I knew I was holding on the road and my worst mis paced 20mins FTP (250w), I started ignoring them. Before the start of the season I did another 20mins test, it shot back up to 270w + (I forget the exact no.). I reckoned that was too big a jump though so I trained of 250w most of the season, upped mid way to 255w and now 260w. Its seen me go relatively faster although its still lower than where I started out.
The ramp test works for 85% of people but for 7.5% it’ll read high and 7.5% it’ll read low. I think I’m in the latter camp. I’ll do 8 or 20min tests again off season but they are a little taxing during.
If results were going the wrong way I might have been more concerned but they are not :+1:

Thanks, ironically enough I used to overtest on the ramp test, and then have an FTP set too high and end up burning out if my fitness couldn’t improve fast enough to overcome the initially high FTP. In this case, possibly a bad test, but I’m also seeing mention of VO2max work pushing FTP down while expanding one’s capacity to work above it. Perhaps this is what I’m experiencing? I thought my FTP would hold steady while improving my VO2max (raising the roof), but I guess it’s not quite as straightforward as that sadly haha.