FTP keeps decreasing - something wrong with my trainer?

To start up, here is the training stress graph. Notice the FTP drops.

13 Jul - 214 FTP
14 Jul - 198 FTP
31 Aug - 203 FTP
23 Oct - 187 FTP
Dec 05 - 166 FTP

I have been training since July and recently my FTP just dropped, and I don’t know if has something do with Equipment or my Training.
Before Dec my FTP was slowly decreasing from my summer form, but recently it just dropped by almost 15% after change some equipment.

  • I moved the setup form my room to a colder storage room.
  • Stopped using my trainer (Elite Tuo) connect to a smartphone instead of my desktop computer.
  • Changed the back tyre from a normal one to a training one
  • Updated the firmware on the Elite Tuo because I was having problem calibrating the trainer

The first thing I noticed when I changed the setup was that it was much harder. All of a sudden my heart rate was going to 130-140 bpm doing “recovery day” of my polarised training schedule, where previously it was something like 110-120 bpm.
And doing the high intensity days it became almost impossible to finish. That’s when I retested the FTP and it has gone down to 166.

I wonder if it’s something with my setup, or it should have always been this low, and before was just “easy”.
The thing is that now it feels very hard even with the new FTP. The high intensity day feels almost impossible, and tbh there’s so many variables to what it might be that I’m just confused on what to do next and where to look for the problem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QG3v26hvTFw

Make sure to follow the calibration process Ray describes. Wheel on trainers can vary wildly if the pressure in the tire is not the same every time or the pressure of the locking mechanism against the tire is not the same. I wouldn’t expect too much accuracy from a wheel on trainer anyways, but I think you should see better than what you do so, so I would assume you aren’t ensuring those variables are constant enough.

The colder room and the smartphone wouldn’t have any affect other than the cold room will lower the air pressure in your tires, but that should make it too easy, not too hard.

I have followed the calibration process in that video, and it doesn’t seem to have a big impact.

Last training session I swapped back to a conventional tyre and higher pressure, it got a bit easier. Then did calibration and it got significantly harder.

What I’m wondering now, is this really my FTP? I honestly feel so unfit with 140 bpm at 110W recovery ride

It’s hard to see what your scale is of TSS in that graph, but seems like some pretty heavy (for you) training on Trainer road, which I assume is a lot of intensity. It could be you overcooked yourself and are fatigued. It’s a common problem and would affect your testing. You also didn’t say how you tested. Was that a ramp test?

TSS should be fairly low, bellow 200 on the highest weeks. I only train 3 times a week, less than 5h in total.

Everything okay with your bike? I suggest making sure that your crank and derailleur pulleys are turning okay (with the chain not in contact with them). It always surprises me how quickly and severely a bearing can go bad.

Wheel-on trainers are not very accuarate in general. I wouldn’t out too much value on the “FTP” number you get from it. Can you check your fitness against something else, for example a strava segment you ride quite often? Or just keeping up with friends?

Your heartrate however is calibrated to you - is 140 high for you? If so, you’re not doing a recovery ride and need to slow down.

All that matters is that your training feels appropriate for the workout you are doing. Power of trainers can vary but it doesn’t matter as long as consistent on the trainer you are using. FTP is a tool for setting the intensity of your intervals. Nothing more.

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@chris137 you might be on to something, I went finally outside, have not been for a few months and It was feeling like quite the effort to maintain 26Km/h, not massive, but more than usual. Going to check the bike, but not too sure what to look at.

@splash I had not ridden outside for a while but I guess it is also feeling harder outside (as I said above).
Yeah 140bpm doing Homers Nose -1 (endurance) now, with 166W FTP. I went to check and in Jul I had a Homers Nose (not -1) with 110bpm and 190W FTP.

@PhilW what was bothering me was exactly that, I was failing my interval training was getting quite frustrated, and making me doubt if it was overtraining, nutrition, equipment, etc…