Help, where did my fitness go?

Hit a peak ftp of 298w back in July. Was knocking it out of the park. Finished my last event of the year at the end of October and took 2 weeks away from training. Got back to training with a fresh 20 minute FTP assessment. Returned a result of 285w, and understandable drop given the 2 weeks of inactivity, honestly was surprised it wasn’t lower.

Did 4 weeks of LV Short power build since it looked fun and something new. My speciality is ultra distance so I planned to reverse my periodization. Attempting to drive my shorter duration ceiling up then layer on the long distance endurance. The 4 weeks of build went great. Nailed the 2 VO2 max workouts each week. Drove my VO2 and Threshold progressions levels up a good bit in 4 weeks. After the recovery week, I had finally finished building my home gym setup and began a barbell weight program into the mix. I leaned my priority on the weight training aspect as I am a long ways away from needing to sharpen my bike fitness. I started the weights easy(empty bar). like a switch my HR for efforts was through the roof. I did Petit as my last ride prior to starting weight training. Averaged 132bpm with a ftp setting of 285w. On this last Thursday I did Petit again. Averaged 139bpm. This change in effort started immediately after incorporating weight training. 70% now feels more like 85%.

Did incorporating weight training really cause me to loose ~15% of my cycling fitness overnight? I have not been sick or had any more stress in my non cycling life. I’m still focusing on the weights and have eliminated anything beyond endurance rides(although they seem more tempo now) Does this seem normal/expected? I was anticipating higher intensity efforts being hard to continue, but I wasn’t expecting endurance riding to become this much harder.

The weights routine I’m doing looks like this:
Rotation between 2 workouts,

  1. Squat 3x5
    OHP 3x5
    Dead Lift 1x5

2)Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Dead Lift 1x5

I do this routine 3 times a week, planning to keep this up until I can hit the midlevel bench marks laid out by TR. Once there I was planning to cut the weights back to 2 times a week and not add weight to it and redshift my focus on to bike fitness.

When do you do your rides in relation to the lifting? It might still impact it. There’s an article on trainingpeaks by Kolie Moore “risks of concurrant training” that might help a bit.

The other thing is, LV short power build made me lose a lot of FTP two years ago. The plans have changed now, so not sure if it still is the same, but for me it just didn’t work.

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my weeks usually look like this:

Monday: Full Rest
Tuesday: 1 Hour bike(has been Endurance since beginning lifting)
Wednesday: Lifting session
Thursday: 1 Hour bike(same as Tuesday)
Friday: Lift
Saturday: 90-12- minutes bike(endurance)
Sunday: Lift

The strange thing was how it was like a light switch, I did Pettit and it felt normal, then a few days later it was like I lost 35-40 watts!

Short power build can develop glycolytic power at the expense of FTP. Same with heavy lifting. A bit of that happened to me a year ago, however my coach did a great job of managing the transition from lifting to cycling.

regardless of what plan I was following, I was shocked by how much and how fast(basically overnight) I lost a significant amount of fitness.

I found Tempo workouts more like high end SST after lifting, but only for a few weeks. Just buckling up and pushing through worked fine for me, and RPE returned to normal for the rides. As I increased volume through my base period, I reduced the number of weight sessions down from 3.

Usual advice is to put your intense bike workouts before the weight session by a least 3 hours (assuming bike performance is the priority)

One, you should be lifting on the same day as your bike workouts. By doing it the way you are, your body never gets a chance to recover since you are going hard every day. I would do the bike workout first and lift at least 3 hours later. By doing a lift and a workout on the same day, you will get a full recovery day in between. Second, might try lifting just two days a week instead of three. And third, perhaps you are lifting too heavy. Using the TR strength calculator you can see that cyclists don’t need to be power lifter strong, just competent enough to benefit.

Awesome to hear that this feeling won’t persist, I debated doing a new ftp test and just building from there, I think I’ll give it a few more weeks and see what happens!

Great advice, except I don’t get paid to ride my bike so plenty of other things fall into my day. The schedule I have is more or less what I’m available to do. As I posted, I am not lifting heavy, I started all my lifts with an empty bar and add 5lbs every time I do an exercise. I am 4 weeks into it and I’m squatting less than half my BW.

Apologies, but other than taking 2 weeks off, I’m struggling to see where you’ve lost fitness…

If I drink a cup a coffee my heart rate will be higher, I haven’t lost fitness.

Not properly recovering seems to be the issue here. Lots of talk here about too much intensity killing gains and burning people out. If you can’t adjust the schedule, then you might consider whether lifting is worth it in your case. Not having planned “recovery” days seems like a recipe for eventual heartbreak if you aren’t already feeling it. I would at least shift to 2 days a week and would consider eliminating one of your “on the bike days” if you can’t do your lifting on the days of your rides. You must provide your body time to recover.

As I posted, every Monday is a full rest/recovery day. I’m pretty confident I’m not anywhere close to overtraining, this summer I was doing 800+ tss weeks, I’ve backed that down to less than 300 to accommodate weight training. I also go a solid 24 hours between bike and weights and I’m adamant about getting a minimum ride f 8 hours sleep.

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This hasn’t been a small bump in hr. I’ve gone from low 130’s for z2 work, to high 140’s. I’d venture if I did an ftp test today, I’d be around 240 vs. the 285 I tested at 8 weeks ago and was nailing the prescribed workouts at that ftp 4 weeks ago. And it literally happened between 2 workouts(~5 days apart)

If you’re only doing endurance rides, maybe just drop the intensity? Endurance is a wide zone anyway, and if RPE is too high, its probably not really endurance anymore.

Might also be worth checking that you eat enough - the energy for building that new muscle the lifting is hopefully giving you, must come from somewhere.