Help with Ramp Test/Fitness

July 2018 was my highest FTP result of 207 watts, and felt good on the bike and strong, However since then I’ve seen a decrease of 30 watts 177. Have today completed another Ramp Test prior to starting SSB Low Vol 2, yet another decrease of 2 watts now at 175. I’m 63 years old where am I going wrong? Any advice would be much appreciated. Regards Billy.

Quick look at your training history shows a 3.5 hour club ride on Sunday at the end of your recovery week. Could it be you are still fatigued? There’s no power data so I can’t see how hard a ride it was for you but it’s a very long ride for a recovery week. Consider taking some more rest and testing again.


Thanks yogini, not using a power a power metre and on a dumb trainer using virtual power. deciding whether to get a smart trainer or power meter. Regards Billy.

It’s possible the ramp test isn’t ideal for you to give you an accurate FTP. It requires 2 full minutes of anaerobic work at the end of the test just to keep your current FTP. Personally I am not fantastic at anaerobic work, my ramp tests seem low. I am able to maintain way higher power than the ramp would indicate on longer tests. Maybe try a 20 minute test?

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Will give it a go, Thanks.

My suspicion is that your turbo trainer increases resistance as it gets hotter.

Note how in both Pettit and Bald Knob earlier in the week, your heart rate keeps ramping up in the second half of the session, even as your cadence remains steady.

Ditto on Tallac; a sweetspot session shouldn’t be putting you so far into the red you need multiple bailouts, which you had in the final interval.

Without knowing the exact trainer set-up it’s hard to diagnose or suggest a fix to make virtual power work better. But I can say that yes, a power meter or smart trainer would make these difficulties go away very quickly.

Hi Martin, this is the turbo trainer I have:
I did notice around the 40 minute mark that there was an increase in the resistance but wasn’t sure what the cause was until you mentioned it. I always thought the resistance was increased by gear change.
Maybe its time for a Smart Turbo, Thanks for the info and feed back Martin…

In the podcasts, I have heard them say on multiple occasions that if you have to choose between a smart trainer or a power meter to always go with the power meter because then you have power data for outside too.

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I had a fluid trainer with a power meter for a while, and found that I often had to drop into an easier gear and/or pedal at a lower cadence halfway through an interval to keep the power on target. If I just get pedalling the power went up and up.

A smart trainer takes away all this difficulty so all you have to do is just pedal, but as @Notso says, with a power meter you get to monitor your rides outside. Whichever feels more important to you.

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  • That would be the opposite of about every fluid trainer I have ever seen or used.
  • They typically get easier to pedal once they are up to temp, as the viscosity (resistance to flow) decreases with most fluids/oils in use like this.
  • That is more likely a result of fatigue on the body and is quite common. Maintain a load long enough, even a “manageable” one, and you will see HR and RPE increase over time.
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Thanks Notso.

Not mine!

Here’s an old workout from my fluid trainer. Yellow is cadence, pink is power:

Fatigue may still be playing a part but I’m pretty convinced that the trainer is ramping up the difficulty later on.


Yup, different trainers can give different results. As such, I’d tend to ignore it in this case unless he made a change in trainers for testing. Otherwise, assuming proper and consistent setup from test to test, I don’t see the trainer being a variable of concern WRT the original question (Where is his training going wrong?)

As above, testing only one day after what may have been a very taxing ride seems a likely source of the issue. I would take a long and hard look at the career (I skimmed it) and see if the training plan is being followed and how specifically each workout has felt/gone.

I think there is something entirely different at work there that is not equipment based. That seems like a red herring to me.

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What I have noticed over the past few months is and increase on my RHR… was average 42, now averaging 59. Since the increase in RHR there is a decrease in my FTP.
The setup is consistent from test to test. I noticed at 42 mins into Petit an Bald Knob there was an increase in HR.

I am not the expert at this part of the training world, but a consistent increase in RHR coupled with a decrease in FTP sounds a bit like over-training. There are probably a bunch of other questions and avenues to discuss, but I will leave those to others with more knowledge to help in that regard.

But I think reviewing things like RPE, sleep and recovery history, life stress, nutrition (changes?), weight fluctuations, and such are all things that could help fill in the picture here. Often, it’s not a single issue, but a grouping of them that lead to results like this.

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Thanks Chad, Looking back several months Oct, Nov and Dec I was in a very dark place. I suffer from Complex PTSD (25 Years Military).
All the issues you stated, medication changes, increase in weight 6kg! with no change in diet and many other factor that comes with PTSD.
I wasn’t sure whether it was a contrabuting factor 4 months on. I’m obviously still recovering hence the decrease in fitness levels. Thanks for the feedback its much appreciated. Will continue to monitor.


So sorry to hear of your troubles. I am no expert, but hope you can get help here and elsewhere for the training (and more important life issues) that will get you where you would like to be.

I am fortunate to not deal with mental illness myself, but have experienced it with others in my life, and know how difficult things can get.

I sincerely wish you the best as you move forward.

I want to do anything that I can in our small side of the world to help you if I can. Feel free to PM if that is more appropriate and I am always happy to lend my attention and ears to listen, or give some small guidance for training or anything else than can be of assistance.


Much appreciated Chad and thanks for the kind words. I beat myself up all the time when I don’t see results. I give it my all in all the Trg Road workouts and expect to see gains. Need to listen more to what my body’s telling me.