How do I know if I have a strong base?

I’d never really attempted to ride longer than 30 mins or so near threshold until recently, and having done a similar thing to Kolie Moore’s tests a couple of times and found a more accurate value for my FTP, I’ve realised that threshold really shouldn’t leave you absolutely dead. If it does, your pacing/estimation of FTP has been poor - which is actually the difficulty that has led to the ramp test…that and many find longer tests more daunting or mentally taxing.

As it happens, I’m one of those people who can absolutely ruin myself on a ramp test (hence why it overestimates for me) and can barely turn a pedal even for the cooldown!

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I don’t think my base is really that great, but I end up with negative decoupling on all of my long rides. Both steady rides at 70% FTP and rides with long intervals into the tempo zone.

Thx. How long does the ride need to be? I don’t have a PM on my outside bikes, so would need to do the ride indoors. My usual indoor ride is 60mins, sometimes 90. @bbarrera - you suggest 2 hrs.

Friel (who might know a thing or two :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) says “for cycling I use two to four hours of steady AeT exercise as the common range.”

Is 60-90 mins long enough of an endurance ride to get good data? E.g. if I did a 60 min ride at 60-65% of FTP, could I take the power decoupling between the 2nd and 3rd 20 min intervals and use that as a metric to track over my plan?

What about a ride with two successive 20 min sweet spot intervals? Could that also work?

Ideally, I’d like to be able to get good data from an indoor ride I’m already doing as part of a plan, instead of adding a new 2+ hr test (per my comment above to @isaac124)

Looks like I need to start using :+1:t3:

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if you have higher decoupling (>5%) on a steady 60-90 minute endurance/tempo ride then no point going longer on the test (length of training rides for a different subject). You might want to start with something like Muir or similar. I made my own “Mesa Aerobic” rides at 56% and 60% as quick “check-ins” when doing easy endurance rides during the week. Took Lazy Mountain -1 into Workout Creator and extended length and adjusted power.

The reason for the lower power targets is to make them a more suitable replacement for rides like Wednesday’s Pettit (39 TSS, 60-70%) in SSB-2 MV.

I’ve looked at decoupling on shorter intervals but remember this is about aerobic endurance, and more specifically when enough slow twitch muscle fibers “quit” that you start recruiting less efficient fast twitch. So to really answer the question you need to go long, and how long will depend on your physiology and current conditioning.

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I think @bbarrera has posted a good TR specific reply. I have read “a little bit longer than your target event” for how long the ride needs to be. I don’t know if doing similar intervals would work.

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I really prefer to do long testing outside, like the ride I gave you. Those rides are not TR specific. Just go out and ride steady at upper endurance (70-75%) or tempo (76-80%). I’ve done a few long rides at upper tempo / lower sweet spot (85%-92%) but after two hours I need to stop for water and refueling. But around 75% of FTP its possible to take 3 water bottles (24 oz) filled with Gu Roctane and go for 4 hours without stopping.

Here’s a ride from last week - 2 x 20 min intervals at 90%. Decoupling of 3%.

I’ll play around with endurance rides like Mesa also and see what they say.

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Looks familiar :slight_smile: I’ve looked for years on answering the “strong base” question. Data mining of all sorts of metrics in WKO, reading articles, etc. At this point my answer is “I’ll know it when I have it” which might not be what you want to hear but its the truth.

From a training restart it took 8 weeks of trad base 1 and 2 to achieve 0% decoupling on a 2 hour tempo interval, but I most definitely did not (late Oct) and do not (early Dec) have a strong base.

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Hitting 3x30 minutes at sweet spot and doing a long ride(like 6 hours) seem like they are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. When riding indoors it is very easy to maintain a steady zone 2 but that is not really the case outdoors.

This was almost a 100 mile ride this August. There were some showers and strong winds. Unfortunately my HRM wasn’t working but my average HR felt like it was around 154bpm.

I stayed in sweetspot for less than 30 minutes so again that is an indication of not having a strong base .
I am planning to start SSB LV1 towards the end of January and will be doing some unstructured riding until then.

I also don’t have any specific event goals but want to be a faster cyclist. I am starting to hit the gym nowadays and planning maintain the strength during the summer. However, I will be able to ride outdoors on a regular basis by late April or May(if the weather permits) or June by latest and plan to take an off season break for 2 weeks next November. I want to start doing longer rides during the weekends by doing the weekend sweetspot workout from the SSB LV plan and adding zone 2 after the workout to simulate outdoor riding. Will this lead to a mental burnout or overtraining as I enter the outdoor season? Or more appropriately, when is the best time to start ramping up the mileage in such a way that it will not lead to a mental and a physical burnout? now has decoupling for individual intervals as well as warmup and cool down time for the whole ride decoupling charts.


I created a custom workout to estimate aerobic decoupling:

It uses two 90% ftp x 30 mins intervals for the calculation which isn’t ideal but makes the workout fit my time constraints. I just finished SSBLV and did the workout to establish a base/comparator calculation for me. This way I can do this before every Build phase to make sure I am at least as aerobically fit to start as I am now. I understand the nature of thr test makes it hard to compare results to others or to use the result as anything other than a relative comparator rather an absolute descriptor of fitness.


Any results yet from this approach?

Too early to tell. I just did the base/comparator calculation yesterday. I think the real test will come after the summer season of reduced indoor training and increased (unstructured) outdoors riding. I will do the test again and see how it compares to the base I just established yesterday. That should give me an indication of variance of my own decoupling at two different levels of fitness. I am also planning a vacation in March during which I will probably lose some fitness. That can be another measurement point.

To establish the base I was careful to keep my average cadence/resistance without change between the two intervals, as increasing cadence shifts burden away from the muscles to the aerobic system. That could interfere with the calculations.

For sure. I did 2x20 last week at cadence in the low 80s, and HR was about 5 bpm lower vs the same workout I did earlier in the year with cadence in the low 90s. Decoupling % was the same between both however.

A good test requires no specific recovery. It’s just part of training. A proper 30 - 45 minute test is actually easier than a lot of workouts.

the goal should be way beyond that, and higher %. 3 x 30m at 93-94% would be great, or if you’re at 90% FTP, at least 60 minutes continuous, depending on level of cyclist



sick work. The key is that you’ve only been riding 1.5 years. You have so much room to grow aerobically. Zone 2 work will help you, especially on rides where it starts to feel hard and you keep pushing it (as long as HR doesn’t creep up towards z3). Once that happens you can back off a bit, or get a bit of tempo in, but don’t do too much; it’s sneakily fatiguing over the long haul.

keep riding and having fun!!!


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Will share a “test” I have found useful over time.

Warm up and do 8 min all out. For me, 85% of that number is historically very close to FTP.

That is the first step of the test. Second step is to recover for 5-10 minutes then ride 20-30 min at 80-85% of your 8 min value.

If you can’t ride for 20-30 min at your “FTP” then whatever number you are using is not your FTP and you probably don’t have a good foundation established and need to work on that.

For me, I would typically hit 280-295 on the 8 min test and then ride the half hour at 240. 40km TT averages when in that type of condition would be 235-240w AP with times in the 56-58 range.

For cycling, you really can’t have too much base or foundation. It takes years of consistent riding to accumulate a true deep and durable “base”.

As a young rider, Consistency over time is what you are after.




Cheers. At the moment my fitness has decreased after taking two weeks completely off the bike. I am currently lifting weights and doing some unstructured riding (I don’t want to do too much too soon as the season is long). I feel like my FTP has decreased to 270 or so but I am confident that I can get it back soon.

I will be choosing a low volume plan as I have completed century LV this fall and I was able to stick to it despite having 15 hours per week to train. The rest of the rides were all endurance(z2+z3) group rides.
A slight change will be to maintain the strength which I have gained by going to the gym once a week.
So my plan which I built through the plan builder will be SSB LV1 > SSB LV2 > Sustained Power Build LV . I am not really sure if I want to do the specialty phase as I have never followed a complete base-build-specialty cycle and it seems like base training makes a huge difference.

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Good plan. Have fun with it. If you have opportunity to go long on weekends go for it. Developing group ride skills can be a good use of that time too.

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