Legs are there, but getting out of breath

Hi all,

First post here, so not sure if I am doing it the way or on the right section - apologies in advance if addicting is not right.

Just a week ago I embarked on the Trainerroad journey, and so far I love it (and also a fan of the podcast).
I do have a bit of a problem though, and hoping to hear your advice on the situation…

First some background : started cycling about 3 years ago, from zero to actual racing last summer…
I am 43, about 90 kg and 182 cm (dropped 28 kg in the last 3 years, exclusively due to cycling).
When I started I had zero fitness, but also no power meter. Average per year I ride about 10k km. This year at the beginning, I figured my FTP was around 250. Decided to take it to the next level, got a coach and prepared for a race in August. My FTP just before the race was solid 302 W, had plenty of PB. Race went better than planned!
Since then however life got on the way and I reduced the training from 6 days a week to max 3 (change of jobs, lots of stress).
A week ago signed up for trainerroad, and there the first thing is to do Ramp test. To my surprise it came out as 266!

With all that background information, here is my question… During the ramp test, I felt I had a lot more left in my legs, but I was getting out of breath - so that was my limiting factor. It’s there any logical explanation? What would be your advice on the training plan? I can do 5-6 training sessions a week, no problem.
My main goal for the next year is to go 40k TT as fast as I can, but with this FTP drop I am not sure if it’s feasible…
A bit about my equipment and environment :

  • S-WORKS Venge
  • Tacx Neo 2
  • I live in the flattest part of the world, can ride 200 km with 50 m elevation gain
    (so, no, it is not my equipment’s fault - clearly it is me :slight_smile:)
  • How exactly did you figure this?
  • Did you use the Neo or some other method and test protocol?

In general, you can follow this plan info:

Thanks for replying, Chad!
I tested multiple times, both indoors and outdoors. For consistency I am using my Faveros Duo as the only power source.
Testing, indoors I typically did Ramp test on Zwift (back then I was not Trainerroad user) and outdoors 20 minutes (of course with the respective warm up, 5 minutes max effort and then 20 minutes paced as much as possible). This is how I knew 250, this is how I knew 302 and of course everything in between.

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OK. Mixing results from different test protocols (Ramp vs 20m) and locations (inside vs outside) is not ideal. As much as we’d like those to be directly comparable, they are not.

  • Simple cooling and motivation can lead to 10% or more variation inside and outside.
  • And as is shown via the many discussions here, people have difference experiences and results between the Ramp and other FTP tests, even when all other variables are maintained the same.

So, I would ignore the variation and history to some extent. Use the same measuring stick (test protocol) and location, and only compare those directly.

Back to your primary question (legs vs cardio), there are people better equipped to cover that, but my estimate is that you are lacking in the VO2max range. It may mean you are hitting your top end aerobic limit before muscle fatigue sets in.

You may benefit from a focus on VO2max work for a bit to try and raise that “ceiling”. There are posts around here that have some guidance about doing VO2max training blocks.

Baring that, you will likely get good VO2max work in the course of the training plan shown above. Sweet Spot Base Phase 2 in particular gets a fair bit of work in that area. It continues into Sustained Power Build Phase.

Hopefully someone else can cover that aspect and correct any errors I may have shared.

Thanks a lot, all you just said makes perfect sense!

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