Losing ground after base

I just finished SSBMV1 and today I took the ramp test. I lost ground. I went from 255 to 238. I was afraid this was going to happen since I could feel the fatigue in my quads. I flew through six weeks without much problem at all, finishing every workout as planned.

Here’s my question: I have skinny legs. Riding with friends over the years I realized that I’m more of an endurance athlete. Not surprising given my generally thin build. I have no sprint. I feel as though the continual over unders are fatiguing my fast twitch fibers to a larger extent than most other athletes. Even today, I feel I could have nailed 270 watts for twenty plus minutes but as soon as I got over 300, my quads started to freeze up. Also, I simply could not drive my heart rate into the threshold zone which I equate with beat down and dead type two fibers. In previous years, my best single day performance followed 4 or more days of complete rest.

Am I a mis-informed junior physiologist or does this resonate with other peoples experience?

I’d venture to say you haven’t lost any ground, it was just a bad test. Hopefully someone more knowledgable will chime in and correct me if I’m wrong, but after seeing several folks seemingly indicate they lost ground after SSB, I would say it’s probably pretty unlikely that someone would decrease in FTP after a phase of SSB training.
As a personal example, I’m really bad at the ramp tests, I came off SSB1 HV in which I did all my workouts based on 275w FTP, my ramp test suggested 268, but I knew my workouts got progressively easier, so I increased to 285 and have successfully completed all workouts in SSB2 HV (and I’m currently in week 5 and these workouts also feel way easier).
So stick with 255, or even try and increase yourself to 260 and see how you fare with some of the SSB2 workouts.


I agree. I am having the same experience. From someone who is on his third season with TR I stand by my assertion that the SSB plan from 3 seasons ago was a better plan. For me at least. Others may differ.

1 Like

Glad to hear I’m not alone. I’m taking a couple days off before re-testing and I’m pushing back SSB2 until next week. I see no harm in a rest week. If my retest continues to disappoint, I’ll keep my FTP the same and move forward.

Too much fatigue I suspect. I’d make sure you have sufficient recovery.


Thanks for that. I’m in the same boat as above. I think I’ll try increasing it a bit and see what happens.

That sounds like you’re just fatigued to me. How has your rest and recovery been?


Thanks for the input. At 47, I’m thinking I need more rest and recovery in my plan on a weekly basis. I was able to finish the six weeks without interruption but none of the workouts took me anywhere near 300w. As soon as I hit 300 on the ramp test my legs just sort of froze. I’m taking this week off and then I’ll readdress the test.

Over-unders are a threshold level, sustained workout that are designed to push you beyond your aerobic capabilities (FTP), then let you recover, and then hit it again. They’re designed to really load your muscles, and give you practice “flushing” them out over and over again, bur they aren’t really a fast-twitch workout. These workouts are tough for everyone, but they are effective.

Were you going over 300 in an over-under workout? That doesn’t sound right. Most over-under workouts are between 95% and 105% and with an FTP of 255, 300 watts is nearly 120% FTP. This would be squarely in a VO2 max zone, which really should cause your legs to feel heavy. You should only be able to hold an effort level that high for 1.5-3 minutes tops.

It seems like you are just experiencing fatigue that has caused you to underperform on the Ramp test, so the best thing you can do is take a few more days of easy rides and then jump into SSB II at your FTP of 255. If you continue to feel overly fatigued, you may need to consider switching to a lower volume plan, or dropping one ride per week.

Happy training!


Thanks for the help. It really is much appreciated. Here’s an update from my ramp test today. Pre TR, my first FTP was 255, which was very consistent with one hour power and a 20 min test on Zwift in that year. Over unders were fairly easy after week two and my HR never really reached into the threshold HR during the over unders through week six. My first ramp test after SSBMV1 yielded 230-ish as described above. I took four days off and tried the ramp test again today. I had nothing above 300w at all and ended up at 227 FTP (physically and psychologically). I was able to drive my HR into mid threshold range but not much beyond. I’m going to plug 250 into the app and go ahead with the second phase of SSBMV2. I’ve not lost hope as I’ve never focused entirely on base in my cycling career.

As a side note, this is the first year in many in which I did not do leg workouts over the winter in the gym. I figured this plan would be fatiguing enough on its own.

Some people just don’t Ramp Test well. I’m one of them. I’m going to give it another shot tomorrow and see what happens but as a rule I generally test about 5-8% lower on the ramp test versus the 8 minute test. It would be interesting to see if your longer effort tests would come back more in line.