Mixing group rides with sweet spot base

I took off four weeks in October for hand surgery then started Sweet Spot Base Low Vol. Five weeks into indoor base training, my doctor cleared me to ride outdoors, so I joined a weekend group ride with fast riders that I know well and never have trouble keeping up with. After four weeks off the bike followed by five weeks of Sweet Spot Base, I was barely hanging on to the group ride. It’s a punchy ride and my legs were completely unprepared for so many intense bursts way above threshold. Is that normal? Does offseason base training always mean a temporary loss of short power that I’ll get back later? Also am I hurting my longer term results by going off script like this on weekends?

Sounds a bit abnormal. Has your FTP changed since surgery? I’d expect a bump upwards, is this your first season of indoor training?

Can you compare NP on these rides before and after surgery?

Also feel free to swap a weekend ride for a group ride. There shouldn’t be too much difference.

Are you doing more intensity and/or volume than you were doing previously? It could just be that the structured workouts you’re doing now are more taxing, so you are going into the group ride more fatigued.

That being said, “lost” fitness generally comes from the pointy end first. Base takes the longest to develop but tends to stick around, while top end speed can be honed over a shorter timeframe but tends to be more “use it or lose it”.

I wouldn’t sweat it. You’re not compromising results unless fatigue from the group ride isn’t totally smashing you and killing your ability to hit the rest of your planned workouts. If you keep joining the group rides, you’ll tune up that VO2/sprint fitness that you need for it just by showing up. Regardless, you’ll hit those efforts soon enough once you get into SSBII.

What you have to consider it what the group riders are doing. They could have been doing lots of these rides and efforts while you were injured and only doing base so it’s bound to mean a performance disparity.

I think fatigue from SSB Week Five is part of the issue. Hard to imagine given the relatively low intensity of sweet spot work but it does seem to build up when you do it three days a week consistently. My ill-fated Saturday morning group ride followed a Thursday night Tallac workout (TSS 74) so I didn’t wake up Saturday with fresh legs. Thanks for the advice. Will try the group ride again this weekend after an easy Week Six of SSB.