Greetings from a newbie
Bit of background to frame my questions:
I’m a novice and relatively unfit beginner to cycling. Just started (4 weeks or so into) my TR membership (albeit a 1 year+ TR podcast listener) - no previous structured cycling training experience whatsoever. Been riding a road bike for just around 2 and half to 3 years - started with a cheap hybrid then enjoyed it so much I took the plunge and bought a proper road bike in the summer of 2017. No riding experience before that apart from as a kid. (I’m 46 now). Strava estimated my FTP as 220-ish about 2 years ago. I bought a power meter (Stages Gen3) from my bike in September last year and shortly after that did a 2x8 minute road FTP test - came out at 289. A further road FTP test showed 320 in January and a 20 minute road test in March showed 322. Around May I tried the TR Ramp test on my friend’s Wattbike Atom and it came out at 332.
I’m 6’3 and 98Kg (215lbs) at around 22% Bodyfat. I’ve dropped from 268lbs when I first got on a bike about 3 years ago. Mileage and volume wise I haven’t done a lot - albeit this year has been my biggest - I’m likely to exceed my 5k miles target by around 800 miles - I only did 3400 in total last year in comparison.
My power curve (from the Stages data) is disappointing for my bodyweight. Peak numbers this year are Peak-1716, 2s-1530, 5s-1330, 30s-966, 1min-726, 5min-428, 10min-372, 20min-339, 1hr-261, 2hr-234. This compares unfavourably W/Kg wise to my cycling friends of a similar age - in particular the numbers beyond 20 minutes where I feel I am particularly weak in sustaining any power - I enjoy short blasts probably because my weight counts against me less in those circumstances.
Goals wise - I recognise my biggest limiting factor is my bodyweight and my goal in this regard is to get back to what I was around 7 years ago - which was just over 14 stone (198lbs / 90kg) at around 15% BF. without losing any power.
I am also aiming to realise improvements in my sustained power through the TR programmes - which was one of the main motivations to joining up.
- Structured training is so much more challenging than I had expected
- TR podcast has helpfully explained and answered many questions I may otherwise have had
- TR forum seems to be a mine of useful (and friendly) information
- The constant peddle pressure required from ERG mode is taking me a lot longer to get used to than I anticipated - and feels a great deal harder
- The Wattbike ATOM seems to work pretty well (so far) with the TR App on my iPad mini - albeit I’ve succumbed to the spiral of doom a few times and ran out of gas when my cadence dropped too low
I put my 332 FTP in from the ramp test I did last May - mainly as it seemed sensible to use the TR based number and plus although I’d done a number of short course Crits (mid pack finishes at best) and tough (for me) climbs over the summer and felt my power and fitness had gone up, I wanted to begin super-cautiously.
I then (after experiencing the first efforts on the Wattbike in ERG mode) reevaluated this and opted to drop my FTP to 310 after feedback from friends that generally they had all also experienced indoor numbers being lower than road numbers across the board - but 300w indoors still feels like 350w would on the road to me so I’ve had to use the intensity control to drop the numbers again - I seem to cope better with shorter intervals than longer ones. The ‘intensity’ is set to 100% for all rides on the Wattbike - not sure if this is what it’s supposed to be but it seems logical?
My question is - is this normal for someone in my relatively unfit state or am I doing something completely wrong? Connected to this - would I be better to simply reset my FTP to a lower number again (say 295 or 300) and then just take it from there, or stick with it and just flex the intensity when I am feeling like I’m going to fall off the pace?
My concern is that looking at my TSS scores historically (TR took all my old ride data from Strava) the TSS for the 4 weeks I have been on the SSB LV plan is significantly lower than I have had before. Or do I need to just accept I may have to go backwards a bit in order to then go forwards in terms of fitness?
My Strava ‘fitness’ score has dropped from 63 on 08 September to 46 now - should I be concerned or is this just a meaningless number?
I ride on the trainer during the week and had intended to keep Weekends free for an outdoor ride however the weather and other circumstances have limited this so I’ve only been able to add in a road ride a couple times since starting the programme.
Thanks in advance