New TrainerRoad user with different Ramp & 20min FTP test results (long newbie post. sorry)

I’m hoping someone can tell if they’ve had a similar experience or what I’m doing wrong with the ramp test. There’s a lot I need to say before my questions. If you have time to read it, great. Thank you.

NOTE: I’m 48 and weight 178 pounds (~17-18% body fat), which is what I weighed in college 30 years ago.
NOTE 2: I calibrated my trainer before every FTP test.

The family and I endured a drawn out relocation for work which contributed to me adding 30 pounds over four years. After finally settling into our new home, I managed to lose 45 pounds between Oct '18 and June '19. This was accomplished by some dieting and doing cardio on an elliptical and a 30 year-old Lifecycle. I took it seriously because I would participating in my first ever bike race in March '19.

The Lifecycle was used as part of rehabilitation for knee surgery. During this rehab, I learned to minimize stress on my knee by using a 100 rpm cadence. I guess my body got used to it because the 95-105 cadence came right back.

After realizing my trusty old Lifecycle could no longer offer workouts that would keep me challenged, I joined TrainerRoad and purchased a Hammer 2 trainer.

In the morning, after answering the start-up questions that set my FTP, I took the ramp test. It seemed to go on forever and I wasn’t sure if I bailed out of frustration at minute 32 or what… FTP 200. Unsure about the result, I retook it that evening and got 212. Not feeling very good about that number based on a 26-mile gravel race result three months prior against people with much higher FTPs, I decided to take the old 20 minute FTP test the next day. I ended up with 239.

Based on my “A-race” timing and the work I had already put in, I skipped Sweet Spot 1 and did Sweet Spot 2 Mid. Set at 239, other than a few pauses for the odd restroom break, I completed every workout without failing. So onto the General Build Mid, which meant another Ramp Test. It yielded 221.
I rejected the result…

What gives?
Is it possible that I’m incapable of properly doing the Ramp Test?
Is it possible my aerobic fitness and high cadence, which might have helped the 20 minute test result, have left me unable to generate the real torque needed in a ramp test?
Should I just skip the Ramp and do the 20-min test? (That would suck.)

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

BTW - I’ve completed three weeks of General Build Mid set at 239. It’s a lot tougher than Sweet Spot 2 but I’m finishing everything well enough. I have a C-race this Sunday then a rest week. Then, I’m supposed to take another Ramp Test. Ugh.

Ramp test doesn’t always work for me, it often (but not always) underestimates. However the ramp test does seem to be a good test for setting a ceiling on max 5-minute vo2 power.

Its been discussed in various threads, and to summarize:

  • TR ramp test is a maximum aerobic power (MAP) based test
  • TR uses 75% of 1-minute power to estimate FTP

However there are outliers, some people might be at 70% and others might be at 80%

If the 20 minute test does a better job at estimating FTP, use it instead of the ramp test! Or find a better % and use it to manually override FTP estimate. Maybe 78% of 1-minute best power from ramp is a more accurate estimate for you.

assuming both were good tests, that means:

  • ramp test 1-minute power was 212/.75 = 283W
  • a better ramp test % is 239/283 = 84% (283 * .84 = 239W)

Given my hit or miss ramp tests (one ramp test needed a 88% multiplier!!!), I still do them but instead of estimating FTP they are used as a “best case” benchmark for 5-min vo2max power (and not for setting training zones).

Hmm. That’s helpful.
I guess this is just another tweak…
Thank you for your response!