Outdid my FTP, now what?

Fairly new to endurance racing so signed up for the Whiteface 50k in preparation for a 100k mtb race later in the season. Started training early this year. FTP is 237.
Got to the race believing that race start was 8:00 and was surprised to hear the gun go off at 7:00, while I was still getting my stuff together. I jammed the rest of my stuff, and got going, starting last.
So, I stepped on it, caught the group, and managed to end up 34 out of 110 in the overall and 9th in my age group out of 20.
I had created a plan with Best Bike Split that had me at a NP of 189. My Garmin for the race had me at a NP of 225W.
My plan went out the window, and as long as I was feeling good I kept pushing. Finished 2:22:56 Garmin time, official gun time was 2:28:56.
In this process I discovered that I was capable of doing far more than I thought I could do, so not sure how to approach my next race which is a 100k?
Is my FTP artificially low? Doesn’t feel like it in training. I definitely liked the feeling of pushing hard, but don’t want to blow up either… How would you approach your next race with this knowledge? Thanks for any pointers and experience.
Some more data: Avg power 197W, Max Power 848W, Max avg power (20 mins) 240W, NP 225W, IF .949, TSS 213.3

What did this 20 minutes look like? If it was vaguely steady then that suggests your FTP could still be about right.

A few hard 30s to 60s efforts can really inflate your NP.

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Hard to tell honestly, this is data from my Garmin. Having said that I felt like I was pushing the whole race, and definitely at higher power numbers than what had been recommended from best bike split.

Looking at the data you present, I would suspect that you set your FTP too low. How did you determine your FTP?

You did a 2:20ish-hour effort at an IF of 0.95. While surges can inflate your NP, they also tend to command a price that needs to be paid later on during the race.

I would do the following: when your next threshold comes up, I would raise my FTP by 2 % (so about 242 W), perhaps 3 % (244 W) and see how you fare. Don’t be overly ambitious, but try to verify whether what you think your threshold is is actually your threshold power.

That’s common: I can push myself much harder during a race than during training. I never got even close to max HR in training, but I certainly did when racing.

Good FTP tests can be a curse, because you likely will have bad days on the bike when you are training … :wink: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Do a 20min test and target 250w. After 10mins, push up to 260+ if you can. Enough said

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Hey there and welcome to the TR community!

Nice job with the race – even if the start wasn’t ideal!!

I think I’d probably call this kind of effort an outlier, given the circumstances. You were probably already pretty pumped to go since you were at a race, and once you found out you had to rush off to catch up with the starters when they were leaving without you, that likely added to the adrenaline that must have been rushing through you.

I’ve been in a similar situation before – I didn’t miss my start, but I got a flat tire on lap 1 of a circuit race. I got a wheel change and set some solid power PRs trying to catch back on (I ultimately didn’t make it back to the pack :sweat_smile:), but it was a pretty exceptional effort. In other words, not something I’d have been able to do in my “normal” training.

If your FTP still feels appropriate when you’re training, I don’t think you should feel the need to change it. As @Helvellyn mentioned, hard surges can really bump up your NP. Seeing that your max average 20-minute power was about 240W also makes it seem like an FTP of 237W should be about right for you – but that also depends on how steady that effort was. It can be difficult to judge your FTP if your effort was very spikey.

In any case, this should be good data for Adaptive Training and AI FTP Detection to use – it does sound like you’re getting stronger as you train, so I wouldn’t be surprised if your next AI FTP Detection is an increase!

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Congrats on crushing a big race! You did amazing given the circumstances. :fire:

Are you new to cycling or just to long distance mtb racing? If you’re new to cycling, how was your FTP determined? Have you ever done a real FTP test? If not, how do you know your current FTP feels appropriate during training?

Look at the power graph data for that 20 mins. Shouldn’t be hard to tell.

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When I signed up to with TR I did a ramp test, but was new to a trainer, and I was using it for the first time, Erg mode. so I have had some suspicions that it could have been better

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Not new to cycling, but have been more interested in mtb skills, enduro, bikeparks, etc. I wanted to try something new that would be hard as a “Misogi” so signrd up for a 100k, and at the same time signed up for TR.
Used a ramp test to determine ftp, but was my first time on a trainer, so have wondered about the results… I will look at the graph, thanks for the suggestion.
I think the training is appropriate, because at times on harder Vo2, threshhold efforts, I feel like im working my butt off to complete some of these intervals, to include seeing my cadence drop, etc.

Good result - would have been no shortage of adrenaline when you realised they had set off without you!

If your ftp is set at 237 and the garmin data from the race says 20 mins highest average power was 240, I don’t see the need to change anything.

Stick to the plan, let the TR AI do its thing and think about things like nutrition and reading the start time more carefully :wink: for the longer race.

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If you really want to known test in a long (20 min or longer) test. If you want to know even better get wko and tackle your residuals after the long test

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Don’t start fiddling with your FTP as suggested above. Either trust the TR AI ftp numbers or do a longer format test and know for sure. Forget the ramp test.

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That’s why I only race with RPE. Data means nothing during the race.

I’d keep training the way you have been, and race like you just did.

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Ok so have attached chart photo for the 20 min effort. Looks spikey to me, but total noob at figuring this stuff out. Also data for power zones. I like the idea of sticking with my current plan, and ftp. Just not sure how to tackle next race based on ftp or as mentioned below on rpe, Honestly just want to maximize my effort without blowing up.

Thanks for any insights


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Thanks for sharing that – definitely helps!

That may not be as smooth as an FTP test on a trainer might be, but it’s not the spikiest power graph I’ve ever seen! I think it would be pretty fair to say that you could sustain that power in a steadier effort, too.

It does look like you were able to spend more time in your Anaerobic zone than I might expect, which could indicate that your FTP might be a touch low. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, however. Races often have more surging than training rides do, and it could also be possible that dipping into your Anaerobic zone repeatedly is a strength of yours.

Again, if your power has felt appropriate during your training rides, I don’t think you should worry too much about bumping your FTP up right away. The nice thing about AI FTP Detection is that it will look at all of your power data – from good days like this one, and from days where you might have struggled a bit more – to get a more complete picture of what your FTP might currently be.

I’d be hesitant to base your FTP off of a race effort that went well because they tend to be a bit more “exceptional,” as I explained earlier. If you adjusted your FTP up and it happened to be too high, it could lead to problems such as increased fatigue and incomplete workouts later on, which would hurt your consistency over time – which is ultimately the most important aspect of getting faster.

I like what @JSTootell said above – it sounds like your training has been going well, so keep doing what you’re doing! When it comes to your races, I do think it’s helpful to have a plan, but also try to lean on your RPE/how you’re feeling a bit more. If you have another day where you feel great like you did in this race, you can adjust your race plan to push a bit harder. If you happen to have a day where you feel like it’s more challenging to stick to your race plan, you can ease up a bit to avoid blowing up.

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Thank you Zack, I think I will do just that. Cheers! Charles

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Your 20min graph suggests that’s a pretty steady effort based on your NP and average power being quite close.

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Thanks, any tips/resources to learn how to interpret ride data?

Just the basics like
NP is a smoothing algorithm to try to account for the high variability in outdoor power data. It gives you an idea of the effort as if it was steady. NP is more informative that avg power in almost all cases when riding outdoors.

Intensity factor (IF) is your NP divided by ftp. It gives you an idea of how hard your ride was. 0.6 might be easy endurance, 1.2 would be very spiky criterium or something.

TSS factors in your NP, ftp, and duration. It basically gives you an idea of how quickly you will recover from the ride.

You can find a lot online, but a basic understanding of NP, IF, and TSS is probably all that’s relevant. The rest is getting into the weeds when you try to draw meaning from all the different metrics. If you combine ‘feel / RPE’ with NP from your power meter, you’ll know all you need to. Then get an idea of how fast you personally recover from a ride of some particular TSS. For example, I can ride day in day out with TSS <40. TSS closer to 100 I accumulate fatigue and will eventually need to take a day off or very easy to recover, etc

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I appreciate this, thank you super helpful