Over 60- FTP and Real World

I have been riding for several years, but only started group rides this year at age 64.

I just signed up on TR and did the Ramp FTP test which yielded a pathetic 165 FTP.

I belong to a fairly elite cycling club . The regular Saturday morning rides are 66 miles , I managed an average of 21.1 mph. Still the slowest of the group. The slightest inclines , and I drop. My endurance is good , and I can recover quickly once I catch up.

I am working on increasing my FTP with TR, Zwift and outdoor rides. I am frustrated that even with my improved average mph that my FTP is so low. I think if I can push it up with training to around 200, I won’t get dropped anymore.

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Welcome to the forum. For reference, there is an existing 60+ topic that is likely worth a look to see what is already shared & discussed:

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No worries with an FTP less than 200. TR will have you increasing that over time. My first ramp test was really low compared to what Garmin had estimated. I like you rode only outside. My normal rides had many short steep hills. Power graph looked like a seismograph in an earthquake. I was faster than the youngsters on hills but long flats were tough. So I would yo-yo from back to front on those group rides. With TR structure you will get better all round.

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I’m 61 I started trainer road a few years ago . I think the most important thing is to keep being consistent . Nutrition and recovery are key . I raced in my thirties and then came back to cycling at higher volume in my late 50s . At 60 i decided to start racing again . Like you i needed to build my ftp and i think TR has taught me so much about training . Mainly just how hard I could go and how easy , easy should be . I never did structured training when i raced in my thirties I just beat myself up and hoped to recover . It took two years to go from 168 to 215 in my case . Now I am just trying to stay consistent and continue to build a few watts every month . Some people build much faster but may also be more genetically gifted . Ill take it where i can get it ! Also ftp is only part of the picture . Using a structured plan like hilly road race will give you the ability to ride for longer at or near your ftp . This translates into fitness gains that matter on the road . Good luck with your progress

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like they say on the youtube/podcast, consistency will prevail. I’m 61 and coming back from injury but when I started TR I tested at 199 (2 years ago) and last July did a ramp test and was at 240. Stay with it and you’ll see a lot of gains over time.

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You’ll get faster. However, i’m pretty sure your strength will remain in endurance and not in vo2max.

I ‘m 52 and i’ve increased my ftp significantly using TR to the point it’s getting close to my 5min power. Now i keep bumping into that ceiling.

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I wish TR would just finally embrace and come out with some masters’s programs. I’m 55 and on the XCO plan, it is very V02 max heavy. Support says it is for the very punchy and aggressive XC races…but the XC races in the masters categories are not like that…they are the opposite. More like short endurance races. Master’s athletes strengths are their endurance…you become more of a deisel engine…slow to start but super steady in the long run. It would be nice if we could get some programs tailored to us with the new increased fees.

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I’m 60. Take a look at the polarized plans. I think they’re a good fit for masters.

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I’m doing AT after years of doing the standard plans. If it were really adaptive training it would know my age and apapt to that metric. So AT is designed around what age? We don’t know that…but age makes a huge difference.

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i don’t think it’s a considered factor but it should.
All my wo are starting to be the same : SS, vo2max and threshold are all hitting the same vo2max ceiling.

FWIW I’m 40 and struggle with TR’s intensity, and the way it neatly always defaults to harder and harder workouts over time. Masters programs are a huge opportunity for them, but there’s a total block there, for some reason. It’s why I now have a coach.

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The first flag I noticed “fairly elite cycling club”. You may also want to look for a second group where the cyclists are the riders are about the same ability. Your FTP will rise over time. I am 72 and have used TR for many years. One of my goals is to keep up with you young 60 years olds. It is important to pay attention to the TR calendar for you. Also, nutrition on the bike is wicked important. Trial and error. I count my calories per hour, about 250 - 300. It’s easy. 100 c for a bottles, 100 calories per gel flask squeeze, and so on. Plus listen to the TR podcast. One of the most beneficial suggestions I got was eat every 30 minutes. I do this no matter if I am barely hanging on the back or going easy on the flats. Most important to me. I only ride with a MIPS certified helmet and replace it every two to three years.

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The older you get the more important it becomes to maintain intensity. With vo2max it’s very much use it or lose it

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I believe (though I may be misremembering and/or oversimplifying) that relatively recent research suggested that masters athletes who are able to maintain both volume and intensity lost more like 2-3% of VO2 max a decade (on average, of course) than the often-quoted 10%. Doing that with gradually dwindling recovery sources is obviously much easier said than done (and a bit OT), but nonetheless…

Certainly, my father (though he never had a power meter) got a faster 25 mile TT at 63 than at 55, probably simply because after retiring at 60, he got a lot more miles in!

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@Nberk,

I’m 63 (155 Lbs) and riding much more since I’m retired (14,000 miles in 2022). The good news is that - while getting older - my Ftp increased up to 266 watts back in October 2022 when I decreased my volume for 2 months. I was mainly doing club rides without any structure, only for fun.
I joined TR in December 2022 after 2 years of using WahooX and Rouvy at 244 watts and I’m already at 252 after Base 1 High Volume plan (with a target of 280 in June this year when I’ll be participating in an UCI qualification race in my age category.
So, as long as I follow a structured plan and that I’m serious about my nutrition, I still see progress. The same will probably apply to you!

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Some people just don’t do well on tests, hence the AI FTP detection that TR instituted. I have had good and bad results on test days, usually its a mental block. I have repeated testing on days that I felt better and really concentrated on pushing past the pain. Results have usually been better. Another way to monitor your fitness is how do you feel during each workout (make sure you answer the question in the career are after each workout), that way you and the program will have an understanding of the current FTP.

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I’m 60 and still getting faster every year. I a lot of Zone 2 in addition to the rest of my training. I believe it’s important for older athletes to maintain (or build) mitochondrial density and Z2 is best for that. I love TR but I haven’t found a pure Z2 workout in the TR archive so I make my own using easy TR endurance workouts and adjusting intensity up into Z2. The key is never venturing above Zone 2 during a dedicated Zone 2 session because lactic acid apparently inhibits development of mitochondria. Watch Tadej Pogacar’s conditioning coach, Dr. San Milan, explain it to Dr. Peter Atilla: thttps://youtu.be/-6PDBVRkCKc

I used to rip rides in college, and moved to a very bike-unfriendly town and stopped riding. For years.

Now, I’m 62 and pushing a hip replacement and some surgery excursions, so ‘real life’ is what it is. I could kick myself to the moon and back because I quit riding (it was self preservation) and for stopping running (had the biggest neuroma the podiatrist had ever seen) and for marrying a woman that hated to ride bikes (she seemed like a good choice at the time).

But in the end, currently, I have a 233 FTP, and pre-pandemic, used to ride 6 to 7 days a week and ranged between 60 and 180 minute rides.

But, am I going to get faster? Not likely. My days of 300+ FTP are gone, and I’m not sure if it was even possible, my body would survive it. And I have a clean bill-of-health. All of my doctors have said I will outlive them. My resting heart rate is in the low 50’s. I still ride at least 5 days a week, still often 7.

I was in a number of the local club’s ride groups, and would struggle in the wicked winds we have in the spring/summer. I have been advised to ride with the ‘old people’ many times before but the ‘old people’ can drop me too with their dogged determination (they say we will ride x speed, and they ride that speed, for an hour. Kills me…

I have found that zone 2, 3, and 4 rides have really helped. I think the ones that have the over FTP intervals with sweet spot ‘recovery’ really help, but those are painful too. I figure I need to coax that FTP to go higher, and prove to my body that I can go hard, and go almost hard and use that as a recovery. But I know at least I can’t push that hard continuously. I have a few workouts that I do ex-TR that are slightly less punishing that the ones on TR. So I rip them when I feel I can get them. I mean, in this year’s TdZ, I have blown away most of my previous PR’s, and it’s fun, but it sure bites hard too. I once asked a cardiologist that I was consulting with, ‘when will I have to slow down’. He thought about it for a while, and said that I would know. So far, I don’t know how much my own knowledge that I’m still only human and that I’m still not dead will play out. I do LOVE riding. I DO love sweating and suffering, and it IS fun (only indoors) and I do enjoy it, but who knows what the future holds.

I guess all this comes down to what I think about my situation. I ride ‘a lot’. I often try to take the higher of the productive workouts, and then try riding them ‘lighter’ if I have issues doing the whole thing. I don’t ride outside much (the weather is horrific here) but have nearly decimated Zwift. I figure I’ve transformed into a lab rat and am trying to be the best lab rat I can be.

I rambled, and hope some of it might help.

Basically DO NOT stop riding. Do NOT stop trying to be better, but realize that ‘better’ might mean a couple of points on the FTP. My previous was 227, so I improved 6. The Tour de France is safe from me. My wife asked me why I ride and train so hard: ‘For the next Mrs’. She usually laughs…

Ride ON!!

On a related note: a friend that was older than me said that I shouldn’t be so discouraged because as I get older and if I can keep riding like I do, I will start winning races. He said that when he was in his 40’s, he would be in the top 10% of that age class and still not podium, but when he hit the early 60’s, he stared winning races. We both laughed. shrug

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I’m 54 and started mountain biking in the summer of 2018. I ride with a big diversity of riders and aspire to have a power to weight that will allow me to stay with the stronger guys. They are all younger and have been riding a lot longer but I have been working at it hard and riding indoor and outdoor hard. I recently started worrying about protein for the first time ever and in December started consuming 1.6g per kg daily as well as working in resistance training. I am still way low in the w/kg because I weigh 190 but I feel like I am making progress! I love the AI FTP because I cannot stand a ramp test. Last two readings below are AI. I have been declining Garmin saying new detected at 235 for a few weeks because I want to follow TR guidance.

|16-Jul-18|139|
|29-Dec-18|140|
|09-Jan-19|142|
|20-Jan-19|166|
|16-Feb-19|168|
|15-Dec-20|196|
|09-Nov-21|191|
|02-Feb-22|203|
|17-Oct-22|207|
|01-Dec-22|211|
|30-Dec-22|219|

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