I’m curious to see if any other cyclists have pectus excavatum and how that’s affected their journey to get faster with TrainerRoad. If that sounds like you, please share your experience and whatever data you feel comfortable divulging.
I’ll go first:
I was born about 41 years ago with a bowl-shaped indentation in my chest. My parents were worried that it would have a negative impact on my heart/lung function as I grew up, so I had surgery before I started kindergarten.
Even after the surgery, my chest still dips in a bit and it appears that I have less room for heart and lungs “up there” than a “normal” person.
After almost 2 years on TrainerRoad, I’m struggling with existential questions about my cycling potential, and wondering how the volume of my chest cavity might play into things.
In 2019, I followed the low volume plans and brought my FTP up from 185 in January to a peak of 205 in November. I routinely finished in the bottom 25% of my Cat 4 cyclocross races (despite being modestly faster than I was as a Cat 5 on the same courses), picked up zero upgrade points throughout the course of the season, and capped things off by beating several guys in the non-championship race for my age group at #cxnats.
After taking December off the bike and doing some running, I started 2020 with an FTP of 185 watts (thought it was a bad day-retested twice, and nope-that’s where I was at). I followed mid-volume plans this year with more consistency and my FTP is currently around 220 watts (3.4 w/kg).
On one hand, I’m stronger than I was last year, so yay! #progressnotperfection
On the other hand, I feel like I’m way behind anyone else (figuratively, since without racing we’re all just sitting on trainers in our own homes) who did almost a full year of TR mid-volume plan.
I feel like I can do all the sweet spot workouts, no problem. Long VO2 and threshold intervals are more challenging, and those are the ones where I’m more likely not able to maintain the prescribed power.
I’m almost done with my 4th build phase, and have yet to experience a big FTP increase (more than 5 watts) after a build block of training (even when my compliance to the plan is very high). It feels like half the time, my ramp test results drop after the first half of a build plan and then recover to right around where I started by the end of the build period.
Since I have no idea how much of a limiting factor the physical structure of my chest might be, I’m hoping that there’s a few other cyclists in a similar condition who can chime in and help create a data set that’s more than just my experience.