Ramp Test Drop 20W High Volume SSB1 (274W to 255W)

I am super disappointed, confused, frustrated and outright angry. My block was going really well, I had to take only two days off due to overreaching towards the end but I bounced right back. I was getting noticeably fitter, even during my worst sessions I wasn’t suffering anywhere near as much - and on my best sessions I was barely having to put effort in. Had I not been such a sucker for the testing science I would have bumped my FTP up 10-15 watts manually.

The only two things I can think have affected it this much are the following;

  • For my recovery week last week I did only 4 out of 6 rides and 300tss instead of the recommended 400tss.
  • It was fairly warm today, 23C, but not much warmer than when I did my last test 6 weeks ago at ~18C.

As I have never coped well with the heat, I think it is this which has screwed me over the most.

I have been doing all of my training outdoors in 10C-20C temperatures. I was thinking of doing all my structured training indoors for the future to get used to the heat.
(If I do complete all of my training indoors for the future I will be resetting my training plan to not accumulate the increased level of stress that comes from the turbo)

Those of you who also suffer/suffered from the heat - what can I try in order to help acclimate to the heat other than indoor training?

  1. Where and how did you originally test to establish your first FTP, (including what devices you used to measure power)?
  • That is interesting, and makes me wonder if you were “under training”? But that depends highly on the first question above. If you tested inside, and trained outside (with the difference that commonly exist) you may have been underloading vs the inside FTP test result.
  1. You trained exclusively outside, with the FTP obtained from #1, and using the same power device?

  2. Then you tested inside with the Ramp Test (devices the same as #1 & #2)? If so how “Good” is your inside setup?

    • Insufficient cooling, poor motivation, difference of a fixed trainer, trainer inertia vs outside, can all be factors that impact results inside vs outside.

Essentially, we need to know more about the specific variables from start to right now, to learn more about potential influences.

Hi,

I had the same experience after SSB HV (both parts), I think it was due to lack of VO2max efforts which is a big part of Ramp Test for me. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. My gains showed up after some high intensity workouts during Build

edit: edited to be more personal than general

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  1. The next step would typically be SSB2, not Build. But the specifics can vary with Plan Builder depending on the particular options chosen.

  2. No one can guarantee any change, up or down, in FTP from one phase to the next. There are WAY too many potential influences to know if someone will see change, and by how much. Suggesting specific values for improvement is a mistake and full of presumptions.

Sure. I reffered to my n=1 experience and it shouldn’t be generalized (as I did) and SSB was meant as both parts.

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I bombed my last test too. 265w mid July to 232w last Tuesday. I’ve since did a session with ERG switched off (4×10 with 2min recoveries in between) and my NP was 246w and 20min 262w. I also comfortably done a sub 24min TT at 246w.
I’m pretty confident I’ve got an FTP around 250w. The bad test was probably caused by the ERG biting too hard before I had even warmed up and tweaking my knee slightly and then biting too hard again at the end when I lost concentration.

Ramp test is quite variable for me. I can test +13w a few days apart.

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this +1. The ramp test is really more of a V02Max or MAP test used to back into an FTP. It assumes your FTP is a given percentage of MAP, and that percentage can swing a bit (at least for me) if I have not been doing any V02max work. Fitness can be increasing while your ramp test result is holding steady or dropping based on that changing percentage. Don’t use the ramp test to measure your fitness, just use it to help set zones.

SS base is really about muscle endurance and building the aerobic engine. The high volume plans have zero V02 max work in them, so they really aren’t focused on adaptations that are going to maximize ramp test results (those adaptations will be hit more during build).

20w is a pretty decent % drop, so heat and other factors probably played in as well. If you are feeling strong on the current workouts, I’d keep your pre-test FTP and keep rolling. You’ll know really quick once you get to build whether you are in the right range.

  1. I orginally tested in almost the same setup. I have one fan, and a Tacx Flux as well as a Stages crank arm paired with TrainerRoad which were both calibrated before I tested. The second time I tested I only had one additional fan and the garage door open.

  2. I did train exclusively outside with the FTP from test #1. It was tough but manageable at first, after 2-3 weeks of the block I started noticing improvements mostly in stamina and a bit in threshold power. It wasn’t as though the whole block was easy so I’m confident my FTP was correct. I have checked the power source for both workouts and they were both using my Stages crank arm which was calibrated before both sessions.

  3. In terms of cooling I had two fans this time as it was particularly warm but last time I only had the one as I would do normally. Motivation was high, my block went so well I was super pumped to see my work in the numbers.

Not sure what I had to eat that day but it would be somewhat inline with my usual day to day;

  • Porridge and fruit for breakfast
  • One of the following for lunch; bacon sandwiches, soup and bread, porridge (yes again, I like porridge a lot), noodles and chicken
  • Coffee around 1-2pm

Before my first ramp test I had also done 4 weeks of self prescribed 80/20 work. 80% being pure Z2, and 20% being Z4 & Z5 then I had a recovery week. By just doing sweetspot I think I have just being neglecting my high end in order to be setup for my build phase. What do you think?

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Hi,

Yes I have just now realised that because I did 4 weeks of what was essentially build before my first test that I have been neglecting those systems in preparation for my build after SSB2.

Entirely possible. We see similar comments in many threads around here. The Ramp takes some heavy VO2 emphasis and that effort may feel foreign or fall short without at least some exposure to that level. It could be a mix of physical and psychological leading to a lower result.

As is usually the case :grin:. I will see how I get on with the build block once I get there and will split the difference on the FTP to ‘account’ for lack of VO2 and presence of heat.

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I feel as though I should have learnt this a long time ago, but it seems all too obvious now.
I’m going to split the difference on the FTP to account for lack of VO2 stimulation and presence of heat.

Do you mean I will feel in the first session or in the first couple of days? I have never done a proper build block before so I don’t know what to expect.

The ‘science’ really begins with Ric Stern’s observations in the 1990s (before the term FTP was coined):

In the mid 1990s through to around 2000 I was doing my Sports Science degree, starting a PhD, writing up research, and starting a coaching business. I was involved in lots of VO2max tests as a student, both taking part, and helping out on a variety of athletes from recreational through to elite World Class riders (including Chris Boardman). Although the term ‘FTP’ hadn’t been invented at this point, I was interested in how hard athletes could ride for 1 hour (I was mainly interested and helping with the World Hour Record, and also interested in the critical power concept). I noted that riders could maintain about 70ish percent of their MAP for 1 hour. I then had some selected riders ride for various durations at maximal effort (for that duration) and put together a basic power duration curve. What did I note from the data? That within the category of people that raced their data was very similar and it only differed by small amounts. I saw that over 97% of the people I tested or whose data I had access too, was that their best ~1 hour power was always in the region of 72 - 77%.

Source:

From reading his articles, Ric is an advocate of longer tests. Figure out what works best for you, and keep in mind different coaches have different points of view on the subject of estimating FTP. If you search the forum I’ve posted links to a few other Ric Stern articles on this subject.

Practically speaking you can get a pretty good handle on your capabilities / fitness by doing 4 tests within a week or two of each other:

  • sprint power: 5-sec sprint (“sprint”)
  • anaerobic power: 1-min max effort (roughly anaerobic work capacity)
  • max aerobic power: 5-min all-out vo2max test or MAP / ramp test (“vo2max”)
  • long ‘steady state’ power: at least 20-minutes long, and up to about 60-min all-out test (“FTP”)

Take the last two and call them vo2max and FTP. Now divide FTP by vo2max and review across a season. Looking at WKO5 I’ve seen mine vary from 83% to 89% across a single season. If FTP/vo2max can vary over a season, that means each ramp test may need a different multiplier. Now the reason mine varies 83-89% instead of the 72-77% ramp multiplier is because the ramp test 1-min MAP is always above my personal best all-out 5-min power (say within a month or two of the ramp test). Given that understanding of where the ramp test came from, and my own data, it should be no surprise I’m not a fan of the ramp test for estimating FTP. YMMV, n=1 and all that.

Not necessarily the first workout, but many of the workouts in build have a lot less wiggle room because you are working close to the edge of the cliff. You shouldn’t be failing them constantly, but they should be really hard and take you near the point of failure at the end, particularly the v02max stuff.

I also find that over/under workouts are a much better gauge of FTP compared to a ramp test.

Hi all,

6 weeks later and completing HV-SSB1 only on the turbo, I have just done another ramp test.
I have gone from 255W to 261W, so not a huge gain in raw wattage but I have lost 5kg! (78kg->73kg)
That is 3.26w/kg to 3.58w/kg which is a substantial jump so very happy!! :grin:

Not that it works quite like this, but had I made the same % gains at 78kg it would have gone to around 279W.

Onto HVSSB2!

Thank you all! :grin:
Kristof

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