Ramp Test from 260 to 327 after SSB1HV? What?

I know, I know - another ramp test question! I just couldn’t find a ramp test discussion similar to my recent results/concerns, so I thought it might be good to ask here. I have a feeling that I will answer my own question, but would like some confirmation from the gurus here.

A little background on myself. 42yo/86kg - been riding XC/MTB for about 7 years. Got serious about training about 2 years ago by joining a local spin class 4 days a week. Spin bikes were off and estimated my FTP at about 400.

Bought a CycleOps Hammer June2018 and trained on Zwift in mornings. Same time bought a road bike and a gravel bike and started riding a lot sometimes training in morning and then riding in afternoon/evening. Zwift FTP test put me at 309 which seemed realistic based upon current fitness at the time.

Didn’t rest enough and over-trained in August2019. Recovered and finished my grass-roots MTB season strong winning Cat2 40+ series Nov2018. Basically off the bike for rest of Nov/Dec.

Been trying to get into Leadville, but missed the lottery. Decided to start training as if I am in Leadville so I can hopefully qualify at Austin Rattlers and get a good corral spot. I knew Zwift wouldn’t cut it for training and I can’t afford a coach, so I dropped the money for a year of TR to commit.

First Ramp Test put me at 261 FTP which seemed right since I had been almost 8 weeks off bike. Did SSB1HV watching my fatigue and how I was finishing the workouts especially up to 3 week mark like I read. Seemed good and finished strong knowing I definitely was a lot stronger because the last couple weeks were pretty easy compared to first couple weeks.

Leading up to my SSB2HV Ramp Test, I started reading the forums on best was to empty the tank. Really wanted to knock it out of the park. Ramp Test came and I had my hard rock playlist ready along with Zwift, while hiding everything but cadence and HR. It felt really good and was
able to keep my cadence at 100 until the last step. When I stopped I was greeted with a new FTP of 327!

Obviously a 25% increase in FTP does not seem possible. Especially from SSB1HV. I originally thought to just trust the system as I have so far and did next workout Carillon +2 this morning. Had issues with trainer, but ultimately blew up about half way in. Backed it off to 85% and finished out.

Finally my questions:
Is Carillon +2 hard the first time and I need to try again tomorrow at 327?
Did I just test poorly the first time?
Did I game the test the second time?
Should I test again?
If not test again, how far should I back off my FTP?
As much as I like the 327 - it’s just a number if I can’t use it to get faster. I am more interested in continuing the proper training/rest that I had in the SSB1HV.
What is the biggest percentage jump you know of in a 6 week period?
I ask because I really feel I had a huge jump since 1st ramp test, just not 25% worth! Thought the answer might give me a good place to drop my FTP down to for next workout.

Thank you TR and everyone here. This place rocks and I am TR customer for life. Amazing product and support.

Is your trainer up to date and calibrated? Both ramp tests seemed properly executed (similarly high max hr) so unless calibration wasn’t consistent, I’d be inclined to give it a few more workouts before backing off.

That being said, if you fail the first week of workouts with a new FTP, it’s probably set wrong.


Thanks for replying. Yeah I forgot to mention that the trainer was calibrated before both tests. I’m hoping I just had a bad day today with the first workout. I’ll probably just do what you said and stick with the FTP and see how it goes rest of week. At the same time I have a hard time believing a 25% increase?

It’s not out of the realm of possibility given that you were previously in the 300s. With a high volume sweetspot plan that was followed consistently, you’d quickly get back to old levels of fitness and likely hit higher numbers.

Just take it with an open mind and don’t be afraid to adjust :+1:

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Below is my experience during week 1 of GBMV when my ramp tested Too High and I tried to hang onto a 22 watt increase. I ended up cutting my increase in half and was able to get through the remaining weeks that still challenged me, but didn’t crush and destroy me.

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I think you under-tested in the first test. I don’t think you’d lose 50W of FTP in two months off. However, Carillon should be manageable since it’s sweetspot, and you probably have much tougher workouts coming. I would consider knocking 10W off and see how you do with Hunter -1 tomorrow (I think that’s next in SSB2HV). You can always put it back up if you get through that okay.

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@MI-XC Thanks - I read through your thread. Going halfway may seem a little drastic for me. I think I will try one more day like it is. Maybe drop to 90% if needed.

@markryd I am suspecting the same on my first test. It was my first time back on trainer in about 8 weeks. I know now I probably should have done an opener of some sort the day before. Thanks

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Hi @Jeramy - what @MI-XC means is 50% of the Watt increase, not back off the session to 50%, so set the FTP at 294W being halfway between old and new FTP test.

Its a good strategy to help the body get over such a big jump in stress. Remember that your body was used to the intervals at 261W, and now you’re trying to get it to work 25% harder, which is entirely possible in the ramp test, but likely overload in a 10-min SS interval.

Try two weeks at 294W and if it seems “easy”, up it another 10-15W.

Your body will tell you if things are too much for it! Listen to it to avoid getting sick. Better to train slightly “easier” than kill yourself and derail your training trying. Far better to finish the sessions than not.

As @chad always says on the podcasts, “if you’re consistently failing the last quarter of intervals, or consistently having to decrease the intensity, then your FTP is likely too high” (not necessarily an exact quote, but near enough.


By half I meant I cut my FTP increase by half. So, instead of accepting a 22 watt increase in FTP, I only added 11 watts to my FTP and continued with the plan. So like @handynzl stated, your FTP would be 294 if you took half of your increase. If you reduce you workouts by 10% (working at 90% intensity) as you say, that just so happens to be 294 as well. So we’re talking about the same FTP number.

Heads up, it took a couple weeks to dig myself out of a week of burying myself with my higher FTP.

Looking at your ramp test, you reached a max heart rate of 188 / 184 in those which is pretty consistent given other variables.

On Carillon +2, you’re reaching just over 170 on those intervals, hitting over 90% of that max number from the ramp tests. I’d suggest that a sweetspot workout like Carillon +2 shouldn’t be putting you up in the 90s of maxHR%, that’s reserved for threshold and vo2 work.

So I think you probably did overtest in the second test, and should drop your FTP down a little as others have suggested. As Carillon looks like it was basically getting close to a threshold workout, I’d try setting it at a nice round 300 (just above the intensity of those intervals) and see how you get on. So you get to keep a little pride at least…

@handynzl - I didn’t say it right. i meant to say 50% drop of the watt increase seemed drastic. Thanks for clarifying because I can see how it looked like I was saying 50% of total FTP.

I definitely understand the whole easing the body into it. Honestly, when I saw my new FTP I had mixed emotions. Felt good to see the larger number, but also brought on some anxiety about being able to handle that large of a jump in workouts. Part of the reason I joined TR is that it does such a good job of pushing you to the edge and pulling you back back and forth where you continue to increase performance without over-training or crushing yourself. Didn’t feel that way with Carillon +2 - instead if felt like my old pattern of pushing through past what I should to the point of hurting myself long term even though I can handle the pain.

@MI-XC - I miss typed and didn’t explain myself right. Since I had a 66 watt increase over all, it seemed drastic to drop it 33 watts. That’s what I was trying to say. I do like what you are saying and can see how and why this worked for you. I am not opposed to following your plan but want to give it a couple more workouts first. Definitely understand the first couple weeks digging myself a hole. I felt that way when starting with SSB1HV. Middle of the 3rd week, my body was like “We are out of the hole now!” Looking forward to that here and just trying to mimic closer to what I felt with SSB1HV so I don’t over-do it with SSB2HV.

@martinheadon - Yeah based on HR both ramp tests confirm similar exertion on my body. I think I figured out the issue overall moving forward that I will detail below.


I think you had the right idea with simply lowering the workout until it felt about right. Sounds like you’ve got a pretty good grasp of how sweet spot vs threshold feels. I’d trust that for a few workouts, while you work to fine tune your new FTP.

I think had you not completely blown up by going too hard, you may not have had to back off all the way to 85%. It’s just so hard to recover once you’ve spent too much time in the red.

If it were me, I’d probably try the next sweet spot ride at 90%, for the first interval. And then adjust intensity a couple percentage points on the follow up intervals based on how that feels.

And of course, make sure you fuel well, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest for the next rides.

UPDATE: Hunter - 1 with no change in new FTP.

After making a few changes, today was totally different and I think I am good now. Here is what I did in hopes to help others not make similar bone-head mistakes.

1st Change - About a year ago, I went high fat/lower carb following Peter Defty’s Optimized Fat Metabolism plan with 16/8 intermittent fasting. Best nutritional change I have ever made. After the initial 4-6 weeks of my body adjusting to ketosis - it was amazing on the bike. My punch/sprint came back, I recovered faster, less stress on my body, and I could ride twice as many miles without fatigue. Most of the time my body is in ketosis, but Peter teaches about strategic carbs to be a more balanced endurance athlete. So notice I said Lower Carbs not Low/No Carbs above. I still use carbs when they are justified. I am still in ketosis almost all the time, but I still take in about 150-200 grams of carbs a day and still stay in ketosis. I believe I stay in ketosis with the higher carb intake than usual due to how active I am and my training. Ben greenfield talks about a similar experience. All my training for the past year has been fasted. For races I would use super starches like UCAN for my races that is like a slow drip/release of carbs and feels like rocket fuel since I am so fat adapted now. All that to say that I took in UCAN this morning 30 minutes before my workout and it really helped. I recognize as I embrace TR, I will need to fuel better for tougher workouts especially for performance overall, but I can still stick to high fat/lower carb when the extra fueling is not justified. To me it’s a balance - I want to be as metabolically flexible as possible, and I know this works for my body. So, I continue to learn what makes my body function at a higher level.

2nd Change - Before my last ramp test I got caught up in the Big vs Small Chainring - Same Power thread. For both ramp tests, I matched my gearing for ERG (Big Chainring with straight chain line at about the 3rd to highest gear on cassette). I had heard on the podcast and read on the thread that in ERG - lower gears mimic closer to MTB and higher gears mimic closer to Road due to inertia. So, I had the brilliant idea to go to lower gears on my workouts to mimic MTB since that it my primary. I see now this totally backfired on Carillon +2 and explains why I had trouble with my trainer as well. As I was crashing, I was also maxing out the trainer watts due to too low of gear. So, today I changed the gearing to what I ramp tested both times and what I trained with for SSB1HV. This really helped a lot too. I had no idea RPE could be so different with similar ERG controlled FTP but different gearing. Moral of the story - whatever gearing you start with, stick with it. Honestly, the lower gearing felt rough and nothing like my MTB anyway. I push a 36 chainring with Eagle anyway and I am always in the higher gears at 85 and above cadence. So, not sure if that is normal or not, but I can see now I just need to stay consistent in my training setup while following the plan.

In closing, fueling better and correcting my gearing was a game changer. Hunter - 1 went great and only felt slightly tougher than my first week of SSB1HV. It was challenging, but never felt like I was going over the edge. Like the digging hole analogy above, I was digging a hole that I felt I can fill back in within the coming workouts. It’s amazing how much better I feel today compare to yesterday. I feel like I did when finishing the SSB1HV workouts. Yesterday, I just felt horrible all day and sore like I went way over edge. So maybe a bad day in general yesterday contributed to my problem as well.


@roflsocks Thanks! yeah, once I hit the red and my trainer couldn’t keep up due to low gearing - I was just trying to survive without quitting by backing it off to 85%.

The ramp test is not a holy creation from god, it’s a suggestion and if you can do workouts with that setting I’d go with it, congrats!
(first and only ramp test lowballed me big time, rode 2x20mins at 20-30w over suggested ftp the next day)

@mmiloou I honestly don’t think the ramp test was an issue at all. My FTP had slipped due to not training and its bouncing back quickly since I was at a decent level FTP last summer. I think the ramp test shows that well. I think my biggest issue was gearing.

Your Hunter -1 definitely looks more like the right kind of HR zone for that percentage of threshold power. Looks like you got it sorted!

@martinheadon Thanks for the feedback/confirmation. Yeah, I was happy to see I didn’t break 160 HR this time around. It was a good indicator that I made good changes.