Ramp test FTP drop - what next?

So I have had a few disruptions lately and then did a ramp-test on Wednesday. I bailed fairly early and got a score of 220W FTP, down from 243W. This is the lowest score in a long time and lower than at start of base period in September.

I’m hoping it’s a combination of fatigue (work, a 200km ride on the 23rd of March and a 100km ride on Sunday - don’t think I was fully recovered from the 200km by the time I did this). I initially accepted the 220W value but I think I will be under-training).

Guess I need to pick a workout that should be fairly challenging and see how it goes. If it’s too easy then re-test. But if the drop is real, why have I gone back 6 months?

It looks like you already have the answers of why you tested poorly. You could just be still fatigued or had an off day. You can choose to keep your same FTP, use the new number or somewhere in the middle. Remember, the FTP test is only a best guess of your fitness at that moment. It does not always pinpoint your fitness because there are so many other variables that could be involved. No need to look for a specific workout to then adjust your FTP. Stay consistent with whatever plan you are on. Listen to your body and you should know how certain workouts should feel based on RPE of sweet spot, threshold and VO2. If workouts are easier or harder then adjust the intensity as needed. If you’re adjusting the intensity every workout then manually adjust your FTP. You haven’t lost all that fitness, your just unable to express it at this time for one reason or another. That’s not to say you won’t be able to once you’re back firing on all cylinders. Your FTP doesn’t define you or your capabilities, so just trust the process.

As a side note, make sure that every time you test all the variables are the same regarding fatigue, sleep, stressors, nutrition, hydration, fans, temperature and equipment. If not, push the FTP test back a day or two until they are. If you expect to compare one test to the next you must eliminate all other variables. Pro Tip: during the ramp test at 19:30 you reach your current FTP. Every second after that is an increase in FTP.

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Today’s workout is reinstein which I completed at the new FTP. Did not feel like increasing it at any stage - think I have tired legs from the recent longer rides.

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Seems like you know the answer to the “why?” Question now is what to do about it.

Well, I’d consider some recovery time, and then re-test and train at a proper (likely higher FTP). You can continue to train at 220W and see if you start to feel better with continued training, raising FTP as you do. I’d take a full-blown recovery week, maybe two depending on how deep the hole is, and re-test.

I have a 400km event scheduled for 4 weeks time. So the goal is being both fresh and sufficiently trained. This is a must do event as it’s one of a series of 4 qualifying rides for my A race in late August. 200k done. 300k yesterday was DNS due to work pressure and given the FTP drop probably a good thing but I can’t enter any more 300s this month due to being busy every weekend. So I could now be looking at riding a 400k then 300k then 600k on consecutive weekends in May.

That will make current fatigue seem like a walk in the park. I can push the 600k into June if necessary though leaves no room for manoeuvre if I can’t ride that day (two days) for any reason.

I do have previous experience of doing a ramp test after that kind of sequence. In 2015 I had about 6 weekends in a row of riding between 200k and 400k events. Building up to and riding the same qualifiers. This was a lab test and they said in January FTP 220 and vo2max 52. I did the test again - in April. I got FTP 240, vo2max 48.

This basically is the same pattern as with the recent ramp test result - I topped out at a lower power in April 2015 than January despite having a higher AT. We said then it was fatigue.

In May 2015 I got my kickr and a TR subscription. FTP test (same protocol) in August 2015 was 260.

I’m hoping it will come good with time. For now will stick to 220 based on yesterday’s workout.

Since starting this thread I’ve been having a lot of headaches so maybe there is something directly causing the drop in fitness - off to see the doc this afternoon.

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Maybe allergies, it’s been kicking my butt for weeks.

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Gone through something similar recently, 4 days on the bounce riding the mountains of spain, felt great on all the rides, was at end of base phase and was hoping to get a bit of a kick going into Build… rested a few days. then did Ramp Test, high HR across the levels of power, I lost 20 watts on my FTP… "sad face " an understatement but i kept me FTP as before - i tried West Vidette post the Ramp and felt terrible, tried Gieger the next day could not finish it (old FTP) … so i have taken a further week off with only some low effort 30min free rides… legs coming back and ‘feel’ as before… will re do ramp again next week but my build plan is in need of rework for May B Ride… I am 54yrs old… not been cycling that many years and every 1 watt of FTP gain seems so hard to get… so i think just a recovery thing, i am actually thinking that as weather improves i will switch to doing 2 TR rides (x1 VO2 and x1 SS) each week with outdoor rides mixed in for endurance… get through my goals (not a racer) then go back to SS base… that seemed to give me best results.

Did think of allergies but usually it takes the form of runny nose and sneezing and I’ve not had that as I take my antihistamines. It’s the cats I’m mainly sensitive to.

I’m now on an anti-migraine drug which has potential risk of heart attack or stroke - so staying off the turbo while I test it out!

Seem to be doing ok on this medication after taking two doses I’ve so far not had a headache this evening, which is a first for this week. Fingers crossed I’ll be good by the weekend and can start training again.

I went back in last night with Monitor. It was fine, in particular the heavy legs are gone. HR was low enough to suggest 220 FTP is probably too low so I can think about bumping it up.

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I spent most of May riding Paris Brest Paris qualifiers (400k 4-5th May, 300k 11th, and 600k 25-26th). So not a huge amount of trainer time. I bumped up to 230W after my last update on this thread.

After two weeks from the 600k I’m mostly recovered, and did Hunter -2 last night. I think 230W is too low now. Back in December I did the same workout, ad 233W - and my average HR was about 15bpm lower last night. I’m thinking 240W now.

Going the right way, and with 10 weeks to PBP there is time to reach 250W which is my minimum target.

I have 400km road/gravel ride this weekend so not a good time to test so I will bump it manually.

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