Ramp Test, not sure if I did it correctly

Hi TR folks,

I use a Kickr20 in ERG mode to do my Ramp Test. I kept my cadence between 90 ~ 110 until the last few minutes and this is what happened…

230W & 240W @ 110 RPM
250W @ 102 RPM
260W @ 55RPM
270W & 280W @ 30 RPM - Then finished.

During the last 2 x 1 minute segments, because of the low cadence, I was very slightly coming off of the saddle and I had a very slight rock from side to side but still seated. I tried to keep centered and seated as much as possible. Is this cheating the Ramp Test because I am putting some bodyweight into the downstroke effort?

I ask is because I want to have an accurate FTP because if the FTP ends up to be higher than my real capabilities because of the last 2x 1 minute segment’s incorrect pedaling, then I will just suffer for the workouts in the next block. Or should I not be concerned as TR’s algorithm has taken this into consideration?

This is my 2nd ever Ramp Test. In my first test I had steady cadence @ 100 until the last 4 minutes where I went from 100 to 95, 90, 80, and then finished with a few seconds at 55 RPM.

Thanks for any feedback.

I don’t see much benefit, and more likely risk, by pushing below 60rpm cadence. That’s REALLY slow for that high of a power, which means HUGE forces on your body. It’s potentially opening the door to an injury.

You can try a workout or two at the current tested FTP and see how they go. Drop the FTP manually if the workouts are harder than intended.

Otherwise, you can look at the Average Power for a 1-minute segment that had a cadence you feel us appropriate, and multiply by 0.75 to get a lower FTP value to use for now.

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Thanks Chad. I kept reading your messages for another 10 seconds…

Anyway, it was unintentional to go to 30 RPM cadence. I guess I lost my lungs and went for powering through the rotations.

I did the first base training block at high volume and I have now changed my 2nd block to mid volume. I am definitely too old to keep the pace. Mind is willing but body not. I biked my whole life and only last year at age 55 did I take biking seriously, all those Strava segments to chase - for my age group…

I was estimated at 150 FTP during the summer. The first Ramp on 8 Nov. had me at 172 and now 211. I weigh 67 kg so I am happy with my results. (2.24 > 2.57 > 3.15 w/kg) I think the efforts for that first block really paid off! And you taught me how to ride a bike efficiently… which I thought I knew all along… :smiley:

I will monitor my next sessions and take your recommendations accordingly.

Thank you for replying and love TR!! It works!!

  • For clarity, I am NOT Chad Timmerman (TrainerRoad’s Head Coach).
  • I’m just an active forum member and big fan of TrainerRoad. #TheOtherChad :wink:

Sounds like you are having some great success :smiley:
Keep up the great work.

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Oh, sorry for the mix up. But thanks for the advise.

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Wait… what? :grin:


@mcneese.chad is right, but here’s another thought. TrainerRoad and trainers in erg mode interact x number of times per y interval (second, minute, whatever). When you start to get a cadence of 30 RPM you stand a good chance that at least every now and then during the minute you’re on a given step, the trainer will think you stopped. That takes time to get back to TR which then has to go back to the trainer, over and over.

I’d be interested to see what you’re last minute looked like with no power smoothing. A “correct” ramp test, in my non-professional opinion, should look like you feel off a cliff at the end. If there is any amount of power falling, something is wrong.

From my own ramp tests, to me, this looks good enough:


This looks bad (and was, there was a trainer problem…plus I’m a wuss):


Others won’t agree but for me, if my graph looks like the first one, I’m pretty confident I have a correct FTP.

  • Not sure I buy this. It may well depend on the way cadence is derived. A magnet sensor vs power fluctuations may lead to slightly different data sent to TR, but as long as cadence is above zero (assuming pedal to pause is on), the test will continue. It won’t “pause/stop” the test until you stop cadence input. If pedal to pause is off, it will keep going until the rider pauses manually.
  • As long as it is reporting power, it will be taken by TR.

Per your pics, there is nothing “wrong” with the 2nd pic. It shows that a rider went along the timeline, but was not able to meet the power target shown by the steps.

  • This does not invalidate the test in any way. The test will look to the best 1-minute power, regardless of where it occurs in the test, and base the FTP calculation upon that.
  • Going longer does not add or remove anything, other than some effort by the rider that serves no benefit (or detriment) to the actual FTP from the test. It’s just work that is essentially wasted.

were you able to keep consistent power at that cadence?
If my cadence drop bellow 70, that means that i cannot push at that level the way I suppose to push…
There might be workouts that you will be getting close to the 20 minute power for a min or two. and you will need a cadence faster than 80 on most of them (or at least is highly suggested).

I would keep the FTP for now…if you get to VO2Max wo and you struggle with cadence, then you will know the anser.

TR did not pause when the cadence was low, at least I don’t think so… The screen was locked on that nasty stairs upward…

I use a dedicated Wahoo cadence sensor because the one inside the Wahoo Kickr20 is lame.

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In my opinion, you were done on step 17 or some point in 18.
the drop is substantial. Did you notice the drop or you think it could have been wrong cadence report.
The actual end of the ramp (for most people) is step 16. So you push to 18!
Great job. You should have stopped there and avoid the extra few minutes of unnecessary torture.

Just looking at this graph hurts my knees :expressionless:
But massive improvement over previous FTP - well done.
Follow what @mcneese.chad said, keep in touch with your inner judge, and if the going is too tough, don’t hesitate to drop a few % to make things doable. 30 RPM over the long run, boy, i don’t even want to think about it.

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I have attached the screen shot of the last struggling minutes. Low cadence but maintained power.

Partly for me, it is mental. I guess it is the fear of failure, not able to finish a workout properly, in full. But yes, I will do the next workouts as is. I have reduced my work load from high volume to mid volume so I will have more rest days and see how it goes.

My normal workouts, I keep cadence above 90. I am most comfortable from 92 ~ 105, unless I do out of saddle or hill climb simulations.

I am totally confused now. I contacted TR support and they said there, indeed, was a signal drop somewhere at the end of the test. I am waiting for details now. For some reason, they analyzed my session and said my FTP should be 207 but then the app told me 211. Not that 4W makes a whole lot of difference for me… but to get some test consistency would be nice.

As well, I had signal drops with this Kickr20 before and I made sure I did not have WiFi or other BT interference so it was just me, the Kickr20, iPad for the TR app, iPhone for music and all adapted firmware… but now I was told there was a signal drop again…? :frowning:

I actually did not mind the last few minutes, it was a mental thing as much as it was for my lungs and legs. I just thought the rule was to keep pushing until I can’t…

Yes, I will just do the next few sessions at 211 and see what happens…

I still say this is a cadence issue. If you drop a cadence that low, it will freak out the TR to Trainer connection. If I’m doing the math right, a cadence of 30 is 1/2 a revolution per second. If the trainer and TR are talking once a second then it’s not out of line to think the trainer is going to see you with a SUPER FAST cadence in one reading and almost a zero cadence in another. It’s going to try to compensate but by the time it sends the compensation, you’re giving it the next wacky reading.

So yeah, maybe it’s not seeing you as ‘stopped’, but it’s certainly not seeing you as stable and that lack of stability will throw off the math. I’m pretty sure Nate has said they take into account some cadence variability in the final 5 or so min of the test so it’s not simply the best minute (I think he said this helps to give a better result to those that try to gun it in the final minutes thus spiking the power or people that try to stand to grunt out more watts even though the instructions say not to.)

But honestly, this is all close enough…go train. :slight_smile:

To the best of my knowledge, cadence info is totally secondary. TR can be run in any mode, even ERG, without pairing any cadence sensor (trainer or otherwise).

What really matters is power. As long as the trainer is reporting power data, the game is in play. Considering that most trainers are using a separate RPM measurement inside the trainer, not the “Cadence” value, it may not matter. I don’t know the specifics on the counters actually used for power calculations, but I’d bet good money that they are updating far more often than what we get from the rider cadence.

It will depend with each trainer, and the actual gearing employed, along with the input from the rider. But in most cases, I’d be the actual sensors used in the power calcs are take far more samples per axle revolution than the cadence.

  • That is about power, not cadence. They look at the 5-minute peak power, along with the 1-minute peak power to make sure there is not surge or other funny business that could mess up the results. They will modify the 1-m value derived FTP as needed, if there is something off in the 5-m power data.

  • It is nothing to do with cadence at all. Again, you can test without any cadence data paired, and we even see this from users in the Ramp Test results page.

Followed up with TR Support and seems the signal drop might not have had any major effect on the total reading, so that’s a good thing. It’s not an exact science anyway…

That said, I thank everyone for the feedback. In reconsideration, I have to be realistic and take into account that at my age and spring is still months away, better to be conservative and get some solid training in rather than making into a grind. Especially if I look at what’s coming up… Kaweah or Lamarck… eeks!

@ Joelrivera, yes, I think you are right, step 17 is more realistic, a 10% increase in FTP, after 4 weeks of training, at nearly 56 years old and 67 kg, is more realistic than a 23% jump. I’ll just ignore those few minutes at 30 RPM… My target is to eventually reach 3.5W/kg, doable, or not remains to be seen. I can always bump it up a few % if the lungs & legs cooperate.


Hi all, just a quick update. First of all, Happy New Year everyone.
I set the FTP to 190 which was based on the last full 1 min step with a normal cadence and not the 30 RPM grind. After 1 week, I upped it to 200 because I found 190 lacked challenge. Now after another week, I upped it to 210 and now each workout, I can complete but I seriously look forward to the recovery periods in between. It is now both a physical and a mental challenge. Thanks for everyone’s input. Appreciated. Have a great start to 2021!

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