Road to 4w/kg, what does it take?

I get 1000-1200 calories a day 4-6 times per week indoors. That most likely exceeds what most people do outdoors riding 1-3 times. I think consistency is better than some big ride that is going to require some extra fueling to recover from. I’m not a big volume guy, but volume is relative. 200 watts per hour inside is the same as 200 watts outside. However, riding inside is way easier to do consistently than out for me.

I think you’re getting in the weeds a bit, and the definition of gifted might be different for us, but I think 4 w/Kg is CAT 3, and into CAT 2 - in other words, moderately fast amateurs. I hover around 4 w/Kg and I can be competitive in CAT 2 level mountain bike races and . The fastest amateur racers are close to 5 w/Kg. In other words, no, 4 w/Kg (for men) isn’t special. It’s fit for sure, but it’s not winning big races fit.

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I got to 4 wkg (4.16 peak) over COVID basically by volume and consistency. I’ve dropped now to about 3.75, because my consistency has gone down a bit (and I got covid…). I also struggle to keep my weight down a lot more when I am training less consistently and travelling more - I’m 5’8"/173cm and 72 kg now but I was able to stick at 69-70 over covid. I know some of the guys on here are really light, and my weight is (for a cyclist) towards the top of the range for my height, but my body doesnt seem to like being below 72kg much. I reckon my power will get back over 280 without too much difficulty but my weight probably won’t get back to 70 as easily.

Me - but I ride a much higher volume than the LV plan, I just treat those as my 3 key workouts a week.

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I agree, I think @Henry_Lee must know some pretty gifted Cat 4s!

To the point about other characteristics, skills etc - I think typical UK circuit races (and probably most other UK amateur racing) having a decent short power and kick is more important than FTP anyway - even when I am at 4 wkg there are a quite a few guys in my club who have FTP less than that who can reliably beat me on short climbs and in sprints.

I also think this about Zwift racing - sprint and power at VO2 max (0-5 mins basically) is more important than FTP, and they don’t correlate perfectly.

People also often overstate their FTP a bit and they also like a nice round number…

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So this is taking a tangent off many tangents (fun part of forums) those of us in their 4th decade, and above, I wonder what an average goal should be if you’re not an outlier. I know I’m not gifted like that and have accepted it but enjoy training just to be better. 3.5w/kg? 3w/kg?

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EDIT: My original post here had the women’s version of this graph that I had grabbed by mistake. I have gotten the correct men’s version as well as added some split lines for reference, and corrected the range listed in the text below. Sorry for the mistake and confusion it created. DOH!


Time to look back at the data Nate shared long ago on the power distribution of TR users, as one reference point at least. From the “Bell Curve” topic:

  • 40-50 age range from that post, looks like 2.75 to 3.00 w/kg in the middle of that curve.

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Cool! More graphs, I do love a good graph.

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Yeah, follow the link above for the full range. Nate shared a bunch back then. We’d love to have more recent info too, but that’s not happened yet.

Interesting, solidifies my goal of 3.5 and that it is achievable with work but towards the upper end.

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This is interesting thanks! I get a feeling that a lot of people that comment are either young or the higher end of the users - or both. I know a lot of cyclists that are club riders who train consistently that will never get to 4w/kg ever. I’ll be lucky to ever get to 3w/kg (I am 41 and a female so not exactly the demographic discussed) but hearing that 4w/kg is a reasonable goal to reach makes me think that it’s more talented people commenting rather than the “average Joe” genetics wise - no disrespect intended to anyone.

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One more for a combined picture that frames the 4.0 w/kg line and others, added by me for easier reference:

I’d say this aligns reasonably with the Dr. Coggan 3.9 w/kg info. There’s a small population at and above the line. Far more centered well below that level.

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You could google it rather than ranting about it

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Holly :dizzy_face:, I don’t mean to be negative, but TR middle age users are pretty slow no?

have to take into account that TR users represent maybe the top 5% of all cyclists you see out there. We’re often skewed by how niche the performance aspect of the sport is.

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Holly :dizzy_face:, I don’t mean to be negative, but TR middle age users are pretty slow no?

That’s the middle of a bell curve and I would hazard a guess that most middle-aged male cyclists are probably in that area, not just those on TR.

EDIT: And looking at the power profiles of the MAMIL’s in the largest drop ride in my area, most of them are probably in that 2.5w/kg range. The guys pushing the pace are more in the 3-3.5 w/kg range and should probably be in the A ride.

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There is no physiological or anything physics based to use ftp/h^2. We had a long chat about this on the other chain

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:man_shrugging: I found this funny. A lot of interesting conjecture on both sides. Here is some of my anecdata…

My last full week - last couple weeks had some travel and life interference - a normal training week had 1233kJ, 1400kJ, 1352kJ, 1380kJ, and 1325kJ rides (1.6 hours, and the rest just a smidge over 2 hours). And I’m underachieving versus a lot of the people I ride with on Wed night. Did 1402kJ last night, just under 2 hours. FTP and intensity matter when it comes to kJ, mines about 270 and overall doing more endurance than in typical TR plan so a little more time required.

A couple weeks ago I sold the wheels that came with my Tarmac to a guy. Turns out he is a doctor in LA, board certified in emergency medicine and pediatric care. Probably late 30s, very busy guy. Has a place in Tahoe and wants to do the Sacramento to South Lake Tahoe ride with me. So I follow him on Strava… last month he rode 774.6miles, 49 hours, and 64,024ft climbing. His weeks are filled a few 3+ hour rides with 6000+ feet of climbing, and some ‘filler’ Peloton sessions. I don’t think he understands how slowly 3W/kg peeps climb, relative to his much higher 4+ W/kg :joy:

Anyways his last 4 weeks according to Strava, averaged 3 rides/week and 8.75 hours/week. He just got back from his Tahoe place, and did a 4.5 hour / 2904kJ / 7877’ climbing ride in the San Bernardino mountains. Another overachiever the likes of which I find myself riding with, and they are all putting down some big kJ relative to your likely exceeds comment.

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  • As compared to what or whom else exactly?
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Plenty of people 40-50 don’t do anything at all, so please don’t bring down folks getting exercise, staying healthy, and trying to get faster.

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For instance, a mediocre cyclist like me. I started at 40 (no background in endurance). My first ftp test, the suffertest 4D profile gave me an ftp of 195 >> 2.69 w/kg