Should I forget about build and specialty and just continue base?

I’m currently training for a charity event in June where we will do 10 000m of climbing with 250 other riders over 4 days following the Tour de France mountain stages in the Alps. This will be the second year that I have done this event. Last year I trained for it using the standard TrainerRoad medium volume plan starting in October. I put in 400 hours on the bike in 2022 and followed the TR plan quite closely. I’m 54 years old and other than this I have no endurance exercise experience. In fact I bought my first bike to do this training. :slight_smile:

I’ve been putting in 9-10 hours per week for the past 2.5 months. This has been mostly Z2 with a little intensity thrown in along with a 3 hour gravel group ride every Sunday.

The event I’m training for is not a race, just a long multiday endurance ride. I was able to finish the event last year but I couldn’t keep up to the other riders on the team. I was one of the slowest people on the mountain. Looking at the data, to be mid pack I’d need to hold about 200W up the climbs for all 4 days. I currently have an FTP of 247 (TR AI). I can set the trainer at 180W and ride comfortably for 90min with my heart rate in Z2 and with very little heart rate drift or noticeable fatigue.

Should I keep focusing on my base aerobic fitness or should I start dialing up the intensity and boost my FTP as I get closer to the event? In other words, will increasing FTP help me hold higher all day power more than just continuing to build base and ignoring FTP?


My unprofessional advice for what it’s worth is that you probably have a very good base already.

If you added in intensity workouts and raised your FTP 20watts then 200w would feel like your 180 watts today

Yes. Use plan builder and make that your A event. Backdate the start of your plan to include the base you’ve done.

I asked a similar question a while ago and the response was to include some speciality on top of your base/build cycles.

I think the reasoning is raising and working on things like VO2 and threshold will allow you to climb at a reasonable pace but won’t be as relatively hard of an effort as it would be so you can go for longer.

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It sounds like the consensus is that I need to continue base for the next few weeks and gradually start adding intensity and potentially start pulling duration as necessary to bring my FTP up. Higher FTP means lower percentage of FTP needed to climb at a given rate. Thanks everyone for the input!