Should I start doing Z4 or continue with sweetspot & volume?

Hello guys, first of all this forum is really nice I read like thousands of replies in a thread for like 2 hours yesterday lol

So I’m 21 this will be my 4th year of riding and ~2nd and half year of “structured” training. Did a couple of races in 2020 before lockdowns and then stopped riding for 4 months, went into bodybuilding but came back to the bike because I just love the sensation of being insanely fit and everything. I want to reach a national level and join a DN (division nationale, I’m French).

My peak fitness last year was in august, managed 345W for 25 minutes in a climb. I am 1m98 or 6foot6 and right now around 84kg or 185 pounds. Will probably lose some muscle when I’ll stop going to the gym for race season but still have like 3-4kg of fat to lose to be really lean.

I am going to race in 2023 so I started a good base since november by going to the gym twice a week (squats, deadlifts & core) as well as increasing my volume. I do ~5h of commute per week at Z1-Z2 + 10-20h of actual bike “workouts”.

I finished January with almost 100h of training (around 85h on the bike, the rest in the gym), mostly Z2 and increased my Z3 training as well, managed to total around 4h at Z3 2 weeks ago, last hour being 290W after 4h of tempo. Biggest week was 30h of riding (2nd time in my life that I’ve done such a big week, and first time I did it I felt really good after).

Had a recovery week last week and did a ramp test on friday (finished the 460W ramp, gave me 343W FTP or 360W estimated 20 minutes FTP). Next day I tried to hold 360W for 20 minutes on the trainer but it was really really hard, I legit almost fainted managed 343W…completely overheated despite having 2 fans + open window. Yesterday I did it outside and managed 346W for 20 minutes.

I guess the ramp test overestimated my FTP, maybe I’m just better at ~Vo2max power, I did manage to do 400W for 5 minutes after 5 hours of Z2 in my 30h training week so idk

My question is, right now, I’m recovered and still fitter than few months ago, my first race will be in exactly 1 month, I don’t plan on peaking for it but rather would like to have my first peak of the year for a regional ITT championship in May and another 50km duo TT mid May.

Should I “continue” (for the February month) with the base-build phase I’m in right now, doing lots of volume, trying to up my Z3 and trying to hold it longer and longer, or should I start doing some threshold intervals ?

If you’re read everything Gg and thank you very much for the replies

Oh to be young again :+1:
I would set up a plan builder plan (set to whatever volume you can train to). If your in between availability wise (perhaps you don’t consistently have time for a HV or MV plan), I’d go for a lower volume and add Train Now Endurance sessions for when you do have availability. Perhaps add the first May event as your ‘A’ event, and the second as a ‘B’ and set your March race as a ‘C’ event and let the program do the thinking.