The trainer isn't the dumb one in that story


Some context: I fell in love with cycling all over again (I’d take my bike for a ride once a week at best, only when it was nice out, only when I really felt like it, and I didn’t understand why I couldn’t climb anything for any length) when I discovered Trainer Road in May of last year. I bought a Tacx dumb trainer and started to discover the joys of motivation and improvement. I don’t actually know how much I improved, because, well, I’m not alway very smart with those things, and I didn’t understand Virtual Power. I just took the first option that appeared instead of listing the correct trainer with the correct resistance level. I was happy to first test at 240 (I weigh 65kg), until I realized that oops, I’m not using the right setting. My correct FTP was more aroud 132 (and that made way more sense)

Anyway, I dont compete, I hardly even do group rides. I’m more of a loner that likes to be as fit as possible in a non competitive environment. Once I realized that ramping things up with a normal plan was too much for me, I discovered the recreational plan, the one with 3 trainings per week, combining treshhold and VO2 max with IF ranging from .80 to .92 for 45 minutes. Perfect for me.

I tend to learn by mimetism. Which is why I’ve been religiously listening to the podcast every day for the past 9 months. 1 hour per day. While I walk to work. It’s very entertaining and, of course, I learn a lot (and don’t bother as many people on the forum anymore with my neewbie questions !). I’m currently at episode 214 and learned that Jonathan finished 6th and 9th at the 2019 Nationals.

10 days ago, I went for my Sunday ride, and I didn’t have the legs to keep me going. I had to stop after 45 mn. My NP was normal (my actual outdoor power meter FTP is 192), but I probably didn’t fuel correctly before, or I was simply tired. The week after that, I couldn’t complete any of my workouts. My heart rate would skyrocket at treshold and my legs would fail me after 20 minutes. I didn’t understand why. Ok, I was only doing one or two interval workouts per week and one long ride, but did my fitness drop so abruptly ?

I figure I’d start a new program from scratch. Try to really get better. Doctor Chad prescribed a ramp test, and I hadn’t assessed since october, so maybe it was time.

I hopped on the saddle, fueled before the workout and gave my very best effort on the verge of collapse.

Suggested FTP: 106
How could I possibly have lost 20% fitness in such little time ? I didn’t have enough time to listen to 214 podcast episodes all over again, so I decided to just put away my bike for the evening and to move on with my (ouch) 106 FTP.

That’s when I saw it
The level on my trainer had changed, probably when I put it away 10 days ago. I wasn’t on level 3 anymore, but on level 4

And I discovered that 106 at level 4 with the software thinking it’s level 3 is actually a Level 4 FTP of 132

The following day (yesterday), I did a sweet spot workout and absolutely nailed it. Which was very reassuring

and today I went for a 40 mile ride and crushed some PRs along the way. I guess I was just feeling a little tired, 10 days ago

Sorry for the rambling, I just like telling stories now and then. Especially ones where I look foolish for not thinking for myself and figuring that something must be wrong with the equipment.


Every cyclist knows it’s the equipment’s fault. No such thing as user error.