Trying to get 250 ftp by Leadville, questioning AIFTP and Adaptive Training

So I’m all signed up for my first Leadville. My FTP usually ends up around 230 every Aug/Sep with very unstructured training. I do intervals here and there. Time trials on known trails to check my times. Then I slack off for a couple of weeks. But I eventually get the FTP to 229-232. I fear that’s my genetic limit.

I usually stop riding in November and December then very gradually start riding again in January, 5-6 rides/mo through March.

This year I started training in December with TR. mid volume. I haven’t missed a workout. I’m over 70 rides already. Ramp test in December put me at 161W. I manually bumped that to 171W.

AIFTP put me at 181 in Jan, 191 in Feb, 201 in Mar, and now 208 in Apr (which I manually moved to 211). Moving up 10W every month will get me to my 250W goal by August. But AIFTP is already slowing down.

Question: if I don’t miss a single workout, I don’t fail any workouts, I train in erg mode so I do exactly the watts prescribed and accept all adaptations, how do I reach my true potential?

I couldn’t have done any more the past month beyond their prescribed workouts and watts and only got a +8W increase. Do I manually increase each workout to 105%? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of adaptive training and AIFTP, if I have to continually push it forward?

I fear it won’t keep increasing my ftp enough for me to reach my goal.

I wonder if I should do some ramp tests to check my ftp. Waiting 28 days for AIFTP seems unproductive. But where do I fit a super hard ramp test into my plan?

I feel like TR should have some workouts that bring you to failure every now and then to find your limit.

I think one thing you need to have in your mind is that while it might be, it also may not be possible for you to reach 250W by August. Physiology doesn’t work that way, so don’t stress about the number and just put together the best training plan possible with the volume you can recover from. Don’t try and game the system. I personally would be Thrilled with another 10W by August - I’m in the race and racing too.

I personally would be using a Gran Fondo Plan. Low or Medium Volume, potentially a masters plan depending on the intensity you can take. I would back-date the start of the plan to whenever you started training. I also add Z2 Volume (Real Z2, not go out and have fun or crush it on group rides Z2) as I have time and can still recover from,

If you think your FTP is too low, then by all means just go schedule a ramp test, but know that those overstate FTP for some people. I like this as a good, productive Threshold workout that won’t kill you (Gray +5)

If it’s moderate or easy, your FTP is too low. If it crushes you or you can’t finish it, your FTP is too high. What you’re looking for is first interval manageable. But the last 5-10 minutes of the second interval solid HARD, but not Very Hard, Crushing, can’t finish it hard.

If you want to go to failure, look up the Kolie Moore Threshold Tests. Those will tell you if your FTP is set right, but are more difficult than something like the above Threshold workout.


Not sure your age and weight, but your ftp progression sounds almost EXACTLY like mine. Every year I top out around 230-240 (I end up taking a couple months off almost every winter for various reasons).

When I did Leadville in 2019 that was my first year using TR. I used virtuall power, but went from 180 to 248. Haven’t bet able to get ftp that high since using a power meter. :man_shrugging:.

You mentioned an 8 watt increase in one month. Dude, that’s solid! I notice you’ve manually moved your ftp up from what AI is telling you a few times. Personally, I would just trust the system. Maybe a little less intensity? I’m 45, masters plans are awesome for me. Or low volume with extra zone 2. I progress much better.

FWIW, I finished Leadville in 10:40 at 39 and 155 lbs with an ftp of 248 (virtual). You got this! It’s an amazing experience, enjoy the entire process! FTP will be what it is.


I would ask myself if I’m chasing the right goal. Your FTP increases are huge and frequent. I would definitely not be looking for those huge bumps to continue indefinitely. That’s not a realistic goal and is only going to lead to eventual disappointment. Especially when the numbers are coming from a Ramp Test or an AI calculation and you’re talking about doing a very long race with a lot of climbing at serious elevation.

On the other hand, if your goal is to perform as well as possible at Leadville, I’d ask myself what that will take. I’ve never done Leadville, but my understanding is that it’s all about riding at elevation for a very long time and those long climbs. I’d focus on being able to sustain power for those long climbs while also ensuring I know what it feels like to ride under stress for 10+ hours…or something like that. Someone more familiar with Leadville might have better advice on those realistic and achievable goals.


There is nothing magical about an FTP of 250w for your event later this year.

There are MANY other pieces of the puzzle: nutrition on race day, proper rest leading up to race day, avoiding injury, and the list goes on and on.

I would advise following your TrainerRoad plan, stop manually adjusting your FTP, (before you blow up), and start thinking about being the best you can be at your event. You’d FTP will be what it is.


You’re the second person I’ve seen recommend the Gran Fondo plan for Leadville. I didn’t know I could backdate it to the beginning of my plan.

I’ll look at that later when I have time, as well as the Masters plan. Thanks for the advice!

Best of luck in LV!

1 Like

Thanks for the encouragement! I’m 50 so Leadville is my wife’s gift to me. Probably a one-time, bucket list adventure. I’m 162lbs and will be 155 come race day.

Your 10:40 time has me stoked since our numbers are so similar. I’ve had serious doubts about making the 12:00 buckle time.

I’m definitely trying to trust the system. That’s what I’m paying for, after all. It’s way better than the handful of times I did Zwift last year and spent the first 30 minutes trying to aimlessly find a workout to do.

I’ll definitely look into the Masters plan.

1 Like

Good points! I do love TR so far for the instruction and direction it’s given me. I was a rudderless ship without it.

250W is arbitrary for sure but I really wanted to get over 3.5W/kg. Everyone I see on podcasts and YouTube seem to be over 300W.

All this feedback is definitely encouraged me to trust the plan.

I didn’t mean to come off as a dick, but since I’ve made every mistake possible, I thought I’d chime in.

Food for thought. This inconsistency and detraining is going to hold you back long term. If you keep up with some endurance volume through the winter, you’ll loose only 10-15% of your FTP and then when you hit your build phase you’ll probably gain it back very quickly and then push past it to a newer high. By letting your FTP drift down to 160 watts, you’ve lost a ton of fitness and then it takes months just to get back to even.

That also means that you are building all spring and summer and hitting your best numbers when the season is practically over. If you are in better shape in the winter, start build in January or February, you’ll hit peak numbers in the spring and then have that fitness to use all summer.

No, no, no. You can’t will a higher FTP into existence. Either trust the AI or do a manual FTP test once a month so you know exactly where you are. Longer tests like the Kolie Moore test are much more reliable.

In the end, you do the training and land where you land. Fiddling around with the plan and guessing at your FTP constantly will probably result in lower fitness.


Thanks! 250W is probably arbitrary but I thought attainable given my 230W every year with terribly inconsistent training.
TR knows I’m doing Leadville so hopefully it addresses all those energy systems needed.
Thanks for the encouragement!

  1. If you are taking two months off the bike completely each year, and then another 3-months of riding only 1-2x/wk each year, you are nowhere near maxing out your genetic potential. When I rode that much, my FTP would max out at 220-240w. Last year I maxed out in the mid-300s. Thats with just riding consistently all year, and higher training volumes each week, for a few years straight.

  2. That being said, long-term improvements in fitness, especially when you are climbing up to a new peak you’ve never hit before rather than simply climbing up the ladder you built last year… take a long time. You may not be able to hit 250w - your rate of improvement may slow down a lot when you start getting into previously uncharted territory for your body. And that’s fine. FTP isn’t everything anyways. Especially on long events, I routinely am faster than people who have FTPs much higher than me, because they never do any rides longer than 1-2h, whereas I do routinely. They hold low tempo at 270w the first hour, then 170w the rest of the race bc they’re tired. I hold low tempo at 230-240w for 8h and pass them.


That’s good to know I’m not near my genetic potential. Maybe I should’ve done TR last year to give me a higher starting point this year. I thought 8 months would be enough time to blow past my normal peak of 230W.
TR just seems to be bringing me along so slowly considering I’m completing all the workouts and not failing anything. I don’t know how it determines a new FTP when it limits your watts in erg mode during its prescribed training and you complete everything.

It’s doubtful you are anywhere near your genetic potential, but nobody knows if your physiology will allow you to get to 250w ftp in the next 4 months (or 4 years). Based on how your yearly training has been structured, I think you have a very warped perspective of how quickly fitness is typically built. Getting back to where you were previously is usually much, much quicker than progressing to new territory. Every additional watt of improvement gets harder as you move closer to your potential. When people plateau, increased volume over time (possibly years) is what it can take to make significant improvements once you’ve grabbed the easy stuff.

I’m not saying 250 by august isn’t possible, but I agree w prior poster who said forget the number and take what the training gives you. By progressing too fast or working too hard, you are more likely to lose fitness and/or go into the race with so much fatigue that you can’t express the fitness you have.

As far as training specifically for Leadville, I’d suggest long rides to work on endurance, fueling, and just the mental side of racing a bike for 10+ hours. As I prep for Leadville (and unbound), my ftp doesn’t move too much, but I dramatically improve my ability to ride at ~75% of ftp for long periods For any of these long races, pushing up your “all day” power as high as possible will serve you well. Higher ftp will contribute to that, but ultimately you need ~10 hour power, not 1 hour power. You don’t need to train 10 hours on the weekends, but push the rides out as long as time (and ability to recover) allows.


I’m not sure many people would describe a 31% increase in FTP over the course of 4 months as “slow.” That’s a huge increase my dude.

Edit: from what I understand it determines your FTP based on your progression levels, survey responses, and your overall training history/data.

1 Like

As others have said, I would just put together the best and most consistent riding you can and not obsess over the numbers. Even if you were to hit 250w FTP, it’s not like something magical happens and all the sudden you exceed your expectations at the Leadville. You could easily out perform someone that same age and weight that has a higher FTP than you through good nutrition/hydration on the day of the event…or even just good pacing.

I remember a couple of years ago, I hit 340w at 75kg for BWR San Diego. I was as fit as I had ever been. I ended up getting too dehydrated (event was moved to July that year of covid) and was taken out by ambulance 110 miles in…embarrassing, I know. But you live and you learn :slight_smile:

1 Like

Leadville is a long race. FTP is a valuable metric… but really is a measurement of just 10% ish of the total time you will be out there racing. What matters is what % of that FTP can you hold for the duration of the race that counts. It is fatigue resistance going up long climbs (at altitude). How are your long rides going? That would be my training g priority if I was doing Leadville.

Sounds like you are progressing well. I know it’s hard but we can only do what we can do. Keep up the good work!


Did you start with TR for the first time in December, or you started back with TR on December? Just curious, if you’ve just started in December how did you calculate your FTP beforehand?

For future reference, don’t take off so much time during the winter. I’m 55 and know that you lose fitness really fast after age 50 if you take time off the bike. And, it takes longer to build fitness after age 50. If I were your coach, I’d actually tell you to keep riding 3 days per week all winter, even if just 60 minutes rides…say Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Whatever works better for your schedule. It sounds like every year you are starting from the bottom of your fitness level. With the way you have been training, you are nowhere near your genetic potential.