Friday, April 06, 2007

FTP and cadence

In the past month I have noticed a significant change in my average cadence for hard group rides and races. Until recently, my typical cadence in a race was 85 to 90 rpm. For a TT, it would hover around 88-92 rpm.

Last weekend I averaged 99rpm for a 1-hour circuit race, and on Tuesday I averaged 96 rpm for a 1.5-hour hard group ride. I think the increase in cadence is a good change, but I want to be careful not to lose the ability to push a slightly larger gear if I want to (although force is one of my limiters).

I don't know if it's related to the cadence increase, but the hard 90-minute group ride on Tuesday resulted in an intensity factor (IF) of 1.04, which indicates that my functional threshold power (FTP) might have increased. For a 30- or 45-minute hard effort I would consider the IF over 1.00 to be an outlier introduced by the normalized power algorithm. But IF=1.04 for a 90-minute ride probably means my FTP has increased by at least 2-4%, which would put it around 250 watts (3.8 watts/kg).

I had already planned three 1-hour 'gold standard' FTP tests per year in December, April, and August, so I guess I'll run a test next week and find out for sure.