Tuesday, November 04, 2008

FTP Paradigm Shift

Three weeks ago I had a very poor time trial result in Ringgold. I felt mentally with it and well-motivated during the race, but in reflection I realized that I never exhibited the 'symptoms' that I normally do in an all-out TT effort. In a good TT, a couple of strange things normally happen to me:

1-At least once or twice during the effort, I convince myself that I've ramped up the power too hard, totally screwed up my pacing, and honestly question if I'll be able to finish the course. I can remember sorting through false excuses in my mind to explain to my teammates why I didn't show up at the finish line ("I got tired" doesn't sound too hot). It's never happened, and I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. Your mind can play tricks on you in a hard TT.

2 - At least a couple of times during the effort, I involuntarily cuss, shout, talk, or whatever. It's like I've contracted Tourettes Syndrome and have no control of my speech. It's really very strange. I've startled a few volunteers by doing it.

Neither of those things happened in Ringgold. I think that means I didn't leave it all out there. I'm not sure why that happened - end of a long, hard season, I guess. Come to think of it, neither of those things has happened in my TTTs, either. I wonder if that's because I'm not giving it everything or because I have rest intervals?

The day after the Ringgold TT, I did a FTP test on the Computrainer. Near the beginning of the test, my computer monitor went out. It got so fuzzy that I couldn't read the wattage on the screen. I continued working hard and completed the test. I was expecting a good result, but when I downloaded the data I found that my FTP was only 264 watts. I had expected it to be around 280, at least. I was disappointed in the result, but in a way I was relieved. I figured it had been a long year and it was normal for me not to be able to maintain my FTP from January to October, and that's why I performed poorly in Ringgold. It all seemed to fit, and it gave me an easy out. I looked forward to starting a new FTP ramp in November.

But yesterday, November 3rd, I performed another FTP test. This time I had a new monitor and could use the average wattage number as a carrott during the test. Guess what? My FTP is 286 watts!

All of this shifts my training paradigm and convinces me of three things. First, the Ringgold thing was a failure of my mind, not my legs. Second, I have to get an Ergomo BB for my TT bike before February to give me a carrott and maximize my power output. And third, I'm starting my FTP ramp for 2009 about 2 watts higher than the end of my 2008 FTP ramp.

Can I gain 20 watts in 14 weeks this winter like I did last winter? I have no idea. Either I'll have lots of work with no improvement this winter, or I'll move to a 300-watt FTP, 4.6 watts/kg. Most likely it'll be something in between.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally get Tourette's when I'm going hard. I've pretty much learned to keep it internal but there are times when the profanity sort of spills out. Usually I'm calling myself names but not always.

When I'm on, I get the feeling like I'm a jet engine getting hotter and hotter as I ride. I get up to speed int he first few miles and then I just slowly ramp up the throttle...if I get to "puke" then I try to throttle back some...

The Physicist