Threshold Power Estimation Test

High tech living room testing lab

As I mentioned a few days ago, power output at threshold is an important measure of cycling fitness. During the season, I usually perform Joe Friel’s monthly.  I have found this test to be minimally fatiguing and gives repeatable results. I use this test in conjunction with race data to make sure my training is on track.

Last month, my estimated Functional Threshold Power (FTP) was 320 Watts for the second month in a row. I was in the earlier stages of base training and FTP is not expected to increase greatly, but I was disappointed to see no improvement. I have been aiming for a lower racing weight this year and had lost a few pounds between my previous two tests. I may have lost weight too quickly and lost some muscle mass (I think I lost about 5 pounds in the month between). FTP is usually measured in W/Kg, so there was a 3% improvement in FTP even with the same test result of 320w.

FTP Test Data

This month I saw the smallest gain the test is sensitive for, 3%. This may sound like a tiny improvement, but according to Andy Coggan’s the difference between a Cat 2 and Cat 3 cyclist’s FTP is only 15%.  My new estimated FTP of 330w should be useful for pacing in my upcoming 40k TT.

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About Russell

I have been racing bicycles for a decade. This blog will chronicle my efforts as a Category 1 road racer lining up with the pros.
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