Today was my first “real” FTP test of the season. I am defining it as real because my last one, on 1/28/2016, was more about feeling out where I was starting the season. I wasn’t really sure how many watts I lost over my end of season break, so I did a bit of riding in the weeks previous and then took a shot in the dark, which turned out to be pretty close (245). One setback to my previous test was that I didn’t know that Lefthand Canyon is actually closed during the day and will be for the next couple of months due to construction, so the interval itself was done in two parts with a tiny amount of rest between as I transferred from Lefthand Canyon Dr. to the back side of Lee Hill.
This brings me to today’s test. Given the issues with Lefthand Canyon, I decided to head over to Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. It’s a climb I’m very familiar with and it’s one of the only options I have within a reasonable driving distance. While an iconic climb of the area, it does have its issues, the biggest one being gradient. This sucker is extremely steep for the first 8-10 minutes. Average over the first 8:00 minutes was 7.7% with pitches into the double digits; the duration of the climb average ~6.5% with several steep switchbacks. I was worried the steep grade would lead to an abnormally low cadence during my test and I was right.
While I can’t say for certain that the steep grade kept me from producing my best power, I doubt it helped. Over the first 6 minutes, I only averaged 69 RPM with the remaining averaging a paltry 76 RPM. As I suspected, I’m not quite ready for this best and I think I will try to head over to Lookout Mountain for my test next month, although it is a longer drive without as many parking options.
Overall, I’m pleased with the results of this test. I managed to achieve my goal of gaining 10 watts on my FTP and, for that, I can rest easy. However, I can’t help but think that, had I been able to maintain a sensible cadence, I could have held on to my average power at 10 minutes of 271 watts (giving me 4-5 watts on my FTP). Next time, I’ll make sure that I am using a sensible climb for my FTP tests when Lefthand Canyon isn’t available.
Cadence: 74 RPM
Heart Rate: 179 BPM
Average Power: 268 Watts
Normalized Power: 268 Watts