I wrapped up the 32 weeks intermediate plan in early July. It was my first structured training plan of any type. Leading up to this, I’ve been an enthusiastic cyclist the last 5 years, but totally untrained, just lots of fun miles. Many thanks to Frank and the coaching team, the plan has transformed my cycling and my expectations for what I’m capable of achieving. The plan is very comprehensive, and frankly overwhelming to start with if you’ve never done a structured plan like this before. But that’s good, I learnt a heap, and will enjoy restarting the plan again this fall, with a better grasp of what it takes to #FtFP. Everyone likes to talk about FTP gains and I’ll get to that, but in my case I feel I’ve got just as much value from learning about strength training, structured cycling workouts, periodization, nutrition for a cyclist, stretching, rest, and on the list goes.
Performance-wise, what struck me first at the end of sweet spot 1 was that my endurance had increased significantly, I was easily riding 60+ miles, at a time of the year when I used to be just emerging from hibernation and trying to do 25 mile rides. So I observed a large transformation early in the season, but at that phase did not observe an FTP difference over previous years when riding at that duration. That was a little disappointing after months of hard work in the gym and on the bike, but #FtFP. It was in the last 2 weeks of sweet spot two, that I finally saw the ftp gains, and could simply feel I was stronger and faster on the bike than ever before. That ramped up even more into sweet spot 3. Again not just FTP going up, but gaining the ability to really smash it on segments of long rides (4+ hrs), and being able to recover and repeat the efforts. During the long weekend sweet spot rides I also noticed that even though I was getting faster and my average power was improving my average heart rate while in Z2 came down by 5+ bpm. I used to have to really concentrate to keep my HR below 135 bpm on endurance rides, and now it was in the 120s.
Sweet spot 3 did break me in the final week, and I fell into overtraining on the final wednesday, and so aborted the rest of the training rides. I hadn’t done any group rides all year, then finally found a small group and those final Saturday group rides “with race like intensity” may have gotten out of hand, perhaps that was what broke the ‘spokes’. After a 5 day break off the bike, I then did my first outdoor 20 min FTP test on an imperfect route and hit an estimated FTP of 284W. So that was an awesome boost over 2019 (257W), and as I say, I was climbing out of a hole at this point. Soon after this I shattered again, and took another week off the bike.
SInce finishing up the 32 week plan, I was forced into this mid season break due to overtraining, and was learning how to TT, and while doing so, I hotwired the fascat 40km TT plan to fit it into 6 weeks. I’ve finally posted this summary of my experience with the fascat training plans now, as the A goal for the year was a 40km TT under 60 mins. In 2019 my best was ~1:06 at 242W in the aerobars. I just ‘summited’ this morning in 59:44 at an average speed of 40.2kph, and 270W. The training plans got me the power I needed to achieve the goal, but figuring out TT pacing, and optimizing bike fit (road bike with clip-on aerobars) was another massive learning curve and key to achieving the goal in the end.
At the end of the resistance training I put on 6 pounds and was at 202#, now down to 179#, that was another nice side effect of #FtFP.
I’m calling an end to the TT plan now, next up, V02max intervals, KOM hunting, and some Century rides to finish up the season, before starting the 32 week plan again at the end of October.
Stoked with my riding this year, looking forward to starting racing next year, and of course #FtFP. Also got my mind on a 4W/KG FTP, more pain ahead!