The dreaded FTP test

Hey Fellow Fascats

I’ve seen a few posts on the FB forum and here around FTP testing. Fear of failing it, not doing a good test, under performing, “its a mind game I can never seem to complete my test is there another way ?”

Last night I completed an FTP test as I commence my 6 week base to race gravel training.

I have done good tests before and I have done not so good tests. My last test my Fascat coach said I had probably under performed it so we kept with my current training zones and FTP at the time. My coach wasn’t being critical just stating fact. On that day, at that time, based on my body and mind that test was the best I could do on that day. Going into my test last night I had this ‘underperfom’ in my brain here’s how I turned it around - hope it helps someone

Here’s what I’m learning. FTP is probably not a finite number, it more than likely has a wee range depending on many factors. It’s not a number to worry about. You don’t fail an FTP test. There’s nothing to fail. It is what it is on that day. Sure you may not hit a target number you have in your brain but it’s not a fail.

I decided to focus on 4 things

  1. That there was no such thing as a fail
    2). Do not smash it from the get go - it is not a race. In the past I have crushed the first 60 seconds ! Wrong. you are wanting to finish strong in the second half and not burn out, start firm and hold
    3). I focussed on a steady hard effort keeping an eye on cadence, if it dropped off too much I changed down a gear to keep it flowing
    4). The hill became the challenge … the hill was my personal test, not the FTP test. The hill was my challenge and no one elses… Average power and heart rate was going to be a by-product of that hill.

There is no fail. Just aim to get to a point on that road/track you have hit before at a 20 minute point and go further if you have to - but get there.

The Big Cat @FRANK often says always finish the test even if you are down to a 1/4 of your power. That was in my brain - no matter what happened I was going to keep those pedals turning baby, no matter how slow they got! There is no shame, no one cares what your FTP is, it’s about what you can do on the day, on that hill , it’s a point in time.

And that’s how I approached my test. I turned it into a ride up that bloody hill as hard as I could make it up there at 6:22pm on 19 October 2022. A point in time. At the top of the hill I felt happy. I had no idea of the result. It didnt matter, I got to the top of the hill pedals turning, it felt great!

Turned out it wasnt the best 20 minutes climb I have ever done. It didnt matter. I PB’d every segment all the way up. A side result was some numbers called FTP and Threshold heart rate.

If that helps put things into perspective for someone worried about the next or even their first FTP test then this wee post has done some good. Go for it.

#FTFP and enjoy the ride !

Chris (Father) O’Leary


Mind over matter! Way to go!!

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Thanks Allie it kinda helps having a NZ rep rower in the family doing 2k erg tests regularly telling his old man to chill during testing “its just a ride Dad” LOL

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solid advice @fatheroleary will keep this in mind for my next FTP test.

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