In the web world, and in my world as a photographer, FTP means “File Transfer Protocol.” Specifically, I use software that allows me to send pictures to a server without having to go through a graphic interface or a web page. It’s like a back door to deliver images to. I use FTP every day that I shoot photos.
As a cyclist, FTP means something completely different. It means “Functional Threshold Power.” Essentially it’s the power you can put out while still being able to clear the lactic acid from your muscles. If you go harder, the lactic acid builds up and you “feel the burn” and can’t keep going. If you go softer, you don’t feel anything and can go for hours on end. So, it’s the power you create at your lactic threshold, and it’s the basis for determining your training zones.
A few weeks ago, I hired Bill Gros of Pyramid Training Systems to be my cycling coach. Bill had been on Squadra Coppi in the past and a lot of my current teammates use his services. He came highly recommended. We did a long ride together and Bill monitored my pedal stroke and riding position, how I moved on the bike, etc. We chatted for a bit about what my expectations and needs were and what his expectations as a coach were. I really liked that. I like his approach and his style of coaching. If you put in the work, you will get results. He is showing me the work to do, and it’s my responsibility to get it done.
And I am getting it done. My first week was about 11 hours of riding, which included my FTP test. It was an hour and half long ride, with a 30 minute effort My functional threshold power is 202 watts, which isn’t great but it puts my watts per kilo in the mid Cat 5 range, which is what my USA Cycling license says anyway. I suspect this number will only increase over the course of the next few months.
My second week of structured training has been great. I know what numbers I need to hit to stay in my zones and I like the variety of workouts I’m doing. I’m getting stronger, and I’m getting faster and I love it. My hip has been great over the last two weeks. The last couple of days I have felt a little tightening of my hip flexor but it’s nothing compared to before. I will be stepping up my core workouts in the coming weeks and I know this will help. Hopefully I’ll drop a couple pounds, too. I’m still 12 pounds heavier than where I was before the surgery and I really want to lose it before ‘cross season starts.
Here’s a screen grab of my Critical Power curve, as viewed on Golden Cheetah’s software: