The Intermediate Base I training program kicks off with a workout called “8-Minute Test” (which is actually an hour in length); this very important test is used to evaluate the athlete’s Functional Threshold Power (FTP). The reason the FTP test is so important is because the difficulty levels of all subsequent workouts are scaled to the athlete’s ability.
When I started the Intermediate Base I program six weeks ago, my FTP was determined to be 270, which is not too bad at all. I was already in pretty good shape at the time, but I’d never done any real structured cycling-specific training programs. The cool thing about FTP is it’s a very accurate benchmark when it comes to measuring your strength as a rider. In other words, when I re-test my FTP next week it will be a good indication of how much improvement the training program I just completed brought about.
A couple weeks ago I manually bumped my FTP to 280 (TrainerRoad encourages manual FTP adjustments between “formal” FTP tests if you feel you have improved), and that’s also about the point the workouts started getting pretty hard. The last ~9 workouts in the program were pretty tough–some more than others. A few of the workouts required me to dig deep to meet my target power goals for each interval. I’m happy to report that I did, without fail.
So now that that I’ve completed the first training program, I’m eager to find out exactly how much my FTP score has improved. I’ve decided that for the rest of this week I’m going to do some non-structured mountain biking and road rides, and perhaps a trainer ride or two, and next week I’ll start the next structured training program: Intermediate Base II.
The first workout in the IB II program is the 8-minute FTP test, and so I’ll have my answer then. While I have no way of knowing exactly what my new FTP score will be, I would be surprised if it’s not at least 300. A 10%+ improvement after just six weeks and a total of $15.00 (TrainerRoad and all its features is just $10/month) would be very satisfying.
By the way, the heart of my Bike Torture Chamber is the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine, and Amazon has it on sale right now for an amazing $271.20 + free 2-day shipping (with Amazon Prime) and no sales tax to most states. The Road Machine has a lifetime warranty and is 100% supported by TrainerRoad (its power curve on TrainerRoad is extremely well-tested and very accurate). Now is a great time to pick this awesome piece of equipment up. Don’t let the cold weather keep you from training! When the snow melts away and most people emerge from their cycling hibernation carrying an extra 20 pounds, you’ll be a lean, mean cycling machine.
Note: my full review of the excellent Kurt Kinetic Road Machine will be coming very soon–probably this week.
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