Last month 8 Woodmancote Wheelers put themselves to the test at Suffershire in Cheltenham. For those of have not heard about Suffershire, it is a studio with 10 WattBikes, two big screens and a number of Sufferfest training programmes.
Ben who manages Suffershire invited the Wheelers to have a go and complete a functional threshold power test. An FTP test essentially tells you how much power you can produce for an hour and gives you an indication of how many watts per kilogram you are capable of. Note that World Tour professionals are in the region of 6W/kg.
Our session started with much banter whilst getting the WattBikes setup, Ben helped with our positions and showed us how to connect our heart rate monitors and phones to the bikes so that we could record the results.
We were then into a 20 minute Team Sky warm-up, which as the name suggests is actually pretty tough as you increase your cadence and complete some 6-second sprints to get you ready for the actual FTP test. With a quick break for drinks and encouragement, Ben reminded us that he had a bucket should we need it during the FTP test…
Now it was time to get serious and start the FTP test. The idea is that you ride hard for 20 minutes at a power output that you can sustain, maintaining an even pace and hopefully increasing your power output towards the end.
The experience of pushing yourself beyond your usual limits is both exciting and horrible in equal measure; however sharing the experience with fellow Wheelers ensured that no-one gave up and we all finished exhausted but happy!
After many jelly babies were consumed it was back on the bikes to see who could produce the most power in 6 seconds. At this point it all became rather competitive as the Club Captain refused to accept his loss to other Wheelers despite his legs trembling with lactate and them refusing to pedal any faster! Peak power in excess of 1300 watts were seen on the evening!
For those of us that took part the chart below gives an indication of where we stack up against other cyclists.