2021 didn’t get off to a good start. I had just signed up with Sufferfest and 3 weeks into January my smart trainer died. I missed all of the Tour of Sufferlandria and finally got the replacement up and running, starting the FF Prep Plan in March. In the interim, the weather was making it tough to get outside and ride, but I managed. We have a local tradition of riding your age on your birthday. February doesn’t always cooperate, but since I was turning 62 I had to get out and ride a metric century. I wound up doing two, three days apart. It highlighted what I already knew; at 6’ 3" and weighing in the 190s, climbing was my weakness. I also was having trouble hanging with the group on the flats when they spiced up the pace.
So, Half-Monty completed to get a starting baseline, I started the FF Prep with my first FF on March 7. Weaknesses were as expected. I then did the Volcano Climbing Plan and after a few days off, another FF. I’m happy to report that those 5 weeks of training gave me a 25W bump in FTP.
Last night was the real-world validation though. We have an informal Monday night ride that usually averages 17-17.5mph this early in the season. In the past, it’s been the source of much pain and effort to not get dropped. But this time, 50 miles, over 2700’ of climbing and an average speed of 18.2mph. Looking at power stats, my average FTP was 1W higher than the FF results, so right on the money. The best part - I wasn’t exhausted and even today, my legs aren’t sore. This has been a tremendous confidence boost.