MAP always greater than 142% of FTP

I’m curious as to one of the metrics that seem to consistently be adjusted down - my 5’ power. Each and every time I’ve taken the Full Monty, I’ve exceeded the 142% of FTP limit and SUF adjusts my MAP down. As we have more than one data point now, it seems safe to assume that the date is good/consistent. Am I weird in that my MAP is so much more than my FTP? This past test was 153% greater than FTP.

Is the 142% like gravity in that you cannot physically violate that law, or is it more like X% of the population adheres to that metric, so it’s more of a guideline than a rule?

This probably won’t affect my training as my FTP still sucks and needs work, not my MAP. Still, I’m curious. Why is my MAP routinely exceeding the 142%-rule?

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It’s more rule of thumb than universal constant but highly unusual to be over it. Couple of quick questions (not that I’m going to claim to know the answer but asking anyway). What trainer/power meter do you use? What’s your AC relative to FTP?

Oh and are you actually bionic? That might explain it :mechanical_arm::wink:

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How does the 20 minute test feel. It may be that you’ve not adapted physically or mentally to properly pacing the 20 minute test.

If you are rested can you hold numbers that fall with in range.

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Great question! If I divide my own MAP by 153% I would then be riding at around my sweet spot power (85% of my FTP), which would feel very easy for 20 mins. Bearing in mind too that MAP is my strongest 4DP metric!

So the real question here is what is actually holding you back from a more “normal“ FTP relative to your MAP? Is it simply a pacing issue? Or perhaps a bike fit issue causing discomfort on longer efforts? Or maybe you are over-heating - is your pain cave well ventilated with fans etc?

Hey @bionicbrandon,
We have some additional thoughts, but @JamesT, @mb207 and @Peteski all make good points- The 142% rule is just a guideline (we are reviewing the “rules” of our testing, but for now they are what they are), not an impossibility.

One potential issue for the MAP/FTP imbalance is absolute power output. i.e, it’s more realistic and “easier” to hold 150W for 5min and 100W for the 20min compared to 450W for 5min and 300W for the 20min. The energy cost of moving your legs for most people is around 50W, so lower power values means that the short duration stuff can be really skewed compared to fitter/higher power folks. You could be naturally more biased to VO2max tyoe of efforts based on your muscle fiber composition, or cycling and previous sport experience. How long have you been a cyclist, what sports did you do before cycling, etc. If you excelled in efforts of 2-ish minutes, you’re likely naturally dominant in the VO2max range.

You could also not be pacing the 20-minute effort properly or overheating. How do you feel during the 20-minute vs the 5-minute test? Which effort gives you greater leg/muscle burn or more cardiovascular/lung burn? Is your effort during the 20 minute test consistent or do you start strong and drop off?
And cadence. Are you a very high or very low cadence rider? A very low cadence might burn out your legs so that they just don’t have enough energy to maintain strength on the 20-minute FTP test. If you’re a high cadence rider, that could jack up your heart rate too high so that your cardio system gives out and forces you to slow down before the end of the FTP effort.
The devices you’re using (trainer, power meter) could also have an impact. If you’d like to send me a direct message (suzie.snyder@wahoofitness.com) with your SUF account email address, we can take a look at all of your Full Frontal results and see what we can learn from the data. But maybe some of these other factors give you some things to think about in the meantime.

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Lots of good questions! Thanks for helping me solve this physiological mystery.

Trainer is the Elite Direto II (sorry, Suzie!), which is pretty accurate and I do calibrate it.

Here are my recent results. Please don’t laugh! I’m coming off of an 18 month hiatus due to a botched back surgery and subsequent deep body infection, so I am indeed somewhat bionic, but not in a good way. I’m just glad to be back on the bike!

NM: 1025 / AC: 450 / MAP: 270 (was really >300) / FF FTP: 190 (Ramp test put me at 221)

I am 6 foot, 80kg. All of that puts me at “untrained” on the performance charts. Sigh.

Pacing on FTP is probably OK, with some very minor (4-5W) very late fade accompanied by snot slinging and whimpering, a few F-bombs thrown in, and wide-eyed looks of shock from my kids. I feel like I dig deep and leave nothing on the table. I did find a whole new max HR this time, well above what I thought was possible without actual death. I used to think my “go blind, 3 second hold” HR was 180, yet I averaged 186 BPM for the entire MAP test. I am 49 years old. That HR is more in line with a 35 year old. It wasn’t as much fun as it sounds. At least the ticker seems to be good.

Bike fit/comfort is good - I’ve been RETUL fit. Cooling is decent with good A/C system and a fan, but obviously not as good as outside, though I do live in Texas, so arguably it’s much cooler inside!

I’ve been cycling for a good 10-12 years I’d guess, and raced a little. I’ve always been more of a ‘power’ athlete than endurance (basketball, baseball, Crossfit…golf?), but did middling to fine in endurance-ish events, like punchy 100k road races. No podium finishes in that discipline, but no DNF’s either. I did, however, truly suck at crit racing. According to my new MAP, I’d dominate a 5-minute crit, though! :wink:

I don’t think I an overheating. I do feel like I’m giving it everything I’ve got on the 5-minute portion and really, really needed that recovery time. Maybe I’m going too deep on that portion and emptying the tank so that it costs me during the 20-minute portion. To wit, HR averaged 186 during MAP and about 176 on FTP. If I had to pick which one hurt more, I’d say the 5’, but the 20’ just seemed to hurt longer. I found neither particularly pleasant. I had a teeny tiny bit left in the tank at the end of MAP and could have probably had enough for a brief and feeble kick sprint at the end if it were an actual race. Luckily, it wasn’t. However, I was truly cooked at the end of the 20’, though. In fact, I gave serious consideration to calling the whole thing off at the midway point of the 20’ but talked myself into not nullifying what I figured was probably an improved AC & MAP. I eased back a few watts and got to my LTHR and that seems to do the trick. Yes, that sounds like a pacing issue, but it didn’t feel like it was a big wattage drop and I finished at the same power as when I made that small adjustment. It felt more like just finding the right power and cadence. But maybe that’s called proper pacing.

As to cadence, I’m naturally around 90 so more pressure on the cardio system, less on the legs. For me, any trouble I run into on long or fast rides is never the legs, it’s always the lungs.

All of that being said, it’s still a mystery. I didn’t crack in the FTP, and maybe could have gained a couple of MAP watts. I did feel like vomiting at the end, though, and immediately decided that I could use a long, long break from structure before I take yet another 4DP test. I need some fun.

I wouldn’t be too harsh on yourself. Those are pretty decent numbers for someone coming back from illness. Your ramp test FTP looks to be more in line with what you would expect given your MAP.

I’m wondering how much of this is a mental block. I also seriously feel like throwing in the towel at the 10 min mark, but just keep digging away through the pain. FWIW my 5 min HR in my last test was 185 bpm and my 20 min HR was 184 bpm. My max HR is around 190 bpm, so I’m pretty much on the limit for both segments. I also use a cadence of around 90, but in the 20 min test, midway through, I dropped my cadence to 80 (at same power, higher gear) to take a bit of stress off my cardio system. That change of cadence was enough to get me through to the end. Maybe something to experiment with yourself?

@bionicbrandon,
I’d agree with @Peteski, while it’s hard to accept a drop in fitness levels, your numbers are still pretty dang good, especially for having that much time off and stress on your body.
It sounds like you’re generally a more natural VO2 type of athlete, and FTP is just not your strength so your MAP is likely to be your strength regardless. It also sounds like you’re feeling the way you should be feeling for a Full Frontal. You should be leaving it all out there and be spent at the end. BUT if you’re going too deep too early, then yes, it will affect your later tests, particularly the 20 minute. You could play with cadence a bit, when you start to feel that you’re overheating or that you need to slow down soon, maybe try one bigger gear for a little bit to take some stress off of your cardio system and use your leg strength to do the work for a brief period while you “recover” a little mid-way through.
You could also set up some additional fans for cooling- I like to have one in front as well as one hitting me from the side, or side/back angle. More air flow the better!

I say train for a while based on these numbers and re-test in a couple months. You were well trained before taking time off, so you’re going to improve again quickly and need to reset your numbers soon. When you re-test, try backing off ever so slightly on the MAP effort and see if your numbers come out any more balanced. Maybe aim for an RPE of 9/10 at the end instead of a 10/10. This might get your numbers a little more balanced so that you have more accurate results at the end to train with moving forward.
Let us know how you get along over the next few months and what happens if you experiment with your pacing in different areas.
Best of luck and happy suffering!

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Sounds like a plan. I may be a VO2 guy after all, though I confess to not knowing what that means. I did a lab VO2 Max test about six years ago at age 42 and clocked in at 49.5 ml/min/kg, which the techs said was good. I also have a naturally high T-level at about 50. Add those together and that made me a solid Cat 6 racer :wink:

For what it’s worth, the 4DP test is far more miserable!

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For the 5m test, I have gone light headed, felt sick, hyperventilated yet always stay focussed on the fact it is nearly over, just a short effort, hang in and it is done. For the 20 mins the focus is very different.Don’t look at the timer because it is going in slow motion ,relax, keep breathing under control, don’t screw up toes…and so on. The point is, I have a much better ability to push myself over 5 minutes than I do for 20. The ability to ride a good 5 mins is much more than a physical capability alone

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Totally agree on using breathing techniques. Last week I did The Hunted and as a prep video had the yoga video Breathing More Deeply. I didn’t think much of it until the very end of The Hunted when I started using the techniques in the video and ended up with 2 Badass Power Records for 20 min and 1 hour.

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Good suggestion. I do try to be as relaxed as possible, especially upper body/hands/shoulders, etc but still try to hit the power target. Nonetheless, for me it’s always a struggle to hold big power for 20’. I do it, but it totally sucks. Do you find yourself with a similar power mismatch on MAP and FTP?

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My MAP is good compared with my other metrics. I swing between sprinter and pursuiter every test. sustained is always my weakness Not quite sure how to do the 20. Every time I look at how I did and change something, next time it goes worse. Getting the level wrong so increasing cadence increases breathing too much so I slow and drop too many watts, going up a gear leads to a big jump in watts but my legs give way .A couple of tests I have riden the 20 well but cannot emulate the same form without either lungs or legs giving up.It is my holy grail

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Glad I came across this thread as I now have a clearer idea on what watts I should be hitting, in general terms, for my MAP to move the red wedge of judgement away from Needs Improvement to the glorious heights of Good or even…Very Good!

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I’ve seen my MAP been reduced from measured 150 to 125 in the profile. But how should I deal with a MAP workout just done, Big Gear MAP: 2 Sets 6 x 30s, indicating peak power at MAP, and HR into zone 5, while HR is never getting out of zone 1? Would such a workout be of any use at all? Most probably not to improve MAP, or?

If you’re not able to increase your HR, you certainly won’t get the intended MAP stress/workout. I know that’s supposed to be a big gear workout, but maybe you’re in too big a gear? Maybe you could start in a slightly smaller gear to initially increase HR, then gear down to slow cadence and see if you can keep your HR up in the big gear. Just an idea?

Thank you.
Since I hit the indicated power and the indicated cadence, my remark was to stress the reduction of the measured MAP value to FTP/145%,
having resulted in this ineffecive workout.
Besided, I can’t quite see how to follow your suggestion within the 30" time at MAP power, at the indicated cadence.
Though I can see how to do a different workout either by adjusting my ergometer resistance myself (using it not in erg mode),

and reducing the recovery time, but that was not my aim when I chose this sufferfest workout.