20 kilometers in 20 minutes part 3

We last left Mr. X he was working through the second phase of a tough off-season performance goal of riding his rollers 20 kilometers in 20 minutes. In our previous article we covered the types of training, equipment updates and some early results.

So Mr. X had his second FTP test this past weekend and there were some disappointments and some good news. Lets start with the good news. While the current goal that I am writing about is Mr. X’s desire to ride 20k in 20 minutes. This is a tough goal but one that he and I think is achievable based on current and past performances. The good news is two-fold. Mr. X had a small power increase and the gearing calculations from the beginning of this journey are indeed correct.

When we started looking at this goal on Facebook I showed the following charts. I took a look at the following calculator http://www.machars.net/bikecalc.htm and then created a spreadsheet looking at 11X23 Cassette and 53 Tooth Chain Ring at 5 RPM Increments.


In Mr. X’s First test he actually bested this graph with a 12×25 cassette being a full mile an hour faster than the chart above.


So after last weekends test we can confirm that the gear calculator output and the above chart work. More on this in a bit…

We also had an increase in power with some caveats. The goal we are following is about speed but Mr. X also has several other performance-oriented goals on RPM averages, 20 min power, Sprinting Power and Sprinting Power Fatigue resistance among others. His goals for Max RPM have been met and his Functional Strength Training Goals have almost been met. So this 20 min power is always on his mind. This number, 20 minutes, is the time frame we use to calculate athlete Functional Threshold Power.

The issue we are facing with Mr. X is that we changed gearing and swapped in a trainer for resistance instead of the rollers so we have some mixed results after last week


Column one represents changes based on the use of a trainer over rollers for a tough 2×7 Zone 5-6 workout in Mr. X’s most recent week of training. Column 2 looks to see what the gains are phase 1 vs. phase 2 with out the last trainer work out. The lesson here is rollers are fast and trainers are not. Trainers are great for resistance and rollers are not.

So what was the bad news?

Mr. X while improving power output by 5 watts over the previous test did not improve speed or cadence.


You can clearly see that in test 2 Mr. X could not hold the necessary RPM in the last 2 five-minute intervals. I am not surprised as he just started using his new 11×23 cassette with his 53 tooth chain ring. He had a great start averaging almost 115 RPM in the first 2 five-minute intervals so we know he can do it!

So how is Mr. X taking the loss in speed and cadence?

He is disappointed but lets put it in perspective. The bigger goal is improving 20 minute power which he did and the loss of speed and cadence in MINIMAL!


I have also explained to Mr. X that his data historically has shown a drop in performance year over year at his second FTP test of the off-season and I have data for several years that proves this. I also see this regularly with all the athletes I coach and will warn them not to get too worked up over the second test of the off-season.

So what is next?

Well we are all going into the holidays and I expect there could be some unexpected down time for Mr. X but he tells me that he is not traveling and determined to get in all of his workouts before the 3rd test. If this truly happens I would expect to see at least another 5-watt increase if not more and better tolerance of the new gearing. This new tolerance should lead to better RPM averages. I won’t be making predictions until I see some data from a couple of his Break Through workouts over the next week.

Will you be changing workouts?

Yes and no. I am adding some more speed work to Mr. X’s training plan but nothing else. We will continue to keep progression of work in Z4/5 intervals as planned and will continue to use the trainer for the Z5/6 two-minute interval workout he will do the week of testing. The upcoming weeks have Mr. X transitioning to Muscle Endurance in his Functional Strength Training Program and the completion of both 5×10 and 3×15 on the rollers.

Feel free to wish Mr. X good luck on the quest or feel free to ask questions of either of use by leaving your questions in the comment section of the page.

With Christmas being next week when writing this update I will not be posting updates on Mr. X’s progress until he completes his 3rd test in a few weeks. Look to our Facebook page in the next couple of weeks for potential observations.

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Until next time,

Train Smarter Not Harder,

Coach Rob

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