Keeping up with group rides

So my FTP is low - 1.97w/kg (90kg). I am new to cycling (to augment my running) and have a good base fitness. What is a good rule of thumb for being able to maintain the group ride ‘class’ w/kg ranges? I tried to keep up with D grade (1.7-2 w/kg) and was only able to average 1.7w/kg for 1 and bit laps of a 4 lap event when I was ‘done’. What percentage of FTP are these endurance rides aimed at? ie the minimum for this ride was just a tad over 80% of my FTP.

  1. You’re starting with general-aerobic fitness greater than your cycling-specific fitness. I suspect that your cycling fitness will rise quickly as you put the miles in on the saddle.

  2. I suspect that either the FTP value you’re using is too high or you were tired or otherwise not your best during that ride. By (the casual) definition, FTP is the maximum power you can sustain for 60 minutes. 80% of FTP would be in the “tempo” power range, an effort that you can sustain for something like 2.5 to 8 hours. TrainingPeaks has an explanation here: . Rides of that duration do require training; most people who can ride at a certain level for an hour at perceived exertion of 3-4 on a scale of 10 cannot just assume they can maintain that level for say, six hours, without working up to that. And in the same way, being able to go all out and maintain a certain level of power for twenty minutes does not mean you can assume that you can take 95% of that power and maintain that for 60 minutes. If you get your FTP from a short test like that, you can’t automatically assume that you can maintain that FTP for an hour. I’ve heard or read from several sports scientists that the reliable way to get your sixty minute power is to test for an hour, and the shorter tests are unreliable. I suspect that is especially true for new riders.

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As a ‘runner’ (well jogger), I understand how it works for running effort (I run by power these days) I just wasn’t sure if cycling fit the same basic power model. Yes, fatigue may have been an issue as I ‘ran’ 8k a couple of hours earlier (I’m fast approaching 60 years of age and trying to lose weight and gain fitness) but it was a light Zone 1 run from a power perspective though zone 2/3 from a HR perspective.

If your FTP is around 1.9 w/kg, then you need to look for rides around 1.2-1.5 w/kg. Doing a ride at FTP will be an all out effort.
For instance, my FTP is 4.2 w/kg and I look for rides in the 2.5-3.5 range depending on how hard I want to go.
Also don’t forget in cycling the draft effect is HUGE in a group! Once a gap opens most people are gone!
Hope this helps.
Keep up the good work!