The Bell curve of cylists - how fast are the average TR users?


I’m not getting at anything… just interested in the stats.

This was based on one study afair and it was 40-70 minutes to exhaustion. I think think the 60 minutes came from Coggan “aprox. 1 hour”

This is actually the reason I was asking for these numbers. It could help shed some light on what riders are actually doing or capable of doing. The majority of riders I’ve talked to, seem to think their FTP = 1 hour power. But it seems the majority have never performed at FTP for an hour (including myself fwiw).
I’d venture to say less than half! have ever held their FTP for longer than 30 minutes.

This has been a question on my mind for some time as after reading the research on MLSS and time to exhaustion being anywhere from 30-70 minutes. So what exactly is “exhaustion” and what makes some athletes stop at 30 minutes and some at 70 minutes? If MLSS is a quasi steady state what makes it more sustainable for some and less for others?

Not sure if the numbers could answer those questions or not but I think they would be interesting to see what the average duration at FTP for most of us is.


I think it’s fairly easy to describe what’s happening, and how to train for it. It’s a lot harder to describe what the specific physiological mechanisms are for those phenomena. Or at least, it’s less intuitive, and I haven’t figured it out.

So you can get better at holding FTP for longer, by doing training where you hold FTP for a long time. Basically TT training. Muscular endurance increases, and the power curve flattens out and/or extends some. Eventually fatigue is going to set in, and it’ll get unsustainable.

I’ve actually not seen a lot of good descriptions for what exactly is happening when we fatigue over the long term. We’ve got a finite amount of glycogen we can burn, and we can recover some of it while burning it. But I wouldn’t think a 45 minute FTP effort would tap someones reserves, especially when that same person may be capable of a long hard NP buster type workout, that’s also clearly taking a lot of glycogen.

Besides glycogen though, I’m not really sure what else is affecting fatigue for these efforts.


Colin Strickland or his old Specialized teammate Aldo for example. They made a good bit of the field look like dwarfs in comparison at some of the fixie races.


Hi Nate,
Could you be so kind and show bell curves for W/kg instead of raw W?

Best Regards


They are already posted at the beginning.


And a larger breakdown:


295 my highest ever :frowning:


My FTP is currently set at 315W although i suspect it’s a tiny bit higher.
6 weeks ago I did Alpe du Zwift in 46 mins @ 322W, I went hard going into the bottom of the climb as well so for an hour I had 313W.

Going at FTP for a long time takes practice and is a mental as much as a phyiscal game.


Hello!! I’m 58km and my current FTP is 206. Putting me at 3.55w/kg


Wow, that’s really tall! :stuck_out_tongue:


Ha ha. Gotta love autocorrect! Let’s try 58kg


Im 54 yrs old, not a long term athlete, my FTP is 282 after latest test half way through power build. While its down from 289 at end of Sweetspot, Ive been working long shifts and think fatigue is still a factor. My winter weight is coming off (In Australia) and now down to 87kg which gives me a FTP/kg of 3.24. I was 82.5 last year, so will head to 3.5 with extra weight off. Surprised where I sit in Bell Curve.

Before took up cycling ten years ago I was obese at well over 110kg.

Been using TR since August and continually improving and hitting PR’s outdoors.

Love Trainer road and and the results im getting.



I would totally love to see an age distribution of TR users.
I bet this is pretty MAMIL heavy - and might lead to different priorities in product development…



or even VOMITs!


Seeing the numbers for me isn’t particularly illuminating or motivational. I am nearly 62 and about 1lb off being 3.0 which is pretty good for my category. However overall I know a few TR users and I train much harder and with more dedication than them. They are half my age but I know that if they put some effort in they would be 3.5 at least.

So I take some comfort that I am doing OK but there are also lots of people who could up their game much more. I am surprised there are over sixties with between 5.0 and 5.5. They must be beasts in their age groups.


I thought about sharing that but I don’t want to share that data to other company’s marketers. Makes it pretty easy to slice ads based on TR demographics.


As cycling is now portrayed as “the new golf”, I think the MAMIL call is pretty accurate.

Kind of disheartening in a few ways but it is what it is.


I’d love to see this by road and Cx category.


That’s a neat idea, we could do it by what speciality plan someone chose.

I see the headline now; “are road cyclists stronger than mountain bikers? We have the data…”

If that won’t get clicks nothing will :slight_smile:.


The bell curves are awesome comparative data, and has helped to keep me motivated.

Another idea that would be super cool to see is how riders finish in raches based on their w/kg, E.g. of all the TR riders that completed the LT100MTB, what was their w/kg and what time did they finish in?

There’s a lot of variables that could skew results, but given this race sees ~1.500 riders a year, it seems there should be a pretty good sample of data to show some general trends?

Ideally, you could show the data based on a raw w/kg and one that is “acclimatized”. I.e. a rider’s w/kg at sea-level going into the race is arguably different than a rider at elevation going into the race? For me, I want to know what is a reasonable time to set as a goal, based on my fitness heading into the vent. If I’m at 3.7 w/kg at sea level, can I reasonably expect to finish in under 10 hours with a good plan of execution on course…?