FTP Testing Locations – Kansas City Edition

Finding your functional threshold power (FTP) isn’t complicated, but finding a good place to perform the test isn’t always easy. The aim of this post is to pin-point ideal locations around Kansas City to perform the test. I will update this post with new information periodically.

Longview Lake, Lee’s Summit MO

This is where I perform the majority of my clients power test. I’m partial to this location because I grew up riding these roads, but also because it offers a solid 20-minute loop with minimal interference from traffic. There is a 4 way stop that is always very low traffic, a flowing right hand turn, a light that’s almost always green, and two more right hand turns with big shoulders.

The biggest challenge, depending on how you approach it, is the big hill in the beginning. Here is how I break down the effort for my athletes before the test starts. I feel it actually makes it a bit easier to have the terrain dictate the pacing to an extent.

  • When rounding the righthand turn from Sampson onto Highgrove stand up and get up to speed quickly. This is a short punchy climb but it’s important you don’t attack this section too hard.
  • Once it flattens out drive the pace at 95% leading to the climb.
  • Stay seated and push at 110-120% on the climb. (most athletes reach the top in 4-6 minutes depending on the wind and ability)
  • Keep power at 80-90% on the downhill.
  • As soon as the road flattens out get back to 100%.
  • Push the gentle uphill grades slightly harder.
  • At minute 15 kick it up a notch. You may not increase your wattage much, but your effort will need increase to keep it going.
  • Every minute continue ramping up your effort just a little.
  • In the final minute start smashing the pedals with everything you have left.
  • In the final 15-20 seconds stay seated and sprint! Try not to puke…

A couple important considerations:

  • When making the right turn into View High I highly recommend staying on the shoulder. The traffic on that road is always moving quickly.
  • The shoulder can sometimes be full of debris so keep your head up at all times. I typically move off the shoulder into the road about halfway down Raytown Rd. because the shoulder starts getting nasty.
  • Most athletes will hit 20-minutes either on 109th street or on View High by the golf course. A stronger rider with good wind conditions or a time trial bike may need to go further. If the light is green go straight and stay right at the fork. If the light is red turn right onto 3rd st. and head down towards the college. I test a lot of strong riders and they rarely go further than the golf course entrance.

Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport, Kansas City MO

I like the airport because it’s low traffic and only has one yield sign that you can safely ride through. There are a few speed bumps on the south side of the loop but nothing crazy.

The only challenge I have at the airport is boredom. For me it’s only a notch above the indoor trainer because it’s outside. The trick to making the airport work is to have an agenda. Warm-up, crush the test, cool-down, and call it a day.

I recommend using the classic 4 quarter pacing strategy.

  1. 5 minutes – hold back a bit, even if you’re feeling good. Maybe 95% of goal pace.
  2. 5 minutes – begin to ramp up to 100% of goal pace. Do this gradually.
  3. 5 minutes – at goal pace, maintain.
  4. 5 minutes – if feeling good begin to ramp things up and crush the final minute, if feeling bad then hold on for dear life!

A couple important considerations:

  • The round-about can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention. Keep your eyes up and don’t blow through the yield sign if there is traffic. Follow the law and use common sense.
  • There are usually a lot of other cyclist and runners using the roads. Be courteous.
  • Not pedaling for 1-2 seconds to be smooth over the two speed bumps won’t hurt your power as much as ramming into them like a rhino. Smooth is strong.

Kauffman/Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City MO

This is a great loop for testing plus having the stadiums in the back ground is kind of cool. I’ve only ridden here once so the important considerations below are based mostly on second hand information. I will update this in the future if needed.

Since this area is relatively flat with no stops I recommend using the classic 4 quarter pacing strategy.

  1. 5 minutes – hold back a bit, even if you’re feeling good. Maybe 95% of goal pace.
  2. 5 minutes – begin to ramp up to 100% of goal pace. Do this gradually.
  3. 5 minutes – at goal pace, maintain.
  4. 5 minutes – if feeling good begin to ramp things up and crush the final minute, if feeling bad then hold on for dear life!

A couple important considerations:

  • Check the game schedule before heading out. You won’t want to be there if there is any sort of game happening.
  • There are usually security guards on duty. Be courteous to them and everybody else for that matter.
  • Sometimes after games they’ll have clean-up crews on the streets. They might ask you to not ride while they do their thing. I would just recommend not going during or immediately after games in general.

 Now go test!

If you have any suggestions on routes you would like to share please shoot us an email or leave a comment below.

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