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Suitable spot for FTP test in Sydney

string's picture

By string - Posted on 16 June 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

G'Day Folks,
Not totally MTB, but related in a way. Seeking ideas for a suitable stretch of road in Sydney for FTP testing.

I have tried Centennial Park and Kurnell in the past however Ive been held up in the past at both and both also have slight downhill sections that made it really hard to keep the power high for a continued effort.

Can anyone think of stretch of road lasting over 20mins, either dead flat or slight steady uphill, no lights, no stops and no downhill bits?.

PS - Im inner west but happy travel 50-100km to find a good spot.

Many thanks for any ideas.

Daisy's picture

There must be one near you.
There is an outdoor one at gosford that might suit your needs. I'm sure its not used much during the week.
What about an airport runway?
What is FTP?

chicken wings's picture

Not exactly sure what your getting at and hate to send you to an early grave but,

Old pacific highway passing through Peats ridge.
Some section of the M7.
Castlereagh Rd between Penrith and Richmond.(used to ride this as a 14y.o on my 12 speed racer, seem to remember following the river along there was flat and mostly sand quarry either side of the road).


string's picture

Thanks Daisy,
Nice idea.

FTP testing is a pain in the butt to be frank, but needed if you train intervals with a power meter. You do the hardest TT effort you can for 20mins to get your FTP number (functional threshold power), which you use to set interval training sessions.

Around Sydney it seems almost impossible to find a suitable place to do this without riding on scary freeways.


string's picture

Thanks Chicken Wings,

Yer nice work. Just looking at Castlereagh Road on Google Maps now. I think I know it.. on route out to Yellowmungee. Looks like a good match. Many thanks

Pete B's picture

Are you doing this on a road bike or mtb? If itson your mtb, ride the oaks from Glenbrook up to Woodford. Plenty of sections along that trail that'll keep your heart rate up for 20mins. And as a bonus, on the way back down there's a nice bit of single track.

Dicko's picture

Wakehurts Parkway - Narabeen to Waringah road

Avg grade around 3-4% no traffic lights

mike95's picture

what time of day / week were you doing the test in centennial park?

Ive done all my ftp tests in CP & have never had a problem or had to abort a test due to traffic or other riders.
I know quite a few others who use CP for there tests also.

Maybe give it another shot at a off peak time.

weekdays are the best times. Avoid weekends after 9am.

SpokeyDokey's picture

Good question, String. Back in the day (1982-86 to be precise), Oldandslow and I used to break into the old Camperdown velodrome after hours and take the trusty Malvern Star tandem for a spin every 6 months to measure our FTP. Alas, like our regular Friday night haunt, Harold Park, the velodrome was demolished for unit blocks. Never quite understood rising housing prices in Sydney when 78 million apartments were built in that valley. Anyway, as usual, I digress. We're not quite as quick in our old age, so finding an uninterrupted stretch to ride for 20 minutes is not quite as difficult. Just before Christmas, we set up some witches hats on Beacon Hill Oval and rode a bunch of laps. We got to 17 minutes before Oldandslow's dodgy knee blew up. Don't get me started. Though as Dicko wisely suggested, Wakehurst Parkway is as good as you get. I know you said you'd like to avoid freeways, but what about blocking off a lane of the M4 one morning and giving it a burl. Someone has to try it once.

string's picture

Thanks again for the new replies. SpokeyDokey funny story from back in 80's. Trespassing was only a minor offence back in those days, like climbing the harbour bridge at night with a backpack of beers Eye-wink - What was wrong with that hh?. I might pass o the M4 Idea though thanks.

I've definately got some good ideas from this so thanks everyone. Since CP is quite close, and easily repeatable, so Ill give it another shot towards the end of the week.

Thanks everyone who contributed.
See you out there

tate's picture

I can manage a steady session at centennial if its early enough in the morning before cars and pedestrians start rocking up. You just need to control yourself uphill (to maintain constant power output), and try to keep on the power down the back side. It's doable though. I do find the best is a long steady hill (I also put out more power on a hill than a flat for some reason) or an indoor trainer. Centennial would be my pick after those two.


penrith regatta
Any hill around macquarie pass/berry which takes longer than 20min (there are plenty)
Duffys forest (near terrey hills) seems to be popular with the tri guys.
There's some long flat straight roads out at Londonderry.
Bowen mtn
Kurrajong heights

Plenty of options!

Antsonline's picture

Loads of great responses on here with good locations. All of the guys know what they are talking about, but I think a fundamental point is being missed - and that is of the relevance of the FTP test results and your ability to replicate them for training.

As an example - lets just say you get in a car and drive to Mount Buller and do the test on the excellent road up there, you will then come home and try to do intervals in Cent Pk and find that it's not the same.
Same if you did the test in Cent Park but plan to do your efforts in a studio on a Wattbike. It can easily be 10% difference - and given how hard you will be fighting for single Watt differences in you final 3mins, 10% is too much to ignore.

So - rather than considering where you will get the 'ideal' conditions, it's better to do a test where you will get 'real' conditions - that you can use a gauge.
The issue with a perfect test result is that you will find yourself quickly demotivated because you can't replicate the numbers ever again.

For what it's worth, I do my tests on an indoor trainer and my 'key sessions' on there too. It's the same, every time.

string's picture

I read your post with much interest and found myself guilty of that exactly.. dreaming of a bigger number for the inner-ego!

I thought my number would be bigger by pushing against a steady climb for 20mins.

As you put it, most of my intervals will be done in CP, so I tested there yesturday morning and got a good result anyway.

The slight downslopes just mean you need to concerntrate more on keeping correct gear\cadence and putting the power to the pedals evenly.

The best part of this achievement, is I wont need to travel too far to re-test at the end of my next block.

Thanks again

string's picture

I tested at CP yesturday and got a good result after-all.

The backside of the park was the challenge as you say, and just took more focus on getting correct cadence\gear and even power.

Thanks a bunch for your post and advice.

Brian's picture

Good work. I hate the 20 minute test.

Antsonline's picture

Happy to help, and well done for getting it done.
The hardest thing about a 20min test is the thinking about it before you start!

I have one next week - really not looking forward to it!

hawkeye's picture

Wakehurst Parkway from Narrabeen back up to Frenchs Forest, turning left at the lights at Oxford Falls Grammar and on up the hill on the side-road.

Long enough if you start at the Narra Lakes bridge and get on the rivet immediately, turning left at the turn-left-anytime-with-care lane onto the Parkway.

Can be scary with traffic as the shoulder lane gets narrow - and disappears through two of the bridges - so best done early in the morning on a weekend.

markleby's picture

I do mine on Wakehurst too. Start on Pittwater Rd before you get to the turnoff to get the full 20 mins if you're fussy, but I'm not that fussy. Can be a little hard to keep the power up on the couple of short downhill sections, but that's more than made up for by the climb up to Warringah Road, which is good for getting the last little bit out.

I've mostly had good luck at the one set of lights at Oxford Falls Rd, but I like the suggestion of turning left there.

Brian's picture

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