I am a 58-year old male now concentrating on time trials and hill climbs. I weigh 66 kg and my FTP runs at 260-265 WA. At a recent hill climb, I managed 267 WA for about 35 mins as part of TT stage race.
One week later, however, while racing on a flat outbound leg into a headwind, my average power lagged badly, around 247 WA. Even that effort drained me sufficiently that I could not take full advantage of the ensuing in-bound tailwind. As a result, my time was 3+ minutes slower than two weeks ago on the same course, with less wind. I have noticed a similar drop-off while riding into headwinds during training.
I realize that there are a lot of potential culprits, including fatigue from 3 TTs over two days one week before. Some of it may also be mental or attitudinal: I tend to like hills and am confident I can make up time there on heavier, and more powerful, racers.
Still, I am struggling to both understand this phenomenon and to find ways to train for it and overcome it -- or at least limit the damage from a headwind. Gravity, in the form of hills, seems much less a problem and I can generate more normal FTP levels in such cases.
I understand that power-to-weight ratio works to my favor on hills, unlike power-to-surface area, which is not that different for different sized riders on similar TT bikes. Yet the gap seems bigger than just that effect would suggest.
Thoughts and suggestions greatly appreciated.