So here are the pertinent numbers. 04/22/08 - Time 22:16, Ave HR 167, 07/22/08 - Time 22:21, Ave HR 157. There are other numbers. But I think these pretty much say it all. Same course. Of course. Almost same conditions except it was about 5 degrees hotter yesterday.
And you know I was actually amazed at how good I felt while I was cycling yesterday. If I hadn't compared the two times I would have sworn to you I went faster yesterday. I was relaxed. I was spinning a good gear. A bigger gear. But I wasn't mashing. I remember the sense of "white, hot pain" from the effort in April. That was brutal. No this was nothing like that. I was attacking climbs, being aggressive with the course and my attitude. Wow. I felt fast. I felt... Alive. I was taking no prisoners and at the end of it all, right there in black and white, I was 5 seconds slower than before.
I've said before we all need a healthy dose of the truth every once and a while. And like the track, a time trial on a known course can be sobering. But at least now I know exactly where I stand. The possibility exists that could point to more efficiency in my cycling. I'm producing the same speed with much less effort. I'm done chasing speed for the year. My goal now is to create as much efficiency as possible so that I am capable of running a half marathon well after a 56 mile bike.