Ever since the peripheral neuropathy from Metronidazole in late 2014, I have felt that my cycling performance was reduced/impaired. This makes sense: powerful muscle contractions require that the connection from the brain to the muscles have a firing path that is efficient and the brain must not fatigue trying to fire muscles (brain fatigue is a major factor in muscle power for endurance events).
For my incredible Feb 8 2018 workout, it was like all the nerves had been wired up again, so my brain could fire those muscles with powerful sustained contractions like back in 2011/2012. How or why it took 3 years I don't know; the neurologist said up to 2 years for recovery. Well, it apparently took a bit more than 3 years.
What I do know is that this workout was 1 in 300 in terms of it feeling easy and fluid no matter what power level, though maybe this year it will just keep getting better with higher output and the same feeling.
It was like I could set my legs on cruise control and they would just spin away, like setting a dial and they just keep going, the whole thing feeling great even though the legs are being thrashed.
Indeed, the rpms on the high power output were up to 110 rpm and this felt perfectly coordinated—and that’s 4 hours into the ride. A smooth spin at 110 rpm free of any bouncing or rocking up/down requires very fine neurological firing patterns—and it was very smooth. Except for the mild patella pain (which abated immediately after the ride), I felt like I could have pushed it up another 50 watts.
My heart rate stayed relatively low except for the very hardest efforts, and my lungs felt as open and free as they have in a long time. I suspect I was getting up to 10% more oxygen to my muscles versus the low level of impairment I sometimes have, which is a very Big Deal. It felt like most of the ride was aerobic in spite of the power output in the latter half of the ride—a tantalizing idea for doing well in double centuries.
Below, my Feb 8 2018 workout, which felt fluid and easy in spite of the hard effort and 5-hour duration.
The SRM power meter measures kilojoules at the crank. Calories burned is a not-so-simple calculation in general; see Computing Calories Burned using a Cycling Power Meter.