My bike performance & strength gains are pretty much done for the 2020 training year. I'm going to spend the next couple of months getting leaner, and then in October I start the the 2021 training year. That makes this a good moment to take stock & see what I've accomplished since October.
I'm really happy with all that. And look at that growth in my thighs! F$%# yeah!
I feel good about those strength gains. But I feel like the time I spend in my so-called strength build was mostly maintaining, rather than building.
I got my game together during the quarantine, and pushed my bench press, deadlift, and squat strength way up. I hit numbers that mark excellent progress, and that I can live with for now. I'll head back into a hypertrophy block in October-December (might as well put those holiday calories to work...), and build on that success.
I explicitly set out my goal to play the long game, to work steadily toward my long-term goals, even at the expense of short-term gains. For me, that means steadily working toward strength and body composition benchmarks first. It's increasingly clear that those are table stakes for success in local races.
With the 2020 OtH series first postponed, then postponed again, I pretty quickly saw which way the wind was blowing and wrote off this summer entirely. That, together with the shelter-in-place orders, made strength work the clear best way to spend my training time between March and July.
So I'm not too concerned with my on-bike performance. I'm not as quick as I was this time last year, but I'm almost as quick on short climbs, and I know from experience that I can extend that to build more endurance & repeatability. I'm doing a good job of maintaining a base of cardio/endurance fitness.
What data I do have on my bike tells me that I'm pretty much on par with where my training rides were this time last year. Given the great progress I've made building strength in the last 8 months, I call that a win.