A beautiful day for the first real outdoor ride of the new year, with temps in the low-50s and a 9 mph breeze from the West. Dr. Jim and I rode one of our standard circuits, the Orchard Route; so I was able to get a decent read on just how much form I lost during the winter.
After training consistently through the end of 2013, January and February were terrible, thanks a combination of bad weather, a hernia, surgery to repair that hernia, and most recently the flu. For much of the ride today, I felt like I was starting from scratch. My average speed for the 27.5 miles (including just over 2000 feet total climbing) was only 15.5 mph, with normalized power of only 187 watts, an average heart rate of 157, and a training stress score of 83. But after comparing it with some older data, I'm about a month ahead of my fitness on exactly the same ride last year. Most importantly, it was good to be back on the road (even if many of those roads were more potholes than pavement).