Don't forget your rest days.
So I've been riding since August 9th, a total of like 24 tracked rides over 208 miles, and after a two day break today I had an OMG moment, as in "OMG I can't believe I just did that!"
Usually after riding the bike path I take the pedestrian overpass back over the freeway to get into my neighborhood. My side has an elevation advantage compared to the other side, and so my ride out and over the freeway is usually fairly easy, but then on the return needing to ride the longer climb as I'm already tired I struggle to keep the oxygen flowing right up to the top... but not today.
I planned to power up the first quarter to get some momentum that I could maintain by dropping gears all the way up. Turned out however that I was able to power up about half of the overpass, and then the remaining half turned into relative ease compared to the efforts I'd made to make it happen previously. I only dropped 2 gears, rather than the 5 or 6 that I had to do on rides only a few short weeks ago.
I know your muscles do a lot of rebuilding after your workouts, and rest days are when they make big progress on their own, but it's amazing to me what a difference in performance it feels like coming back to the bike after a rest day or two. That's really awesome because it will be great incentive to come back to the bike after a 2 day break rather than taking the lazy way out and just keep vegging.
I have the same type of pedestrian overpass and know what you mean. The first part of my ride is fairly easy because its mostly downhill to the overpass and I can get over it pretty well but then the ride back has a uphill incline and hitting that overpass is tough. I feel good when I can get over the overpass with as little as shifting as possible.