It's been a year since I bought my road bike and started riding. I've improved immensely since my first ride. There are many reasons why, the least if which might actually be me.
When I bought the bike we knew it had a few issues. First was a new center hub at the pedals (no I don't know the actual name for it), then the new derailleur after the old one folded up on me. Those two things practically doubled the number of gears available to me, which of course makes me more efficient. Then I was given a set of wheels and discovered that my old wheels weren't turning much at all without lots of effort, so I have to add some more for the efficiency of wheels that actually turn. Now I have the shoes which are an additional energy savings. So a brief tally (using randomly chosen but probably realistic numbers) looks like this:
10% (new derailleur)
10% (new wheels)
So, as I figure it, without having to train at all I've increased my efficiency by 30%. That's right, without getting on the bike my potential improvement is phenomenal. I totally rock.
Now, if I can lose my Minnesota driving habit of leaving enough space between me and the bike in front of me for a quick stop (should it be necessary) I can add 10-15% from the drafting. Seems a bit risky, and I probably should save some room for improvement next year. Don't want to peak too early in my career.