On Saturday I did nearly the exact same ride as I did the same time in 2008. Its a loop south of Ames, IA. Actually the 2009 ride wasabout 15 miles longer than the 2008 route. Same weather, same wind.
I purposely didn't monitor my speed the entire route, focusing on cadence and heart rate the entire time and keeping both in a predetermined range.
When I returned, I compared results: Same average HR, with an average speed 2 MPH higher than last year! Wahoo!
Pleased, very pleased.