I thought it would be interesting to compare the power data from last year's Red Trolley with this year's Green Trolley. There's good info to be gotten from this. Not only because both races took place on the same course, but because when I did both these races I was in a similar phase of my training plan.
Here's the Red Trolley data (Feb. 4, 2007):
Here's the Green Trolley data (June 28, 2008):
Note that the power peaks that happen each couple of minutes correspond to the short climb right before the finish.
For those who don't have a good perspective of how power (watts) translates to cycling performance, it's pretty simple, the more wattage the faster you're going to go. This is especially true on a hill where the speed up a hill is directly proportional the power to weight ratio of the rider.
One can see that in the 2007 race I put in 800, 750 and 650 watts the first three times up the hill. In 2008, the first three times up the hill I managed 650, 550 and 500 watts. So, I'm at least 25% off where I was near the beginning of the season last year. This can also be seen in the speed I carried up the hill. In 2007 I was closer to 20 mph up the hill. In 2008 it was closer to 15 mph. It's not too hard to understand how someone would get dropped pretty quickly if they were 25% slower than the rest of the field.
In 2007 my average power was 267 watts. 2008 225 watts.
The other big difference I see in the graphs, is that in 2007 I was able to increase my power on the hill back up to 575 watts during the last few laps of the race. In 2008 my power did increase on the last couple laps I did; however, it only went up to somewhere around 450 watts.
So, clearly I still have a ways to go to getting back to being ready to hold my own in a race. Hopefully over the next year or so my foot drop will continue to recover to the point that I can completely raise my foot. I think a big part of the difference in these power numbers is that I lose a fair bit of power in my stroke when I can't effectively pull up with my left leg.