It is now 19 months since my hybrid ablation was completed and I am now way outside the blanking period. Although this is generally agreed to last three months, I was definitely improving noticeably up to one year afterwards and arguably for another couple of months after that. However, since December last year, I seem to have plateaued.
I have not tried to get back to my previous levels of exertion, I am cycling similar distances to before, but on flatter routes and 2 mph slower. I have experienced the occasional high HR spike; it is possible that these are unrelated to my condition. I didn’t dare risk ignoring it, because I delayed diagnosis for two year through thinking my HR meter was at fault. I am deliberately remaining at a ceiling of 165 HR during rides, even though my previous healthy maximum was 185.
My resting heart rate is finally down to a reasonable level, 63 compared with a previous healthy rate of 57 (and 48 in my twenties when I was seriously fit). I am guessing that this is not going to reduce any further. I suspect that I am just less fit than four years ago, as well as being older and slightly heavier.
On Saturday, I tried the first ride in years with a ridiculous hill, one with a maximum gradient of 18% that was taxing when I was fit. Even then, it used to take me 7 minutes, in contrast to my clubmate Danny, who held the local record of 4:53. My fastest time made me the 148th rider out of 550 who had attempted it, so not good, but not actually that bad, really.
It didn’t go particularly well; it took me 8:41 (equivalent to the 350th rider) and although I tried to keep my HR low, I am not sure I could have gone harder. On the plus side, I did feel good on the flat later in the ride and even felt a small improvement on the shorter, less steep hills, although I am still well below my peak. Hopefully I am just a little out of practice.