When you start your cycling career, central adaptations increase your performance rapidly in the first three months. After one year of training you will discover that it takes more time to gain improvements. Now you will have to think more about how to train to keep improving. At this time improvements are often due to peripheral adaptations.
When you have trained seriously for a couple of years, you will experience that more training is needed before you get significant improvements. At this time you get the feeling of a training vacuum. You train more than you have ever done before, but your form does not change at all.
This is a critical moment in every serious riders´ career. The common outcome is that you sooner or later realize that you are not making further progress with the current program. You take the consequences and start making things different. This could be quitting, switching coach, switching club, different training methods, more training, less training, new bike, new wheels, eating nutritional supplements or getting so desperate that you take drugs. But often you will not realize that the problem is a training vacuum, because you have optimized cycling performance through proper training, eating and resting. Instead you victimize your coach, club or material because your performance has reached a plateau.
In the final part of your career cycling efficiency, tactics and experiences play a bigger role. You will use your knowledge about race tactics to eliminate eventually stronger opponents. You can win races without being the strongest rider, but making the correct moves at the correct moments, because of your gut feeling.