Ryan, I am not discounting your knowledge of the science of the sport but yours (or anyone’s) ability to guage it my feel. Feel is an imperfect, subjective science.
Don’t get me wrong (again), more people have had success with and will continue to have success going by feel. But if you had a tool to measure, precisely, what is occuring scientifically, and you had a coach who could interpret, precisely, what is happening at any point in the training phases, who wouldn’t want to use that tool? Especially if their main objective was to get better.
I see going by feel as a method that is based more on luck and guessing.
I feel a tool, coupled with a coach who can evaluate the results of the tool would be a more precise way toward faster times with less “experimenting.”
By the way, on my quest towards success in speed skating, I was a category 2 bike racer. Cyclists train their aerobic systems and anerobic systems almost exactly like a long distance runner. There are long rides, intervals, tempos, fartleks, hill work, speed work, strength training not to mention the other facet which is much more important for cycling that in running such as; saddle height, bike geometry, wind resistance/drag/body position, pedaling cadence/motion. If Lance didn’t have access to the best coaches and science regarding the sport he would not have had the success he has today. Lance would be a great cyclist no matter how you slice and dice it but if you have ever watched OLN and seen what he goes through in such things as wind tunnel testing to acheive the absolute greatest aerodynamic position on a bike you would understand how science plays such a huge role in his success.
He is a HRM disciple. Why leave it to luck!