So happy to hear that Elements of Style has had a positive effect on you. I do think the psychological component of feeling strong and smooth has a positive effect on your riding, whether it be a placebo effect or not, if it’s positive for you, it doesn’t really matter!
The same goes for you- harder efforts feeling easier is a great thing! Full Frontal is a funny animal though…if you do have some lingering fatigue, it’s common to try and push a bigger gear at a lower cadence in order to take some stress/effort off of your cardiovascular system. And to be quite honest, you get the most power out of your pedal stroke on the downstroke, so when you’re hurting (which is completely the case in FF) you’re naturally going to put more effort into the downstroke, trying to get every ounce of power out of every pedal stroke. And when it comes to testing, we want you to perform your best. So don’t stress your smooth factor when it comes to FF- just do your best and if you don’t come away with improved numbers, try to figure out why and learn from it. If you know fatigue makes you drop your cadence and push bigger gears, then you can look back at your preparation for FF and see if something was a little off. Or was it just a bad day? How were your nutrition, hydration, sleep and cooling before and during the test? If you were at the end of a training plan, how was your compliance to the plan throughout the 12 weeks? There are so many factors that go into test results that sometimes you don’t even always know what was “off.” But if you start seeing trends in your daily training or on repeated tests, then you might be able to pinpoint something. So do what you can to analyze and learn from it, but don’t over-think it either…after all, this is supposed to be a fun hobby, not something that stresses you out!
Keep up the good work and pedal on!