It occurred to me how much I blame equipment for lack of conditioning. This is common, I suppose, as tennis players complain about rackets when they fail to get into position and mis-hit the ball, runners moaning about their shoes, and cyclists (moi) whining when they climb slower than expected. What's going on, the bike is slow and unresponsive, I thought.
The next day, several things happened: I looked at my riding position, which for a couple of years has been based on shoving the saddle as far back as its rails allow and pushing big gears. Reluctantly coming to the realization that I'm better off spinning, I decided to move the saddle forward and up. Swapped a 12cm stem for a 13cm to preserve the old bar reach. Took a day off and slept a little longer than usual. On Saturday, I was flying around the roads uphill and on flats. The bike was fast and fun again. So, when we are going well the opposite happens -- it's always the rider who's responsible for strong riding, not the bike. Funny that.