Competitive athletes peak. Amateurs plateau. I've never peaked, but I've plateaued many times. A plateau in geology is an elevated, level piece of ground. You have to exert some effort to get there, but once you do, it's flat and easy going. A performance plateau is much the same. You expend the effort to get in shape, lose weight, eat healthy, etcetera, but after some success your subconscious tells you that you're "good enough" and you plateau. You never know how big the plateau is or how long you can stay at that level. But usually you end up going down the other side and wind up about where you started.
Sometimes accomplishing a goal can cause a plateau. I did that years ago when I set a goal to get in shape and run a marathon. I accomplished my goal and stepped onto a plateau. I kept running for several more years, but I gradually did it less and less. The plateau ended and I went back to my old, out-of-shape self.
As I said goodbye to folks I'd met on the 2008 BAK, I asked if I'd see them again next year. Many of them answered "yes". After a few days of rest, I got back on my bike and set in my mind that I'm getting myself ready for next year. I'm not taking any chances on seeing a plateau here. I'm setting a goal to participate in several other bike events as well.
Now, I just need to apply this to all the rest of my life. Hmm.