I posted this in the Commute forum but felt I needed to post this here as well, since this was the forum I mostly used when I planned this out.
I finally did it. I woke up at 5:30 AM, got dressed (I showered the night before), ate my oatmeal and then rode my bike 12 miles to work today. Last Saturday I rode my bike to work and halfway back before I had to call my wife and ask her to come get me. I'm hoping the 9 hour break in between will enable me to ride all the way home today. I do have a co-worker who drives a truck and he offered to take me and the bike home if I need him to. My wife will also be waiting for my phone call to come get me. I don't think I will be needing either one of them today.
This first commute has really taught me some things. First, the test ride I did last Saturday is a little too different than today's commute because Saturday I rode to work with no backpack and it was later in the evening on a weekend so traffic was different. Today I had my laptop, power plug, change of clothes and personal items (deodorant, unscented wipes, etc) along with my keys, wallet... it all adds up. I also learned why carrying all that stuff in a backpack is not a good idea. Not only was my back drenched with sweat, the straps on the backpack was cutting off the circulation causing my fingers to go numb frequently. On my way home I'm going to stop at my LBS and see if I can pick up a rack, or I may ride over there during my lunch since it's only about a block away from here. Maybe if I'm lucky I could get them to install it real quick.
Also I learned that using Google Maps and driving in my car is really a poor way to plan my route. You don't notice the hills when you're driving and you can't see road conditions on a browser. The route I took last Saturday and today will not be the same route I plan on taking every day. Although one part of the road had signs all over the place to inform drivers that it was a bike route, the condition of the road was absolutely horrible. Google Maps does help me measure the distance accurately.
Seemed like the closer I got into town the likely I'd run into drivers who wanted my lane so bad they didn't give me a lot of space when they passed me. One guy looked like he was in a hurry; he passed me so close I could reach out and touch his car, then he got in front of me and stopped at the light. I was tempted to hold up three fingers to where he could see me in his rear view mirror to remind him that is now a finable offense to pass a bike closer than three feet in Oklahoma. Where's a cop when you need one. At least this one didn't honk at me as he passed. First time that happened it scared the crap out of me.
I did get one incentive that helped me out. After leaving the house I was not even a mile away and really dreading the ride. I took the back roads for a bit to avoid traffic and to get warmed up without worrying about some car behind me. As I reached the major road that I planned to take, another commuter rode by. He rode a pretty nice looking road bike, I wished I hadn't settled for my hybrid and bought me a road bike too. I still plan on saving up for a decent one. He also carried a backpack but it was much smaller than mine and it looked like he's been doing this for a while. He waved at me as he rode by which offered encouragement to me. Although it was pretty light out he still had his rear flashing lights on. Mine was off so I figured I'd better go ahead and turn mine on. I rode behind him for 0.7 miles and kept up with him, I was surprised because I'm usually pretty slow and he was going at a pretty good clip. Unfortunately he turned left on a different road so I had to continue on my own.
Now that I've been able to rest the only difference I feel is my upper leg muscle are a bit tight but not painful (yet). Last week when I tried this and had my wife come pick me up I went back to bed and slept for hours. Today I feel great and I look forward to doing this more often.
Lately I haven't been watching what I eat so my weight is slowly increasing. My low was 222 pounds; yesterday I weighed in at 232. I need to get back on the ball, log every meal I eat again (this link points to my log that I used. CodeMonkey was already taken here). Big thumbs up for piette and his goal to get below 200 pounds! 198 is awesome! I'd love to get below 200 pounds!
I need to start a blog. Anyone know of a decent free blog site to use?