So yesterday i did my second day of commuting (Wednesday Last week was first day). What an adventure!
temps 51 @ 7 AM and 75 going home@ 4:15.
Time - 55 minutes in and 2 hours going home
Distance: 13.8 going in 33.2 going home
Total average speed 12.8 mph (both ways)
Extra fun: 2 flats on the way in and a necessary stop at the Bike shop for a tube and CO2 on the way home.
So my 13.8 mile ride in is on 2 lane state highway and main roads except for 1 mile of paved rail/trail. It mostly downhill due to the 1900 foot elevation change from my house to my office. I enjoyed the two double takes of car drivers as I was keeping up with them at 35 mph and 47 mph at to different times. I wasn't so pleased to hit a pot hole at 30ish and get a pinch flat which has also put my rear wheel out of true slightly (~1/8th inch). Even lower on my happy meter was the same tire developing a second flat in the one stretch of road without a berm of any kind and riding a flat ~ 1000 ft until it was safe to stop. It seems the second one was my fault as I didn't seat the tube and tire right and picked up a second pinch flat. That is what happens when you don't change a flat for over 4 years I guess. Average mph 19.1
The day was really tiring for me so I had a very hard and draining ride home up the gravel Allegheny Highlands Trail (mentally tough and physically draining). The website says average grade of 1.5% but I think its slightly higher than that on the 16 mile stretch I take. Regardless, 16 straight miles of pedaling without any downhills or opportunities to coast (25 mm road tire don't coast well on crushed gravel) is much harder on me than my other rides with more and steeper climibing on roads.. So I felt compelled to stop twice including siting on a picinic bench for 5 minutes. I almost fell asleep at that time. I was so beat when I got home that I ended up taking a cat nap to recover. I'm glad I did the commute but that was hard!
I guess I need to ride more and lose more weight (220 and should be 175).
I didn't ride today as I needed to bring cloths to work so hopefully weather will cooperate and I'll have a go on Monday again. If not Monday than Tuesday. I want to get in at least 2 days next week and possibly 3 if I can work the schedule right.
Did you say 16 miles of crushed gravel on 25mm tires? That sounds draining!
Yep, 16 miles of the compacted crushed gravel you find on a lot of rail-trail projects. I'm trying to guage how much of an impact that actually is on the difficulty. I may find out next week if I do the 15 mile road option instead. Its flatter for a while and then its a few (3-5ish) miles of steeper climbing so I'm curious to see if that's actually a better option. I know the road quality is better than the road I take in so I may start doing that way going to work if it doesn't add more than 10 more minutes to the whole thing.
I also figured out that I was pretty dehydrated due to a hot office w/o airflow. So that may have made it even harder.
In the long run I bet you are going to appreciate having both options (a quiet trail that makes you work hard and steady over stones or a faster speed varied terrain road ride)
Your probably right. I'm inclined to try the other way next time even though it will include harder climbs than I've done so far this year. Maybe Sunday I can ride the hard climbing section as a stand alone ride to get past my worrying about using that route for the commute. All I know is that after about mile 6 of the trail I have to start using major mental tricks to keep going.