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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-14-13, 05:39 AM   #1
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Tortoise vs Hare Kind of Days

How many folks are like me and have commutes that are blisteringly fast and you feel awesome but then other days where you're just happy to make it to work on time? I'm not an everyday commuter (yet), I commute 28 miles/day by bike on Mon, Wed, Fri. I work out on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday evenings but I work mostly upper body and really only use my legs to jog a little for cardio.

I find I usually have a fast day and then slow down the rest of the week. Two weeks ago Wednesday, I averaged 15.9mph, then on Friday same time of day and same weather conditions I struggled to average 13.5mph. Last week, Monday I averaged 15.3mph, Wednesday I slowed to 14.9mph, and Friday again 13.5mph. This week, Monday 15.3mph and today 13.9mph.

Now this morning was 10 cooler than Monday and I had a slight headwind so I was wearing jeans and a track jacket instead of the usual jersey and shorts, but even so from the start I could tell I just didn't have the energy I had on Monday. Is my body not recovering? At first I just thought it was random but after looking back over my journal there's definitely a trend.

Much advance thanks.
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Old 08-14-13, 07:01 AM   #2
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I do.
Although "blisteringly fast" could be stretching it a bit. My commute in is 14.8 miles 1way, every day, I make it in just under an hour.. which is right around 15mph.
Traffic lights, stop signs, head winds, all effect the ride time. I start out in a suburban area on the outer part of the city limit. I transition onto a MUP (less than 5 minutes) then onto inner city residential streets, through a park (Parthenon) then into downtown.

That being said, all thing being equal, I still have slow days. Usually it's Tuesday for me. I don't know why.
Yesterday afternoon, I left about ten minutes early and kept reminding myself; there's no rush. It felt good when I got home.
I ride alone so the only thing I'm racing is the clock. My more enjoyable rides are when I don't take note of the time and simply enjoy the journey.
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Old 08-14-13, 07:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by FenderTL5 View Post
Although "blisteringly fast" could be stretching it a bit.
Obviously I use the term very loosely. My 15+ mph days feel "blisteringly fast" to me.

Unfortunately, most of my commute is a rather dull, suburban and commercial environment so I take my mind off the boring surroundings by focusing on the numbers and making sure I'm not slacking off too bad on hills and taking advantage of the long flats and downhills (or thinking about what I'd change about my bike to make it faster if money weren't an option). Other routes I could take don't provide much different surroundings, either .

I've yet to have a day under 13mph, so rather than having a fast day and then slower days, I've been thinking about intentionally limiting my average speed to 14 every day to see how it affects my fatigue level and consistency.
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Old 08-14-13, 08:37 AM   #4
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Wind can be a factor. Also, I notice that I go slower on colder days.
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Old 08-14-13, 08:39 AM   #5
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Wind is always a factor, even when you don't feel it. I've had many lethargic days that were 'fast', and vice versa.
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Old 08-14-13, 09:09 AM   #6
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I share your experience, somewhat, though I don't think I totally match your sense. It is worth noting that the hill profile is such that I do a lot more climbing on the ride home. I too ride MWF as a general rule, though I mix that up some.

Let's start: My commute is about 20 miles each way (it depends on my route choice; the shortest way is about 19 and the long is a little over 21). It is rolling terrain, and mostly MUP, but a fair amount of street cycling as well. While it is rolling, There are a few pretty steep, but not terribly long, climbs. (as an aside: the weather was gorgeous this morning; temp about 60 and sunny).

My average rolling speed (as determined by Strava) tends to be around 15.x (where x <5) in the morning and 14.x in the afternoon on my faster days. On my slower days, my morning speed drops to 14.x and my afternoon speed drops to 13.x. Interestingly, because I also track HR, my avg. HR in the morning is between 135 and 140, while in the afternoon, it is generally right around 150.

As to speed/ days: this is more complex: I definitely feel more willing to push harder on Mondays, but my average speeds don't necessarily seem to bear out any relationship. I know that the rare occasions when I ride two days in a row, my legs feel heavy on that second day, at least at the beginning of the ride in, and near the end of the ride home. But overall, my fast and slow days don't seem to relate much to where in the week it falls. Actually, I think a lot of it is psychology -- I ride in a place where there are lots of bike commuters, and I find I ride fast when there's someone who is just slightly faster than me to chase, or chasing me...
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Old 08-14-13, 10:13 AM   #7
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I find this as well but my work is only a 5 mile commute i believe.

Though on fridays i usually have bundles of energy to just power home full speed, yet... on friday i almost feel like going slower to enjoy the ride that i wont see till the following monday.
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