I'm getting to know my new commute. This morning I rode with a friend (Mike); we can ride part way together, then he goes north and I go west. Just before we split up, Mike is usually joined by another guy, Chris. One thing I noticed is that when you're riding hour and a half in the morning and again in the afternoon, the weather conditions change significantly. I was freezing at first, but eventually the ambient temperature increased and I warmed up. On the way home, I was overdressed, but about halfway home the sun went down, the temperature dropped, and I was dressed about right.
This was Mike's first commute with his new Surly Long Haul Trucker; he said it was like riding a Cadillac compared to his old Trek hybrid. I said something about trying to meet up on the way home, but Mike said he's tried that and the timing never works out, so I resigned myself to a solo ride home.
I finished the commute and found that the last 3 miles consist of a series of short but sharp climbs and descents. I was pretty proud of how well I did on them. I found out on the return trip in the afternoon that they are much sharper climbs in the homeward direction, and not being fully warmed up, they pretty much kicked my butt.
A little later, I was just coming out to a main road and two commuters in hi-visibility jackets go by- It was Mike and Chris! They passed the side street I was on and kept right on rolling. I got out to the main road and was maybe a block or two behind them, but going downhill. They were coasting some, so I was able to catch up with them and we rode the rest of the way home together. Pretty cool.
Mike is a strong rider and has been doing a longer commute for some time. Still, I hung with him pretty good- until the long rise of Wedgmont Circle where he left me in the dust.
Being in the habit of commuting regularly, I thought I was a pro at it. But when you increase the distance from 7 to 17 miles each way, it's a whole new ballgame.