As part of my “get into a shape” project, I rode my Schwinn World Avenue One to work today. I spent a fair bit of time route planning and drove numerous routes with the Jetta during the last month. I found several good choices, all about the same distance, 10 miles. This morning I hopped on my bike and rode off into the 47° drizzling grey morning. I arrived at work in almost exactly the time I expected, 40 minutes. I based my math on an average speed of 15mph and was quite pleased at realizing my goal.
The sense of accomplishment was not to last. I had fallen prey to the greatest of cyclist delusions. When a cyclist happens to be catching a small but favorable wind, the typical response is something like, “wow, I’m feeling particularly vigorous today.” During all my exploratory drives in the Jetta and during the ride into downtown this morning, I had failed to notice the elevation changes. It turns out that riding into town is pretty much downhill the entire way. The ride home was painful. And slower. Much slower.