Since last posting I have cycled a 27m Needham-Dover route with Guy Sapirstein twice - once on Memorial Day and again just this morning. Last week my Garmin 305 tells me we did this in exactly two hours of cycling time at an average of 13.7mph. This week we did the same route (plus .2m for a slight detour) in 1' 55" - just five minutes faster, and an average speed of 14.4mph. I like that math - makes me feel good to see the improvement over the week.
I also got an eight mile ride with Baruch Krauss during the week on the carriage lane of Comm Ave in Newton. That was also as fast as I have ever done that loop at 12.3mph. That is a hillier route (and more traffic). My GPS gives completely different ascent/descent readings than Guy's GPS... but for comparison purposes: the 8 mile Comm Ave route involves 600 feet of ascent and descent; the 27 miles through Needham/Dover is about 1400 feet. Clearly the shorter route has more hill per mile!
Last Monday's 27 miler with Guy was very hard work for me. It was a windy day and my legs felt leaden - especially after the short break we took at the half-way mark. The following day I also felt knocked out ... and this made me realize I may not have eaten enough before/during the ride and just starved my body of the energy it needed for a ride of this length so early in my training season. This week was a world of difference ... it was a less windy day certainly, and that contributed to the faster time I am sure ... but I also felt better all the way through, and some of that is the extra food at breakfast and in my bike bag.
Guy reminded me we are doing longer/faster rides this year than we did at the same time last year, and my GPS data shows the difference to be more significant than I would have guessed. That, plus the five minutes I made up this week, is a good foundation for a fun season of cycling ahead.