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Commuting question(14 posts)

Commuting questionbigdave
Jun 5, 2002 6:33 AM
I've been commuting for a number of weeks on a fixed-gear, about 21 miles each way. Here's my dilemma...

On the way in (about 6 am) I feel great, plenty of energy, even if I didn't get a great night's sleep. Now, I'm *not* a morning person normally. So it's kind of weird.

But the evening ride home I usually feel lethargic. No zip. My legs don't feel that bad, but I just can't seem to ride with any authority in the PM.

My thought is that the evening "slump" is either the < 500 miles I have in so far, or something where I'm not eating enough during the days when I ride.

I usually drink a shot of Endurox R4 first thing when I get in about 7:30 or 8; usually an apple about 10-10:30, a relatively small serving of pasta at lunch, then another apple and maybe some pretzels at about 3 or so. I've even tried a double-caffiene PowerGel before leaving and still no great help.

Anyone have any insight as to why I'm dragging my butt in the evenings?


re: Commuting questionSnowBlind
Jun 5, 2002 7:35 AM
You are not eating enough, from the sound of it.
I see a 1500 calorie a day diet from what you describe.
Maybe you are a lightweight (I am not), but if I am riding in, I eat about 2500+ for the day.
Could also be a bad working evironment, low on O2, high in alergins. Legs can't recover in conditions like that.
Could be it...bigdave
Jun 5, 2002 7:44 AM
I'm not a lightweight... in fact, I'm trying to shed a few winter pounds that are still hanging around.

But what I may need to do (and will try today) is to eat more than I have been on the days I ride, and save the calorie watching for those days I don't ride.

As for the environment, hmm... that could play a part too. One of my co-workers with allergies and asthma occasionally complains, so I'll ask him what he notices.

Thanks for the input.

Jun 5, 2002 8:09 AM
You drink coffee at work? How 'bout water? Could be dehydration at the end of the day.

Also, you are on a low calorie diet if that is your daily intake. Seems obvious to me that you are trying to make up for a lack of energy at the last minute with a PowerGel. One packet from bonking is where you are at on the return trip.

Apples and pretzels? Not the most nutrient dense choices for a person trying to lose weight. Apples are mostly sugar water, and pretzels are salted refined flour. Yikes.

Switch to berries and oatmeal. And get some protein in there. Yogurt comes to mind.

Make those calories count. That pasta better have lots of veggies and chicken or tofu in it.


A. (not an expert...just suggestions)
Good Thoughts... and morebigdave
Jun 5, 2002 8:37 AM

As far as H20, I drink like 3-4 1.5-liter bottles a day, so I don't think I'm dehydrated.

But now that you break down my diet during the day, jeez, now I really see it for what it's worth. I have tended to eat for convenience because there is only one dinky refrigerator in the building and it's usually packed to the gills. But I need to start focusing on improving my nutrition during the day.

As an aside, I stumbled upon this page from a link in another post from Doug Sloan. While my 21 mile rides don't count for "Ultra" stuff, this article is an interesting one anyway.

Thanks again.

re: Commuting questionZaggy
Jun 5, 2002 9:46 AM
I second the earlier comments on protein intake. From the looks of it you are eating a diet high in processes white flour which has all of the germ and endosperm removed. You need to add some fiber to your diet. Not only will it help keep the plumbing clean fiber contirbutes to your feeling of saiety. Therefor making you crave less.

In the morning one of the best things I have found to help with a little protein and and keep my insulin level in check from eating too much sugar is Adam's natural peanut butter. Sure the natural stuff is a little more work, but you drop a lot of trans fat and sat fat in the tradeoff.

For a final thought if refrigerator space is really that cramped at work perhaps a meal replaement shake of bar is in order. The taste of both has really improved over the last couple year and the quality of the protien in then has increased signifigantly as well.
Ummmm ... natural PB ....Humma Hah
Jun 5, 2002 3:40 PM
Yes, indeed. I put a little of that in my morning oatmeal and it's much more satisfying. Seems to burn more easily, too. And PB on a half a bagel ain't half bad fuel, either.
I'm the same waylaffeaux
Jun 5, 2002 10:32 AM
My commute is only 12 miles each way, but I'm in the same boat. My morning commute speed averages between 17-18 mph, while my return trip is generally closer to 15-16. Admittedly I often encounter headwinds on the way home (I ride next to SF Bay) which probably effects me some, but in general I feel like sprinting in the mornings and cruising in the evenings.

I've attributed to having legs that are a bit tired in the afternoon from the morning sprint, and after a good night of rest I get my legs back. I drink much more water at work then I do at home so I'm probably better hydrated on the evening ride. Also, I don't eat breakfast, so I have more food in my stomach in the evening ride as well.
re: Commuting questionBradJackson
Jun 5, 2002 3:28 PM
I was in the same boat recently, then I switched to a standing work environment (with a tall chair if I need to sit) and the constant moving of my legs helped a lot more than sitting on my butt all day. I also (this spring) brought in several leafy plants and the extra oxygen is very noticeable, I seem to stay alert throughout the day and by the end of the day as well.

What kind of work do you do, is it customer service related? I wonder if your job is not leaving you in the best of spirits, that can definitely wear on you by the end of the day...

Eat something and give it some time ...Humma Hah
Jun 5, 2002 3:37 PM
I get the same way when I'm on a weight loss diet.

Eating just before the ride is not necessarily the best plan. I've done experiments using exercise equipment and a HRM -- I get my best performance if I eat 1-2 hours before the gym, something nice and slow-burning. If I eat too soon before exercise, I'll hit the same heart rate but my work output is 10-15% lower (I take that to mean 10-15% of my blood supply is going to digestion). If I go to the gym hungry, I'm lethargic.
You're not eating enough pluslook271
Jun 5, 2002 3:57 PM
Where's the protein? Man does not live on carbs alone. Eat some eggs or tuna or a ham sandwich!
Ride home Update... thanks guysbigdave
Jun 5, 2002 5:04 PM
Well, I started to take the advice... I had a cliff bar in my desk drawer, which I chowed about 10:30 am. Went to eat another, but, get this... it wasn't expired, but had mold (!) on it.

Had the pasta, then a bagel with cream cheese about 2 hours before my ride.

The result? Much, much better. I still need to refine what I'm chowing and in what quantities, but I tried to make do with what I had. And it was about 80% better.

So with a better diet, I'm confident things will be better.

Thanks for all the help!

Also reduce your mold intakeCrankist
Jun 5, 2002 5:49 PM
There are plenty of good suggestions, i could only add that a bit of stretching may help.
My commute (tommorrow) is 20+ miles in too, but my problem
is feeling weak in the AM (5:30), but great, I mean really great feeling on the way home. Anyway, try a few suggestions and re-post in a couple of weeks.
Have Fun,
LOL on the subject line... :-)bigdave
Jun 5, 2002 7:44 PM
Sometimes I didn't feel zippy in the morning either, but I attributed that to not being hydrated enough. If I drink enough where I have to wake up in the middle of the night to wizz, then that's enough water. On those mornings, I feel especially good. If not enough water, I feel weak.

So drink up! ;-)