I wish I had thought of this a little sooner. But still, we're in the first week of the New Year, so why not tack it on as a goal for 2012?
Historically I ride a 50 to 55 minute commute over 9.3 miles. This is an average speed of 11.2 to 10.2 mph (please don't check my math!).
To do Leadville in less than 9 hours I need to average faster than 11.1 mph for 100 miles. If I'm barely beating that on my short daily commute I cannot expect to best that on race day.
Therefore, my goal for the year is to establish 45 minutes/12.4 mph consistently for my to-work commutes by the end of February. I realize this may be difficult if the weather is bad over the next couple of months, and that's why I didn't shoot for the end of January.
I need to set a baseline for my to-home commutes, but since they are downhill I am not as concerned with my average speeds home outside of establishing a certified Ramming Speed Friday (17 mph minimum).
I think I will increase the goal as winter wanes. Beginning in April I may ramp it up to a consistent 40 minute commute which would be a 14 mph average. By consistent I mean 4 days out of 5 at that pace on any bike I ride.
How will I achieve this goal? Strength training, combined with better attention to my pace as I ride. And riding longer distances-- it's going to take minimizing my normal commute as one of the shortest distances I'm comfortable riding.
Tomorrow is the big test: commuting to Boulder for class. I'm going to leave early to ensure I have plenty of time. I think I've got the best route pinned down with combination of least elevation gain and least mileage. I know what I just said about upping mileage, but until I know what works for a 20+ mile commute I need to be somewhat conservative in my effort. Typically I do far better in new territory than I plan for.
So with that in mind I should get into Boulder early enough to do some exploring. But if I don't...I still should have more than enough time to get where I need to be.