So now that I’ve more or less recovered from the brevet of last week, what did I learn from the experience?
Check in early! We got to the start location later partly because we didn’t want to stand around in the cold. However, we lost time in mechanical trouble, and with getting to know the other people on the ride.
Learn how to fix a flat quickly! I’ve signed up for a basic bicycle maintenance class. And I will practice changing a tube and putting on a patch!
Carry at least two tubes! I could’ve have saved the time in finding the hole to patch if I just had another tube to put in instead.
Eat before the ride, no matter what! I habitually have a problem with this, because early in the morning, my stomach does not want to accept any food. However, I need to force myself to eat before a ride, otherwise I run the risk of bonking early. And sure enough, the first 20-odd miles were horrible for me– I had a headache, I felt sluggish, and I had negative thoughts– I actually wondered to myself why I was doing this stupid ride. Luckily, I recognized this was a bonk and rectified it at the first control, but I need to nip this in the bud by eating before I get in the saddle. Among other things, protein bars are good– I like Clif Mojo Bars, and they seem to agree with me.
Find a chamois that fits! I didn’t realize until after the ride how chafed I was. I had bought tights that don’t fit me well– I have lacerations on the thighs where the chamois dug into them. The stitching is sub-par. I need to find better quality tights so that this doesn’t happen again.
Consider getting a stronger headlight or two. My 3-LED headlight did all right in the dark, but I may consider using two lights in order to better light the path, or else change the placement of the lights.
Bring tissues. My nose ran the entire ride, and my gloves got icky. My attempts at snot rockets were also a fail.
I’m looking forward to another 200K! I hope to improve my time for my next ride.