Tomorrow I will ride The Great Escape 200km audax. It will be my first audax event since March 2012 and my first attempt at a 200km ride since July 2010.
Am I ready? Well, if knowing myself, my bike, my kit, the route, how I need to fuel, hydrate and pace myself equals readiness, then yes, I'm ready.
Am I prepared? Looking back over the past few months at my ride data -- time, distances, frequency -- then no, I'm not as prepared as I could be or indeed would like to be.
Last Saturday, I rode nearly 100km on Lorelei the Puch Princess on a casual group ride. That was the first (and only) ride this year longer than 25 miles. After 50 miles, discomfort from being a bit too stretched out for my liking began to kick in but otherwise I felt good and got up the next day feeling I could do the same again.
Tomorrow will be very different. Crucially, I will be on a bike that fits me, one I trust to give a comfortable ride all day long. I will have a handlebar bag to carry snacks and to stuff items of clothing in as the day wears on, with no need to stop -- likewise with water bottles. Perhaps most importantly, I will be wearing stiff-soled cycling shoes and using clipless pedals. That makes all the difference to my legs, particularly knees, in terms of stability and degree of fatigue.
So compared to last weekend, I should be a bit faster and more efficient. As long as I can school myself to keep stops to a minimum and not 'faff about', I should be okay.
Ideally, I would have done 5-6 rides of 100km by now, as well as 1-2 in the 140-160km region. But, although I may not have as many miles behind me as I would have liked, I think I have adequate 'time in the saddle' and sufficient conditioning to spend a long day in the saddle fairly comfortably.
Some of our friends are talking about completing the course in 8 hours. My goal is just to finish within the fixed time limits!