Hightstown 400k review

This has been some time doing.  The ride was longer than anything I have done before and it challenged me a lot, both physically and mentally.  I learned that my bike set up needs improving and I learned that I have a long way to go before I am ready for the PBP 2011.  However, I do have a long time before that ride and there is ample time in which to get everything ready.

The first thing that needs addressing is the ability, or really, inability, to get directions during the darker hours.  The Garmin Edge ran out of juice 190 miles into the ride.  I did have a back up odometer but I found out that the back up odometer does not have a background light so there was no way to read it.  The head lamp which I had thrown into the car did not work.  So I was left without the ability to read the cue sheet and without the ability to measure how long I had left to go.  If I had been doing the last section by myself I would have been stuck.  Fortunately I was with Rick and Dawn and was able to get to the finish by relying on Rick for navigation.

This is being addressed by getting a charger for the Garmin that will run from the dynamo.  This will at least keep the Garmin charged and also getting a different back up odometer with a background light.  The charger will arrive whilst I am in England this week.

Another thing that needs to be addressed is baggage.  The backpack was too heavy to carry throughout the ride.  I realised it was heavy on the century ride earlier and should have dealt with it before the 400k.  I thought it may have been the way I had packed the water bag but it wasn’t.  Alma has a smaller camelbak which I think I might use and get a bigger saddle bag.  I will be getting a bag for the frame to keep the charger in etc.  I do not need to be overladen with stuff but I do need to transfer the “spares” to the bike.

Inflation devices.  Dawn had a puncture and we were unable to get the inflator working on the cartridges.  If that had happened to me when I had been by myself I could have been stuck with a semi inflated wheel.  So I shall be getting a portable floor inflator that will sit along the top frame and will fully inflate the tyres to high pressures.

Intimidation.  Since completing the ride, I have felt a little overwhelmed at the scale of everything.  The next ride in New Jersey will be 375 miles and the thought of that got to me.  I didn’t think I was ready and didn’t know how I could be ready.  Talking with Alma yesterday helped and the fact that Saturday morning I went back to my training schedule.  I had abandoned it after the 400k thinking I needed to do something different.  But it has been the training schedule that has kept everything manageable and all the little steps on there equals the journey I am undertaking.  Being back on the plan is necessary.

I am looking forward to the 600k.  Being prepared for the ride and being prepared for things along the way makes it manageable.  I am off to England tomorrow as my Dad is not too good and in hospital but I am hoping to ride a few miles over there.  I shall be taking my shoes and pedals.  Things are back on track where the cycling is concerned and I am feeling a lot better about that.


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