Last Saturday (Apr 19th), my friend and I completed our 1st brevet(link). Now, 2 days later, I can say that it was a blast. In fact, I would have said the same moments after getting the the control card stamped at the finish control. However, there were moments during the ride, that I found quite challenging. I guess that is why such accomplishments mean more; memories and sense of fulfillment last a lot longer than pain (to paraphrase a saying). I had not trained for this ride. My cycling had been limited to 25km round trip daily commute. Two weeks prior to the brevet, I had done a 100km Populaire, and that had been my longest ride. So not the best way to approach the 200km. I would have enjoyed the experience more, if I had been better prepared. I would like to do a 300km in mid-July and my aim is to train for that.
I rode on a Kona Jack the Snake: 46x34 double w/12-27 rear. On whole I was very happy with the bike. I would have preferred easier gearing on a few hills. I hope that with better training this can be addressed. Alas, around the 110km mark I crashed - my own fault. I turned my head to ask my riding buddy if we were on the right road. Next thing I realise is that front wheel slipped on the road edge and the bike and I became intimate with the pavement. This resulted in bruised ego, right knee, elbow and hip and a bent derailleur hanger. Thankfully I was able to straighten out the hanger enough. Though I had trouble riding in some gears - this became a bit irritating during the last 90km or so.
The major physical challenge that affected me on the ride were the knees. I have a Brooks saddle and it proved no source of discomfort. But my knees were a different story. Around 80/90km my left knee started to get uncomfortable. That pain was now replaced by the throbbing of the right knee after the crash. After the crash I did take a couple of ibuprofen tablets to help with the pain and sure enough the pain subsided and I was able to continue. Close to the finish the pain flared up again (medication had worn off). In the evening the knees were pretty uncomfortable - climbing up and down the stairs was painful. The pain seemed to be located around the sides of the knees rather then directly in the front or the back. Anyhow, the next morning the pain had subsided significantly and today it is hardly noticeable.
In searching the forums, I think I need to check my saddle height again and make sure also that my cleats are aligned - last night I did check my cleats and determined that the left shoe cleat is about 1 or 2 mm further forward than the right. Of course the fact that I have not ridden such distances could also be a major factor. I have not had any knee issues during my commute trips.
I would welcome other suggestions about knee pain.