Basic, I`m new at this game and don`t have a lot of wisdom to offer, but I`ve just gone through my first few brevets and the whole ramping up thing is still very fresh on my mind. Up until last fall, I`d finished several unofficial solo rides of 200k or more, so my first 200k brevet was relatively easy. I was disappointed to be the last finisher, and hurting a bit because I was in the middle of my annual cycling hybernation, but still not a big deal. The main problem I had was with navigation, and I worked that out before this year`s first "series" 200.
That series 200 was smooth as silk- didn`t really pay any attention to nutrition or hydration, the changes to my nav method worked out very well, I was in much better shape, and finished feeling just dandy. That left me only wanting to work on my off bike time and another tweek to my navigation system as goals for the 300.
The 300 was this past Saturday, and it really was a big leap for me. I started off pretty well, but things went wrong in the middle, and by sundown I was bonked and my morale went right out the window. My biggest issue I think was due to nutrition and hydration. I had to detour off route and find an open convenience store where I ate an orange and waited around for it to go to work while I pulled myself back together. I also think that trying to cut my off bike time so suddenly was a mistake- the old warning not to try anything on game day that you haven`t done first in practice. Bottom line, I`m still learning what I need to do, and FOR ME the step-by-step approach is warranted. I`ll have a new strategy to try out on the 400. Keeping the standard order might not be necessary for you, but if you can work out another 200 brevet or permanent before your 300, all that much better. Either way, good luck on your ride.