I did my first 200k Brevet yesterday. It took me about 8.5 hrs on the bike and 10 hours total.
The weather was not nice. Temps hovered between 50-60 degrees F and the wind was 15-25 mph out of the east-south-east. The course was an out and back with one stop in the middle for 3 controls.
Start to first control.
From the start to the first control it was pretty easy with an Avg speed was about 21 mph because of the wind. About 25 miles into it I was thinking about how I would pay for this section later when I heard a "ping." The golden powerlink on my chain snapped, the chain whipped around the crank and under the rear wheel, and then skidded along behind the bike until I came to a stop. There was no sign of one half of the powerlink, and the other looked like it had been cut with a knife right around the hole, thus releasing the chain. The rest of the chain was pretty messed up too. After running over the chain with the rear wheel there were several bent links. Any thought of fixing the chain went out the window and I replaced the chain with the extra one that I had packed "just in case." I replaced the chain and was back on my way, but was now very much behind the group.
First control to second.
The route turned more to the north here, and the terrain got a little bit more hilly. The wind was still helping quite a bit. I made it to the second control (half-way) in about 3:30. My wife and daughter came out to the control and had lunch with me (since it was in my home-town) and then I headed out. I was not looking forward to the ride back.
Half-way back to the first & third control.
The wind was pretty bad and my speed dropped considerably. The hills seemed worse going back than they did coming up. I then came across another rider who had a severly damaged tire. I offered a spare folding tire that I had and he was good to go. He was much faster than I so he went on and I just kept spinning.
I was starting to bonk toward the third control so I decided to stop for quite a while and get some food & drink into my system. A few other riders were doing the same and I learned about "Brevet week." Apparently the brevets here are not sufficient to prepare you for a 1200k ride, so they put on a series of brevets in 8 days. That didn't sound to fun to me, but I'll keep it in mind if I decide I like this sport and want to venture into the longer rides.
Third control to the end.
I felt much better after the break and was going well until I read the cue sheet. 14 miles DIRECTLY into a 25 mph wind. My speed dropped down to 9-12 mph through this section. Just for good measure it decided to start raining. I was getting cold so I pulled out my balaclava and put it on. When I got to the end I was thinking "There's no way I could do another 100k right now." I have a 300k on May 13th so I hope the weather is nicer than it was yesterday.
I got to the end and was soaked. By the time I took my card in and put my bike in the truck I was starting to get pretty cold. I was surprised to see my folding tire in the bed of my truck, but now I have it for next time too. Anyway I went into the motel, changed my clothes and went home to crash. I went to bed at 8:00 and didn't get up until 8:00 this morning.
I'm left with mixed feelings. It was a good ride and I enjoyed it (except that last bit into the wind), but I was so wiped out by the 200k I'm left doubting my readiness for the 300k. I guess I'll just give it a go and see what comes of it. Of course I'm buying another spare chain for the next ride!
I'm impressed. I never carried a spare chain, just some links. In fact I don't know anyone who does. But I never went without a spare tire. On my first 200K I couldn't have ridden another 10K let alone 100K when I finally got to the finish. I was really spent and like you thought 300K would be out of the question. When the 300K came around a few weeks later I did it anyway and finished feeling better than the 200K.
I have carried an extra chain on some of my brevets, but not on a 200K. I also usually carry a spare tire, although I didn't yesterday.
Oh, and about how you are feeling now ... and how you are having doubts about the 300K ... don't worry about it. That's normal. Just keep riding a bit during the week, do a 100K this coming weekend to psych yourself up, and when you get on the 300K you'll be fine. The brain is an amazing thing when it comes to these rides!!
I did my first 200K of the season yesterday too The story is in the Rides forum, and will soon be on my website.
Congrats on persevering in the face of adversity! Self-sufficiency is the hallmark of a Randonneur. Stiff headwinds are never fun. Just gear down and spin at your normal exertion level and think back to fun of the tailwind or look forward to the tailwind to come.
Carrying the spare chain was kind of a fluke. I had the spare chain in the box and wanted to bring the spare powerlinks, but was rushed so I just took the whole thing rather than digging out the powerlinks. Spooky. Thanks for the encouragement for the 300k. I think I'll need it!