You ever get that feeling before an event... "I'm not ready." I got that, right now. Pretty badly. And it's very justified.
The brief history. I've decided to enter into a few 62-68 mile events this spring figuring I wanted to try out some more remote gravel style events. And I knew I had all winter to prepare. And I did what I could, and it's not enough. Past expirence, and this last weekend is proof of that.
The truth of things is I can't "Zwift" more than 1 hour, 2 if I really endure the bad pain. (different than "good pain", you know what I mean.) So my indoor rides have been 1 hour of riding, and then 45 minutes of setup/teardown. Oh, umm, because of my living arrangements, running "Zwift" in my place is like furniture origami. I only topped short of creating a "Murphy Bike". (I'll be pleased if any of you get that...)
I tried some outdoor rides, and well... that was memorable when I could get out there. Not a great winter for cycling, and I was trying to ride. It doesn't help that my gear isn't "winter" rated. At best it's "chilly" rated.
Now combine that with trying to dial in a gear combo that works for me, and yeah it's frustrating. The other day I did a 40 miler into that port-a-potty tipping wind, and ended up full body sore. But I was also trying a backpack with 3L of Nuun mix to prevent frozen bottle syndrome.
Bright side, water stayed warmer. Down side, it made my back, shoulders and arms absolutely ache because of the weight of it and the foul weather gear on my back. Not worth it, looking at alternatives. With less than 4 days to go.
And speaking of that, alternatives. The rule of thumb is to not change ANYTHING 2 weeks before an event, right? I just bought a new saddle. The absolutely stupidest thing I can do, but it has to be better than the stock one, and more comfortable than the road saddle that doesn't like the gravel bike.
And lemme see, changing the outfit, adding leg warmers then knee warmers than thermal layers, trying to work a wind layer that doesn't make me a 1-man portable sauna system, trying "wind proof" socks (they exist) and helmet / bandanna / cap combos...
And dammit, I can't get comfortable. There's no combo of anything that feels "right". According to "Zwift" I'm wattage stronger, but I certainly don't feel it. And now it's WAY too late, 'cuz I do know that "cramming" workouts in will only hurt me on the day.
So I've got 4 days to figure out.... everything. Like how to store water on a self supported 62 mile ride without freezing. I've got some soft sided coolers from the roadtrip, I might be able to cram some kind of hot-hands and foil thing in there. I can also pull a trick out of my bag, in that the ride goes through 2 towns and I might be able to get warm water from a gas station. I'm watching weather reports like a hawk and planning to stuff a weekender bag full of stuff. Need to get out on the new saddle to test it. And oh yeah, my normal "day job" too.
There's an old idea, I wish I could tell you where it came from but it's a mindset I'm gonna be carrying for the next month of events. "When your bow is broken, notch the arrow and fire anyway." I'm going to the events. I'm going to "race". I'm probably going to finish in the bottom 5%. But I'm finishing it. Mostly because the point isn't to win, it's to compete and prove that an old, broken, big slow guy can do it. And through that, some other old, big and broken person might say "ya know... I could too."
So no, I'm not ready. But here we go anyway.