I lined up for my first 100km populaire "Cafe Ride" yesterday with the good folk in the Illawarra Audax group. The ride was from Dapto to Fitzroy Falls and return taking in the imposing Macquarie pass - a climb of about 800 meters in 8kms.
Short story is I didn't make it and turned around about 1 km up the pass. A 42 x 28 low gear not low enough for a heavily laden and unfit (buggered right knee) rider.
Longer version is I was hanging off the back of the small group from Dapto down the Princes Hwy and Illawarra Hwy into a headwind, slowly losing ground. The other guys were averaging about 27kph on mostly carbon bikes with light loads. I carried a pannier full of tools, clothes and food.
After turning back I had glorious ride back to Dapto and as often happens regretted turning around. The knee pain told me I had made the right decision though and need to take things easier for a while at least.
Later on Saturday Henry rang to check that I was OK and to suggest a few things - lighter load, training rides and don't give up. The next brevet is "on the flat" mostly so my road gearing might be OK. Alternatively a triple ring could be arranged (and a new transmission perhaps?)
Final outcome is, I've learned a lot from the ride and brought the mileage on the Apollogy to 200km.