About 10 years ago, I was seriously thinking about doing a RAAM style / light weight bike ride across the USA. A credit card & fanny pack type of a ride. I even began to train for it.
I signed up for a somewhat hilly double century (200 miles) to test the waters.
Bike: My 1985 triple crank touring rig (now a single speed) - heavy, but reliable as heck.
Well, how did it go?
It took 13 hours & 20 minutes to cover the 200 miles. I was solo for most of the ride.
I broke the 200 miles down into 50-mile segments. For the most part, I felt pretty good up to about 170 miles. Then I met the "Man with the Hammer". The last 30 miles took me over 2 hours to complete. I could barely keep my head up.
I was like, "please someone hit me with a car & put an end to this suffering". It was rough.
After the ride I felt OK, but about 3 weeks later, my right knee blew out during one of my training rides.
Was it worth it?
Yes & No.
Yes - I realized that I'm not a RAAM type of guy. I'm into short & fast type of rides/races.
No - my knee still bothers me every now & again.
Did I learn anything?
Ultra distance events require lots of homework. You need the miles under your belt for sure.
But more importantly, it's one big mental test. If you got the brains, the muscles will follow.
Give ultra distance a try, at least once in your life.