The days before a 1200K are filled with thoughts of what can go wrong. Cycling is an equipment-intensive sport and no equipment is immortal. Everything fails at some point under some set of conditions.
But most of us can't spend too much time in this mental terrain; it's grey and grim and infinite. Instead we do stuff to increase the chances of survival.
Like clean the bike, especially after Sunday's Montebello run, looking for little things that are amiss. This perspective is foreign, standing and facing the Waterford from a foot away. On the road I see only the top tube and handlebars and front wheel. From this angle, it's a stranger.
For the first time I notice the scars of all those kilometers in May, June, and July. Scratches in the orange paint. Scoring on the brakes. A fracture in a water bottle cage. Scuffs on the seatpost and saddle. It's OK. We're all a little worn and still functional.
After going blank on Sunday the computer gets a new battery. The backlight works again! For checking mileage in the dark on the last few turns. For finding the way home. The seatpost gets marked with orange nail polish. It will come in handy, seat height being one of those critical things. The chain needs lube but not today, when it will rub all over the inside of the bike bag. Later, in Copenhagen. When things go back together.
Now for demolition. Take off wheels, pedals, seatpost, bars. The bike is just parts. No longer mobile they seem heavy, unwieldy. The pieces get stored systematically in the bag; remember where they are. Pad the most vulnerable bits with bubble wrap and foam. Think about the airline people who will be handling the bag.
Treat it carefully, just like a living thing...