I was thinking of doing the 200K again, but I think I would need to inaugurate a "buddy system." This is common with divers, two divers bond together with the express purpose of keeping the other one from drowning, which can range from actually saving the other one to yelling "hey, my buddy's drowning" at passersby. I need to apply this concept to cycling.
The reason I need a buddy on the 200K is that is it no longer arrowed. Actually, one year for a particularly cruel joke, it was partly arrowed, just far enough to get you into no man's land, and then you were on your own. Ok, they did provide cue sheets, but as we all know, real men don't read cue sheets (or ask for directions).
Of course, I have my GPS, but I've never successfully navigated with it on a ride much over 50 miles, and it usually craps out just when I need it most. So, I find I need a belt and suspenders on long rides, GPS plus arrows. Or a buddy.
Last time I tried to enlist Melinda as my buddy, and she said she would "take care of me." That consisted of dropping me at some point when we were in the wilds of New Hampshire. I was (gasp) forced to resort to looking at the cue sheet, the first time I had done so in all the years I've been doing this ride. So, she's out of the buddy pool.
Finding a buddy is a difficult negotiation. Ideally, I want someone who rides more or less the same pace as me. Of course, every time I've done the ride before (in the halcyon days when there actually were arrows) I found myself riding alone with one or two people 100 yards back. Would I slow down and wait for them to catch up? And lose my 10 second lead? No way? Even though if I had bonded with one of them, by the magic of drafting the two of us would have ended up coming in sooner than either of us riding alone.
So my buddy candidate must be someone marginally slower than me, since I can't trust a faster rider to stick to the program and not get frisky and drop me when the opportunity presents itself.
On the other hand, I have to make sure the chosen buddy can ride fast enough so that they are not a proverbial millstone round my neck. This is less of a consideration, since getting there a bit later than usual is still infinitely preferable to not getting there at all.
Failing the attempt to find a sworn buddy, I could resort to the parasite approach, and find a suitable host upon which to leech. Letting them do all the work should mean I can stay with them, but the approach is fraught with danger. I could still get dropped on a hill, and once dropped have no way to climb back on.
So, unless I can find a committed buddy, who swears to stick by me, no more 200K's for me.