Just thought I'd jump in and proffer a few tips for reducing bike-related chaos prior to the ride
A lot of you have done this before, and have your own ways of approaching the "mechanical interface" part of the ride, but here's a few of my own observations that 15+ years of mechanicking, and 5 or so years of being team leader for the repair operation has taught me to prepare for:
Put all your ride gear into a SEPARATE bag (helmet, shoes, pedals, frame fit bags, panniers, pump) and either have it with you or pack it carefully in the bike box in the gap between the forks and the down tube. Pack pedals in cardboard to avoid them smacking your helmet around. Put your QR skewers in as well. Shift chain to big chainring and big cog before packing. Use foam or cardboard packing tube for round the frame and shifters and derailleurs, of which your local bike shop should have a lot, because that's what new bikes come wrapped in. Ask them to put some aside in advance. If they charge you for packing material, well, politely decline. If you want them to do it for you, they may charge you $25-50 for the privilege;
Make sure your pedal axle threads will move in the cranks a few days before packing. Get a big 15mm spanner to 'crack' the joint between them (not the component, just the joint) or maybe it's an 8mm Allen key. Left hand (reverse) thread on LH side, Pedal to the front, spanner to the back, push down, on both sides. If no luck, the local bike shop will have a bigger spanner. If they are nice, they will not charge you, unless they lose skin in the process (they can be very tight). A dab of grease on the threads once removed will aid reassembly and future removal. BSS mechanics will be there to help you reinstall them if needed, or check and assist in any reassembly conundrums your bike might chuck at you;
If you've got wheels with non-standard spokes (i.e.straight pull, concealed nipple, Aluminium, threaded rim, etc. mainly expensive proprietary pattern ones) go to the place you bought the wheels, or a dealer for that brand, and obtain at least one (1) spare drive-side rear spoke, and preferably a non-drive side one also (which may be compatible with the front as well) unless the wheels are less than 300km old. There are many different patterns of spokes nowadays, and for the mechanics team to carry all of them is a bit of an ask. We can replace a broken one for you and straighten and true the wheel, if we have the correct sort;
Thoroughly clean and lube the drivetrain before the ride. If it's worn out, replace it. Replace the brake pads if worn out. Check brake and gear cable operation, and replace if necessary. Bike shops will of course do this for you if you are pressed for time. We can do this on the ride, but your bike will work a whole lot better from Lakes Entrance with this preparation;
Carry some lube (my tip - an Asian food soy sauce squeezy fish can suck up enough for a mildly damp week, you will need two, or a proper bottle if it's wet) and a spare inner tube or two. BSS has tubes in most sizes for $10 each. If you have a weirdo wheel size (Brompton, Moulton, bike trailer, steampunk 36"er, etc.) please source what you need in tyres and tubes from your local accommodating supplier;
Lube the chain lightly every wet day, and every dusty day. Every couple or few days in good conditions. A little (few drops) often is a good approach;
Check and top up your tyre pressure up at the start, and in the middle of the ride, and after you get a puncture, with one of our or the WARBY 'track' pumps (available @ rest stops, mornings and evenings);
If you are going to take an MTB, seriously consider fitting quality smooth "semi-slick" tyres with a low tread profile for the ride instead of the chunky tread pattern you might have on now. You will go faster with much less effort. Likewise, if you dial up your fork and suspension seatpost spring rate for smooth roads, you'll find pedaling less fatiguing. Ask BSS mechs for help with this task if needed;
Consider fitting bar end extensions for another hand position or two if you have flat handlebars, and quality handgrips with good cushioning (good riding gloves also help). Using different muscle groups in your shoulders, neck and arms reduces fatigue;
If you have road shoes with protruding plastic cleats, get an opinion on how worn they are before the ride - replace if necessary. They can be dangerous and pull out of the pedals unexpectedly if worn. Walking around in them will wear them rapidly. Better to consider swapping over your cleated MTB/touring/commuting pedals, if you have them, for functionality on this ride. I will be, on my bike.
A good seat that fits your bum (not necessarily the thinnest and lightest or sexiest) is the best thing you can get for your bike. If you are lucky, the stock one will be fine. You may need to try a few before one feels right - riding mates might have a few tucked in their cupboards you could try.
That being said, I've probably said that too late, as radical position or 'contact point' (pedals, saddles, bars) component changes from now on in your training schedule are probably badly-advised, because it takes your body a while to adjust to them. Little ones are ok tho'. Then…
Get a position fit, or at least a seat height and setback adjustment, and handlebar adjustment now, or earlier. The thing I do the most on the ride for position adjustment apart from the above is shorten handlebars on hybrids and MTBs, which are usually too wide from the factory for a number of body shapes. Ask your local shop to assess your position and do this if you are unsure. You will be much more comfortable as a result.
Any and all of the above the BSS mechanics crew can do for you on the ride, as well as a full list of major and minor repairs. We'll have a pretty good "field hospital" workshop setup each evening, and bike 'dressing stations' at rest stops, and can do most things if we have the correct parts (and even a 'get you by' if we can't get hold of exactly what we need). If we're utterly defeated, we have hire bikes you might be able to ride for the next day or two until we get the part freighted in (perhaps - depending on availability).
I'm happy to take questions on anything regarding this topic if you'd like to ask.
See you all in Lakes on the 23rd!
Mechanic Team Manager for Bicycle Superstore on the GVBR 2012