On the qualification front, the official site states:
Unlike other 1200 km events, riders are not required to have completed a Super Randonneur series (A 200km,300km,400km,600km event in one season) to enter. It is enthusiasm, commitment and desire to succeed that is important. A basic level of fitness is required and riders are advised to attain a level of fitness through a structured and progressive training plan that gives them a good chance of success.
However, the site offers this friendly word of caution:
We do not encourage riders who have not completed at least a 200km event to enter LEL.
With the entry gate swung wide open, riders with a wild range of experience signed on for the fun. Cap'n Ende just emailed to say he's relieved about his own LEL training schedule after seeing these two posts on the LEL forum.
In the spirit of adventure and challenge, I've got myself into the LEL for the first time. I may have bitten off more than I can comfortably chew, and I'm looking for any advice or words of audax wisdom that may help me avoid failure / embarrassment / death. I have not ridden more than 60 miles in one go since I was 20 (17 years ago); I'm a good 12 kilos overweight, and I only have 4 months before this thing starts.
I too am a first timer, and possibly just as mad. I found the LEL mentioned on website whilst surfing the net on a rainy December night. Thought to myself, " I wonder...", and sent off my entry. At this point I hadn't even got a bike, after having the last one stolen from the shed in 1996. At that point I was about 12 stones, had abs, and had ridden a solo 200 miles in a day, so I felt sure that I could replicate that feat, 5 times over 5 days, 13 years later and weighing 16 stones. It honestly seemed like a good idea at the time.
I look forward to meeting these riders along the route and wish them all the best in their training.