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Showing posts from September, 2011

Back to the start

There is wonder and excitement upon experiencing something for the first time. Memories are laid down, and in later years called back up again in the telling of a tale. Even so, approaching something with the benefit of experience, and a measure of focused preparation can often times make the return seem like a new experience itself. I learned this so well this past August when the four year wait concluded and the 17th edition of Paris, Brest et retour was about to begin. Starting in August of 2007 while still in France, and continuing and building over the next four years I prepared myself in the best way I knew how, and in what ever ways I could for PBP 2011. I left France four years ago struggling a bit to be positive about the experience of PBP 2007, and four years seemed too much like an eternity. In so many ways I had a fantastic experience back then, no doubt about that, but those experiences were also at war with the emotions of having fallen short. True also was the realiza…

It didn't look exactly like this from back there

My point of reference is August, 2007. Going into Paris, Brest, Paris in 2007, I had heard many stories about the experience, but I knew nothing first hand. The experience of PBP 2007 for me was many things, but arching over all those things, what it amounted to was something incomplete. Looking back to 2007, while I learned a great many things from the experience both at the time as well as over time, I could only see PBP 2007 and any Grand RandonnĂ©e I attempted in one way: only a start. A piece of advice I had been given in 2005 was that one way to prepare for PBP might be to complete a domestic 1000 or 1200km brevet. I acted on that advice and set out to ride the Gold Rush RandonnĂ©e that year. Result: I abandoned the ride in Oroville, CA, just barely 100 miles into the 750 mile route. I had a splitting headache and a broken rack held together by a substandard bolt and a few days later I was laid out flat with one of the worst bugs I've ever had. 2006 was a missed opportunity …

The journey is more than the road upon which I traveled

Shortly after addressing the more urgent unpacking details upon returning from PBP 2011, having found an unanticipated moment of quiet I settled in front of the computer and sifted through the early messages from my fellow travelers, and also quite a number of congratulatory postings from friends who had followed the event electronically. I was not the first to upload my photos from the ride and post them so many of these messages had links to albums or even specific single photos. One such post on a social network contained a photo taken by a then unknown to me photographer, of me on the bike at mid day, with much more than a hint of a smile on my face. It took me several viewings before I could place the image within my memories of any of the 1230 kilometers of the course. With some context now supplied, I set to work trying to recall the circumstances surrounding me at the time, such as what I was thinking when the photo was taken. That really wasn't a hard task at all. Thoug…