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The fourth time is a charm? PBP 2019 part 1

"I'm cured!". This was a posting I made within hours of having finished Paris, Brest, Paris 2015, hinting that it would be my last PBP. BS was officially called within seconds of that post hitting the interwebs, and this was not the first time that I was wrong (nor I suspect the last time I will be wrong). It is impossible to separate my experiences of riding PBP 2019 from any of those of past editions and the reader will have to forgive those moments of personal context that will follow below. Chartres Cathedral For the number of roadblocks I faced during the four year run-up to PBP 2019, as things transpired I led a somewhat charmed life once landing in France this past August. On the day before my flight, I received an email from Ed Felker inviting me to join Mary and him on a shake down ride out to Chartres. I had heard Craig Robertson describe the sight of the cathedral up on it's hill as he and Lori Cherry approached by bike from the west on a pre-PBP
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The fourth time is a charm? PBP 2019 part 2

RUSA #1349 For riders that take PBP in three parts, Loudeac is often the control that cleaves the route into those three parts: Part 1, start to Loudeac: ~275 miles; Part 2, Loudeac-Brest-Loudeac: ~210 miles; Part 3, Loudeac to the finish: ~275 miles. On paper Part 2 looks to be a cake walk with it being a big chunk shorter. Well. No. It isn't a cake walk. One reason is that this section just feels hillier. Way more hilly, and in fact just getting away from Loudeac requires climbing a series of big rollers. Ironically, Roc'h Trevezel, the major climb on the ride, the highest point on the ride, and the location that provides the greatest unobstructed vista is much easier than so many other, shorter climbs. But it is in Part 2 and a focal point of that part. The band (Mary and Ed on the tandem, Jerry, Anson, Roy and Brian K.) are all together as we leave and negotiate those first big rollers. Overnight, fog and appeared and settled in the lower laying areas and the early

The fourth time is a charm?, PBP 2019 part 3

Anson and I leave Loudeac on Day 3 behind the other riders in our group and a little later than the 07:15 projection of the night before. As we depart, the control would be officially closed (07:37 for the last 84 hour wave), but in fact remain open to handle the steady stream of all the late arriving riders. Though the others are ahead, Anson and I each felt no sense of urgency. The experience of the previous two days taught us we'd absolutely reconnect with the others, somewhere up ahead. As on the morning of Day 2, the large breakfast I ate at the hotel was only part one of a Hobbit's Breakfast  and nutritional insurance was purchased later that morning in  Qu├ędillac for 'second breakfast'. Anson and I were clearing the food purchasing area just as the Tandem Team was departing. As in 2015, as I was leaving this food stop I encountered a videographer documenting Paris, Brest, Paris but this time it was the other half of the team  (but not Damon Peacock himself) a

The fourth time is a charm?, PBP 2019 part 4

Just one left to fill Unlike the fog that descended on the landscape overnight on Monday, the fog forming on Thursday morning was mental. But the chill was real. One downside to leaving Mortagne is that so much of the early terrain is down hill, and the coldest part of night was taking hold on that terrain for both the 84 hour riders and many if not most of the 90 hour riders. In the dark, it seemed that so few riders had gotten on the road, but as the kilometers clicked off the frequency of passing riders increased and packs were again forming, and as the sky lightened there was again a steady stream of red tail lights ahead. Foggy headed and chilled by early morning air that was nudging 40F, many riders reacted with indecision when navigational decisions were to be made and a simple left turn on the route that wasn't within a village caught 95% of the riders and large groups would have to navigate a u-turn amid the chaotic scene. At long last, the undulating landscape smo

The San Francisco Randonneurs' Fort Bragg 600km brevet: A history and stats

The Fort Bragg 600km is not the most frequently run SFR event and it isn't the one with the most participants in a given year, but as there is a notion of progressively longer events within our 'PBP Qualifiers', the Fort Bragg 600km has some luster as a 'signature' brevet. History The route from SF to Fort Bragg and back is attributed to Daryl Skrabak though it is listed on the RUSA site as submitted by Todd Teachout who was the SFR RBA when route numbers were first assigned to existing and new routes. According to RUSA records, this route was first run in 1999 with Daryl Skrabak as RBA. Much like PBP itself, though not for the same reasons, the Fort Bragg 600km was not run every year. Daryl ran the brevet once in 1999, and after that it was next run in 2004 under 2nd year RBA Todd Teachout. Todd listed the event again in 2005 through 2007. After a gap year in 2008, the event was again run, this time by 2nd year RBA Rob Hawks with subsequent versions run from

Lots and nothing at once

Looking back, it has been a dog's age since I've last posted to this blog, and in the intervening time a lot has happened. Mostly, that 'lots' that has been happening has caused kind of nothing to happen from the perspective of a a largely cycling oriented blog, and there I probably tip my hand as to what that 'lots' will mean. So the last post prior to this one was a write up of Paris-Brest-Paris 2015. In spite of the episode of hives taking away some of the luster of the last kilometers of that ride, or rather shortly after getting that all of out my system (head included) I came back to California and continued to ride and by the end of the year I hit my annual mileage goal of 10,000 miles. 2016 began well with good rides on the early season brevets in January, in particular a pretty good time on the Napa 200 for a day that was rainy for most of the day and especially on the San Francisco Randonneurs' (SFR) Pierce Point 200km. That ride has always been

The third time around

I had been planning this trip to participate in Paris, Brest, Paris (PBP) since August of 2011, and back then, still buzzing from the experience of completing the full PBP route for the first time I had no idea of what would change for me before PBP 2015 would arrive and what I'd have to go through to get there. On the departure day for the trip, I found I was way behind in preparing despite ample time to get ready, and a mountain of good intentions to be ready. That left me feeling very stressed and uncomfortable. Elaine Astrue had promised to do all the route finding for a pre-PBP shake down ride out to Rambouillet (a destination I hadn't visited on past trips, despite trying) once I arrived in France, and Jim Bradbury joined us for the day. That ride was fantastic. All the built up stress washed away and the route took me on entirely new-to-me roads and had the advantage of getting us out into rural landscape so much more quickly than does the official PBP route. D