Skip to main content

What comes next after riding 449 km?

In August of 2007, I put my bike on a plane and along with several hundred other Americans, I flew to France to participate in the Paris, Brest et retour, the once every four years cyclo-touring event most commonly referred to in the US as 'PBP'. It is an understatement to say that my experience there was not what I was anticipating, but by any measure the trip and experience were simply fantastic, and it was fantastic in spite of near constant rain and in spite of falling far short of my goal.

I named this blog after the distance I was able to accomplish on PBP that year. I registered this blog shortly after returning from France on that trip, with the intention of chronicling my preparation for returning to PBP in 2011, in whatever form that 'preparation' would take. In the days, weeks and months just after PBP I thought often about the trip. Again, an understatement. For weeks, I had nightly dreams of the ride. I would frequently dream of riding up a gentle slope in some small village, taking care to not slip on the wet Pavé. The dream is not of an imaginary occurrence, but is a strong memory of a small snippet in time. I was surrounded by other cyclists, none of us speaking to anyone else, even if we would have spoken the same language. Rain was steadily falling. The narrow roadway and close buildings limited one's sight line to the river of wet cyclists ahead.

I began a write up of that ride, a write up that was evolving very nicely. I was pleased that I was finding the exact words to express my memories of that trip, but somehow, I put the write up aside, unfinished. The finished story was to become some of the initial postings to this blog, but 18 months later little progress has been made. Each year, in December and early in the following January I would always begin filling out my ride calendar for the new year, picking my favorite rides, hoping no conficts between rides or with family events would arise. This was always a fun activity, with the anticipation of adding new riding experiences to all those that came before, but somehow it wasn't any fun this past December.

Ah, but time passes. Maybe it was a worse case than usual of the winter blahs (a calendar year-long winter?), because as this winter, at least winter in Northern California, is becoming a thing of the past, my cycling interests are coming back to life. I'm getting energized once again about 'the next big ride'. I'm making plans, and doing what it takes to pull them off. And of course PBP is the biggest of those plans. PBP has again become a frequent topic on my mind, and two years off is not too early to begin preparing.

My plan is to add segments of my PBP write up, dated as it is now, as future 449 km blog entries, along with other ride write ups, photos and cycling oriented stories and comments. It's likely that not even my mom will read this blog, but maybe that's not why I'm going to do it.



Popular posts from this blog

Cycling mileage spreadsheet (using google docs)

Several years back I was looking for a good way to keep track of my annual cycling mileage and a little Googling resulted in finding this website and it's link to a downloadabe Excel spreadsheet for keeping track of cycling mileage. Mark Pankin, who created that Excel doc annually updates the document and makes it available to the public. I think the document is great and I've used it for several years. One issue I did have with it though was gaining access to the document remotely. I kept it on my computer at home but sometimes I wanted to update it when I was not at home or just pull data from it, again when I wasn't at home. I had had some email exchanges with Mark to ask about certain features of his document and this led to a discussion about porting the document over to Google Docs. Mark was not a Google Docs user but he didn't mind at all if I created a document using his Excel spreadsheet as a model. While there is some ability to import and export Excel format

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

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