Paris-Brest-Paris 2015

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Problems? What problems? PBP 2015.

Moose and I are home and cruising the back forty once again. It seems like nothing has changed, but the reality is a lot has changed. The last two weeks have been bittersweet. Over the span of a couple of days, four years of training, planning, and general PBP scheming all came to an end much too fast. Twenty-fifteen is now history and twenty-nineteen seems like a time well beyond my reach. I entered this year’s ride taking PBP for granted.

It responded by handing my butt back to me on a platter. I still don’t know what happened.  I did get to traverse 522 miles of the ride. Completing the seven hundred sixty-four miles would have been so much better. Paris-Brest doesn’t cut slack for the weak. So there it is, and here I am.

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My trail angels, When having a flat in the dark they were there with lights for me to see. On the return in daylight they were still there cheering on the riders. Turns out they were quite the velo champions themselves. Note Moose sticking his nose out on right.

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Seven time PBP finisher, (2 charlie Millers) and friend John Gunzke from Arkansas. First met John in 2011 and it was such a pleasure linking up again.

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Trplay with the diminutive Belgian Herman De Munck 5 time winner of the PBP. He plans to ride again in 2019 at the age of 75!

Paris-Brest-Paris is an unbelievable event. What makes it so special? It is not the route. However, if one is not from Europe, the quaint picturesque towns around every corner make a unique site. Clearly it’s the people who show up to ride and the spectators along the route. The PBP was around before you were born and it will be here long after we have died. That is the greatness of the PBP. The Who’s Who of distance riding are there. World record holders, past record holders, speed record holders, and of course future record holders are all there. Steven Abraham, currently trying to break the 75-year-old record for most miles ridden in a year, was there. But there is more. Every one of the 6,000 plus riders has a unique inspiring story of how they got there. Meeting new friends and hearing their tales while reacquainting with old friends is part of the PBP magic. Those riders who take time to talk to the spectators may be surprised to find that the petite lady clapping along the roadside was the Meaniac to Paris velo champion years ago. Or one might learn that the old gentleman waiting for his son and grandson to pass rode the route years ago. They are now cheering on the riders as they were cheered on before. This is PBP. It bridges the past to the present and leads to the future. Actually, come to think about it, Twenty nineteen isn’t that far away. Will I go back again? I think so. I’m now one and one, but I’m not done. Paris-Brest-Paris is one-heck-of-a-ride.

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Our hotel a few miles from the start.

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Wall surrounding the hotel

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Walk to the Carrefour grocery store a short distance from the hotel. LOL it really isn’t hard to figure out, Yeath I’ll be back

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3 Responses to Paris-Brest-Paris 2015

  1. gasman06 says:

    Well, it looks like we both busted; you at PBP, me at the Mid Atlantic 12 hr. I see you are making plans for a return, I am also planning to return to the 12 hour in Washington, NC. We shall have to get together over a Diet Coke and compare notes.

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  2. Joe Todd says:

    You are correct (in my humble estimation) about what makes PBP special — the spectators and supporters. I saw tiny toddlers waving (parents moving the little arms). These French citizens are training the next generation how to support this one-of-a-kind event. That’s just how ingrained the support is. The old people who’ve seen and ridden it for so long. The kids being allowed to stay up all night to help (like a right of passage). As Damon Peacock said “every four years, the world comes to their door.” The fantastic volunteers at controles. The Villaines reception nearly brought tears to my eyes, or energy to my legs, treating riders like heroes. A bakery owner offered a bunk to me in the back room of his business. Two 80-something ladies at roadside watched and woke me from a 15-min nap so I would not oversleep. Gave me a blanket too. Nothing else like it anywhere. The 125-year old tradition is safe, in good hands, as the common people of small French villages pour out generosity and enthusiasm for THEIR event. The ACP might officiate, but Paris-Brest-Paris really belongs to the regular folk. Actually, I’d like to return to PBP even if I could not ride, just to support or help in some small way.

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