Just wanted to let you know, that I finished successfully last
weekends Brevet and once everything is confirmed I should be
qualified for PBP (Paris - Brest - Paris).
We had two groups going. The slow group (32 people including
myself) started at Saturday morning at 2 AM. The fast group (10
people) started at 6 AM. For the first 50 miles approx. 30
riders of our group stayed together as a pack. This was amazing
with all the blinking lights at night. Some car drivers were
quite surprised on what was going on here. We averaged about
17/18 mph at this time. After the first control they picked up
the pace and started to ride 20 mph and I decided to let them go
with all the miles ahead. Also this quite split the field, but I
guess approx. 15 riders stayed at the front group. At this time
I probably only had 2 riders behind and 30 in front. From mile
70 to 270 I was riding all by myself, but slowly but surely
passed riders that sprinted out earlier in the morning.
When we came back to the start at mile 270, I came in as 12th
rider at 10:20 PM. 20 Minutes after I was in, the first 6 of the
fast group (that left 4 hours later than me) came in. They were
amazingly fast (and tired).
Most people decided to take a sleep brake and started the next
morning at 6:00 AM again for doing the last 110 Miles loop.
I wanted to get the experience to ride without sleep and so I
went off by myself after approx. 1 hour brake, 5 slices of
Pizza, Bananas, cookies and other things I stuffed into myself.
Before me only 2 other people had left.
About 10 miles into the ride (at mile 280) I was caught by Jim
Solanick. He was the only rider out of the fast group that
wanted to continue without sleep. He is also the organizer of
all those brevets and qualified for RAAM (Boston - Montreal -
Boston - 750 Miles in 61 hours). He is a strong rider. But with
the pace they had going in the morning (> 20 mph, to what I
heard later), he slowed down and stayed with me all night. On
the other side I picked up the speed a little. Jim was pulling
most of the time and I provided my bright light, was reading the
map and gave instructions on the turns. We worked quite well
together and he didn't mind to stop for short 2 to 3 minute
brakes every 15 miles to relieve some pain from my feet (hot
The night was quite cold (49 F) and with high humidity and
patches of fog this really felt like coming directly into your
body. With the fatigue I guess with the same temperatures at
both nights the second night felt much colder. I had two
undershirts, a jersey, a jacket, arm warmers and leg warmers and
sometimes was still cold. And this to me. Think about how
Until 4 AM Jim and myself were quite fine, but then we get
really tired. We took a 30 minute break at a CS, ate a Sub,
drunk, but could not really rest. They had no seats or table
inside. We were sitting on the floor.
As we took off from 4:30 for the next hour we had our toughest
time. Both of us had difficulties to concentrate to the road and
were really tired now. Only watching each other and talking to
each other I think we were able to go for the next hour. Luckily
we had another CS at 5:50. We had to wait until the opened at
6:00 AM, but we decided to do so, since we felt this would be
safer, as tired we were. By the way at this time our speed
dropped to about 14 mph.
This CS was nice, warm, clean and had tables with benches. We
took another 30 min. break and kind of closed our eyes for 20
min while sitting on the table. We also had one of those energy
drinks. This break made real difference. It was as somebody had
exchanged our engine.
We still were fatigued, but no more tiredness. We went out there
and starting pacing along 17/18 mph again. We had constant hills
up and down. They didn't bother us a bid. At 7 AM daylight came
in and temperatures started to become better. At 8 AM Jim took
off one of his 2 jackets and I took off the arm warmers. For the
last 20 Miles we picked up the speed again (19/20 mph on the
flat). Jim was pulling and I actually enjoyed that speed. We
came in at 9:20 Sunday morning.
Since the official starting time was 2:08, I had a total of
31:12 for the 380 Miles. I planned on 30 hours, but was still
way below the 40 hour max and was quite happy. From the slow
group I was the 2nd person to come in. Jim had a total of 27:12
and had the overall shortest time.
Approx. 6 riders went through the night without sleep break.
Some took a short break of 2 to 4 hours and majority took a
longer one and started at 6:00 AM in the morning again. The
latest rider came in at 4:50 PM.
I guess, 6 riders did not finish.
Overall my legs were fine and could still be out there and
moving (no cramps or anything similar). Where I felt it most:
Feet, Butt, Knees, Hand palms. In addition overall fatigue and
tiredness. But this was a very valuable experience on my way to
On a side note. So far Jim seemed to me like an engine. At that
night I saw him as a human. He also had a sore butt and had to
get up frequently. He was fatigued and tired. To see this on an
exceptional rider like him, made me feel much better. Overall he
was a big help the last night and we both worked well together
as a team. I do believe that he enjoyed riding with me too.
Another note, I burned according to my Polar 16363 calories, but
amazingly gained 5 pounds in weight. I kept eating like crazy.
Side note 3: I went eating dinner Sunday night with a group of
PBP veterans. Did get some good tips and also some stories of
"punishment" during PBP. We attested ourselves a certain portion
of crazyness. I believe you do not disagree.
So this was a real long mail and I hope you have time to read it
all. But on the other side, it was a long ride too.