The quadrennial randonneur cycling event known as Paris Brest Paris starts this weekend. The event starts in the Parisian suburb of Saint Quinten-en-Yvelines at the national velodrome, and heads west to the port city of Brest, where one turns around and goes back to Paris. A 1200 km (750 mile) brevet, it is one that attracts over 5000 cyclists from all over the world.
The year of PBP is the Olympics of the randonneur community. The year starts out with the qualifying rides of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km's, Once those are done, the logistics of flight planning and booking hotels starts along with registering for the event itself. You can feel the excitement build during the year on the brevets as riders talk about when they are flying out, first time participants are counseled by veterans, and veterans try to hide their nerves about this audacious undertaking.
For some folks, like the Australians and New Zealanders, they tend to get to France early - usually a week or two early, to acclimatize after a cold winter down under. For the northern hemisphere riders, most tend to arrive around a week before.
Most of my North American friends riding the event have started to arrive in Paris this week and the Facebook pages and Instagram photos of warm up rides have started to appear on line.
The organizers have created a tracking page if you want to follow the action. Each rider is given a number (frame #) and at each checkpoint that they go through, the organizers update the web page to show who has traveled through which checkpoint.
You can go to the PBP tracking page (http://suivi.paris-brest-paris.org/index.php) and enter the riders last name and it will come up with the frame # where you can see which check point/controls that rider has passed through.
For those of us not in France, we wish all the riders Bonne Route and we'll sit down with a Paris Brest cake this weekend, toast them, and wait to hear the stories that are sure to come.
13 August, 2015
Posted by VeloOrange at 3:10:00 PM