I must acknowledge that I’m not a very committed blogger. I have not done much with TDR recently, what with marathon TV sessions watching the Tour de France, summer laziness and a general slowdown in cycling activity now that the brevet season is behind us.
Yet the real event for me is just three weeks from today: Paris-Brest-Paris, the international homecoming for randonneurs. This will be my third entry and I hope to have as memorable a time as in 1999 and 2003. The first one I rode for a low time, the second one I used as many of my 84 hours as possible, with three (!) sleep stops. This time I hesitate to make a plan, other than finish again in 84 hours.
Randonneuring continues to grow. The American contingent will be the biggest ever, 632 entrants. (Updated: sadly one of our own, Steve Hameister, passed away this weekend during the Seattle International Randonneurs 300K. More at Mark Thomas’ blog).
The list includes some local folks who I thought would never ride a 1200K randonnee. I’m so glad they are taking the plunge. Personally, I feel PBP is the best first-time 1200K. There is an overabundance of support, hearty encouragement and roadside espresso from the French, and so many great riders.
With the event coming in late August, PBP years tend to drag on and on. The training miles over the winter lead into the brevets, and then one faces a two-month period of additional training. For this edition of PBP I’m focusing on sleep rather than miles as the trip nears. To that end I have targeted the next two weeks for some much needed family time here in D.C. and in my hometown in Illinois. My last substantial ride before PBP was on Saturday, consisting of 60 miles of relaxed tandem riding near Gettysburg with MG.
My pulse quickens as I look at the list of U.S. entrants. I see many friends from the east coast, the Seattle and Portland areas, and elsewhere. I am also glad to see the Columbia, Mo. riders will again participate. I have good memories of my time with them at PBP 2003. There are also the bittersweet feelings about the names I don’t see: my beloved MG, TDR co-founder Jon G., and Crista Borras and Chuck Wood here in D.C. All are on the sidelines this year due to circumstances beyond their control.
More to come as TDR prepares to go all PBP, all the time.