Back in Paris

I did it! My third PBP is in the books. This one was far different from the other two, due to rain. It made the ride much more difficult because it took longer to get from control to control, which meant less sleep, which made it harder to keep moving. Plus, we all had to carry rain gear and stop to put it on and take it off. The good news is that the DC Randonneurs group posted great rides and showed real grit in adverse conditions.

Also, I failed to mention a strong ride, as you’d expect, from John and Nancy Guth, and Bob Olsen of NJ and Mary Crawley (with tandem partner and TDR buddy Jeff Bauer of Tennessee) from PA.

227K to Go at PBPTired, Wet, with 227k to go from Villaines La Juhel

Here’s a brief report I sent to the DC Randonneurs list. More to come after I get some sleep in an actual bed.

Hi from Paris!

thanks to everybody who took interest in our progress. I came in at approx. 2:45 p.m. Paris time and was swiped in at the final control around 3 p.m., giving me an 82 hour result. Here’s what I saw and heard before coming back to my hotel; some of it is second-hand so please allow me the chance to post updates, especially about the folks who I don’t have first-hand knowledge.

Andrea Matney developed problems keeping food down, made it back to Tinteniac from Brest, and stopped. Nick Bull had a cold develop into something worse during the ride which put him on the bubble. I saw him between Carhaix and Brest outbound, with Tom Reeder, and he sounded hoarse but was in good spirits. I don’t know his final result.

On his second attempt, Tom made it in to the finish — a huge accomplishment for him — but it’s not clear to me if he is official. The 90-hour cutoff was 3:30 p.m., plus the differential for the six 15-minute waves, up to 90 minutes more, but we didn’t hear what ACP was going to do with those close to their official limit. Justin Castillo is in the same boat with a barely-late arrival.

ACP allowed 90-hour riders to continue if they made the controls up to 2 hours late due to heavy rain episodes the first night out, but we saw posted signs at the controls that said finishing times were not extended. That of course could have changed this afternoon, but we were not informed of any bonus time at the finish.

Jim Levitt stopped at Tinteniac with an achilles issue. It appears Chris Burckhardt also stopped, as did Bill Arcieri, but I don’t know what happened and won’t find out until tomorrow at the earliest. I saw them both on Wednesday headed to Brest, and they were falling behind the 2-hour allowance. Chris had an extra hour outright due to his assistance with a rider who crashed.

Maile Neel and our Michigan buddy Michael Murray, who did our 600K and rode with her, scratched and clawed their way through sleep deprivation to finish with time to spare. Paul Donaldson, Chris Mento, Carol Bell, Clare Zecher and Matt Settle did not appear to be in real danger but had to keep moving, never getting a long sleep stop from what I heard from them. Matt said he totaled three hours sleep throughout. Steve and Lynn rode with style, running in all night from Villaines to finish in good stead with a solid 3-4 hour sleep block each night. Our schedules were somewhat in sync — I arrived at our Loudeac hotel both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings around 2:30 a.m. to find them up and dressed for the next day’s ride.

The ever-chipper Greg Conderacci posted a sparkling 72 hour run on his first PBP. Bob Casciato slowed after Brest and still managed 68:13 with John Fuoco coming in with him. John’s brother Art rode with a broken right hand in a cast and still finished this afternoon. A rider here at the hotel said Randy Mouri, who rode in the 80-hour group, developed the early stages of Shermer’s neck but otherwise rode without problems. Dave Gaudette suffered a numb arm at one point and massaged it back to life to finish this afternoon. I never saw Linda.

The rain was worst for the 90-hour riders, who were dumped on multiple times early Tuesday. Those of us in the 84-hour group were hit with a passing storm on Tuesday morning for 90 minutes or so, then passing cold showers rolled across the course every few hours and we saw the sun in brief flickers before the next batch of dark clouds would descend upon us. The temperatures stayed in the 50s and low 60s. Fortunately, we’d usually get enough of a break to dry out between showers. As the ride progressed I would ride through light storms without putting on a jacket since we could see brighter skies in the distance.

It just depended on your schedule and location on the course if you got more or less rain. The net effect was the rain squelched a lot of the magic of PBP. We saw fewer roadside rest stops and slower speed averages, which led to greater time pressures, and less sleep for the slower folks. More sleepy riders on the road resulted in more accidents. Weaving riders, especially at night, were a constant danger. Jeff Bauer and Mary Crawley said they saw five separate incidents of riders running off the road during the wet, late night Thursday run from Villaines to Mortagne. We had, of course, no illumination from the moon, and the Euro riders were typically underlit.

As you’d expect, group riding took great care when roads were slick and desperate riders took risks seeking to stay attached to fast groups. I dropped out of groups that grew unmanageably large and sketchy in the rain. Adding to the problems was the big field, which made the controls extra busy all the way through Friday, but we also heard of a huge DNF factor, something in the range of 1500, by Wednesday.

The new control at Dreaux was as dreary as the former at Nogent, but it eliminated some of the worst chipseal roads.

That’s all for now. More to come on TDR. Congratulations to everyone who finished and a big pat on the back to everyone who put their bike on the road for this PBP.

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One thought on “Back in Paris

  1. Please transmit my best souvenir to John and Nancy. I saw them on the road to Brest and we talk about bicycles (!) with John. Congratulations for your PBP and it was a real pleasure to meet and exchange with american pleople.
    Best regards
    Valery (Chromed frame)

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