If it sounds like I’m getting a little worked up about our our trip to Paris-Brest-Paris next week, it’s not that bad. I’ve been before but this is MG’s first trip. We’re both ready to go — as ready as we can get.
My mantra as PBP nears has been:
1. Stay calm.
2. Get plenty of sleep.
3. Don’t buy stuff.
I’ve managed to violate at least two of those rules, but not badly. I’ve been getting sleep, and staying mostly calm. Buying stuff? Oh well, it’s been for the best — read on and let me know if you agree!
Yesterday we took our final prep ride, a long, leisurely 106-miler on local roads from home with pal Alec B. MG posted a fine account at her Chasing Mailboxes blog — have a read. We took all day, literally, and it was a blast. Alec, who lives in Annapolis, stayed over and returned after a satisfying Sunday breakfast here in the city.
The ride let me address our final bike setup. (Here’s where the spending comes in). We got to take out the new 40-spoke Velocity Chukker/White Industries hub rear wheel I ordered from Peter White Cycles a few weeks ago. I got a little spooked after having problems with the 36-spoke Chukker/Phil Wood wheel we used most of the season, and put in the call to Peter, just in case we ran into more wheel problems.
It turned out to be the right move. While that rear wheel was getting rebuilt, we managed to wear out a bearing on our other 36-spoke Chukker/White Industries wheel during our weekend tuneup ride two weeks ago. Those four extra spokes and a fresh hub mean peace of mind, especially since we can’t easily get a tandem wheel at PBP.
We also got in another chance to test out the 8-speed Shimano shifting system I set up last month after finally giving up on 9-speed. After years of fine-tuning 9-speed shifting far more than I liked, I put on an XTR 8-speed 12-32 cassette and installed 8-speed bar end shifters. The shifting is clean and crisp — even with the long cable run. We give up the 11- and 34-tooth sprockets, but it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.
Today I gave the tandem a good bath and got everything sparkly for packing. There’s always one uh-oh moment when packing a bike for the first time, but I managed to get through it. This time it was the necessity to remove a crankarm. With a crank puller and a little hand-holding from the Park Tools site, mission accomplished.
For now, we feel a little ahead of the game. We wish all our fellow PBPers good luck in packing your bike and getting that extra sleep. We won’t talk about the stuff on order!