PBP 2011: Paris-Chartres-Paris

Today a group of us gathered at our hotel for another edition of the Paris-Chartres-Paris preride, taking us through quaint villages to the iconic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres and back.

We got in a good 125K ride over easy rolling roads, just enough to get the legs warmed up for the PBP 2011 start on Sunday and Monday.

Our group included Rick from Chicago, Jeff B., Jeff S., Andrea M., Greg C., Michael H., and Ron and Barb from New Jersey. Two others, Kevin K. and Steve P., joined us to Rambouillet and then turned back.

See more photos here. See also MG’s view from the stoker on our ride at Chasing Mailboxes.

The route took us south and southwest through Dampierre, Rambouillet, Gallardon (our cafe and patisserie stop), Coltainville and then into Chartres. The spires of the 13th Century cathedral were, as always, visible from 10 miles out.

The highlight of the visit was a 75-minute tour/history lesson on Chartres from the notable scholar Malcolm Miller, who has spent his life studying the cathedral, its construction and the well-known and unknowns who built it and have made the pilgrimage over the last 800 years.

Clouds rolled in and the temperatures cooled to the low 70s as we arrived, but no rain fell and we had a fun tailwind all the way back.

The ride had one extra salutory effect: it helped us all relax. We’re still getting over the jet lag, and a good night’s sleep is well in order after this jaunt.

Tomorrow: a day off the bike for some sightseeing in Paris.

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