PBP 2011: Inspection Day, One Day to Go!

The excitement preceding the start of PBP 2011 reached a new pitch today with the first day of inspection and brevet card pickup, with thousands of randonneurs from nations near and far mingled at the start.

With sunny skies and warm temperatures, riders got their team and nation photos taken under the event banner at the Gymnase des Droits de l’Homme and took long looks at the many styles of bikes, all fitted to their owner’s particular needs. There were many more front bags and fewer racing bikes than in past years, it seemed.

See all my photos here. MG has also posted photos and her impressions at her blog, Chasing Mailboxes.

We felt at the center of the randonneuring world, a Mecca of long distance riders converging from the far ends of the globe for the big challenge now just hours away.

DC Randonneurs and friends — including TDR’s own Jon Gardner, a former DCR who rode PBP with me in ’99 and came in from London — took a group photo at 10 a.m.

MG and I then went around the stadium, looking at bikes and meeting riders before going back to our hotel to pack our drop bag. The riders who leave Sunday afternoon, those with limits of 80-hours and 90-hours, went through inspection today.

Our 84-hour group gets inspected tomorrow, so we get a second dose of the photo fun in the morning. We then wait another day and depart at 5 a.m. on Monday morning.

Right now I’d say we have a lot of anticipation and a decent dose of nerves, but the good kind. The forecast is pretty good and we don’t have any bike or other issues to resolve. The best thing to do now is relax and get some sleep, though we will go to the start tomorrow to cheer on the riders before hitting the road ourselves.

BEST OF LUCK to all the PBPer’s tomorrow — we’ll be cheering for you!

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