Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paris-Brest-Paris: T Minus 364 Days . . . and Counting!

I first caught the PBP bug in 2007 during my introductory year of randonneuring. I was swept up in the PBP frenzy, but knew better than to attempt to squirrel away several thousand dollars to make my way to the start in Paris that summer. The next time around, I was sidelined by my 2010 crash on the Endless Mountains 1000K and I have spent the past four years slowly rebuilding my fitness and confidence on the bike to undertake a similar long brevet.

Needless to say, PBP has been on my mind quite a bit on and off over the past seven years. I even went so far as to secure a “PBP 2015” license plate to help me to keep my eye on the prize during my long recovery. While I never imagined hosting a vanity plate, the coincidence of a three-letter-followed-by-four-number license plate pattern in New York State was too much to pass up. This way I can have a vanity plate that only the initiated can interpret. Clever, right? No, my family didn’t think so either. Oh well.

Now that we have rounded the corner and entered the final stretch, I could not be more excited. With less than a year to go, it’s time to plan out how to prepare to not only successfully complete the event, but to do so with a strong foundation so that I can enjoy every minute of it.

Why am I so excited? 1) I love France, 2) I love traveling, 3) I love good coffee, 4) I will have attained a goal I set many years ago and which has seemingly receded into the distance the closer I have gotten, and 5) All that I’ve heard and read about PBP suggests that the event will be as exciting as I found London-Edinburgh-London (LEL) and then some.

When I rode LEL in 2009, I was swept up in the collective enthusiasm of participating in a long, long, long ride with hundreds of other riders from all over the world. Riding in a 1200K brevet with over 5000 other riders from around the globe in the country that invented randonneuring and where citizens have not only an actual familiarity with the event but a reverence for those who ride in it sounds positively supernatural.

As with most large-scale, expensive goals, the planning and preparations will be half the fun. Here are just a few of the steps I anticipate along the way:
  • Rekindle my R-12. Riding at least one 200K each month between now and August will help me build a strong base.
  • Ride a full SR series. While this is a requirement for entry, I am eager to see the 2015 calendar that will be published in early October to find some outstanding and challenging brevets to help me develop optimal fitness while at the same time connecting me with friends and acquaintances also preparing for the big event. 
  • Complete at least two challenging 600Ks in 2015. I would love to ride the Westfield 600K again next year and NJ Rando may well run the Catskill 600K again next year. 
  • Spend a lot of time refining my equipment. I plan to ride all 2015 events (except for the salty winter rides) with my brevet bike set up for PBP to fine-tune my set-up and work out any kinks in my planning.
  • Have fun!
Up next: the Princeton 200K on September 13.

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