Ride Report – Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

by Gord Blair

My first ride over 600kms., my first time to France.

Not knowing how I would take to the hills or the distance, I planned on 60 hrs of pedaling. The plan was:

  • Sunday eve. 100km
  • Monday 350km
  • Tue 350km
  • Wed 300km
  • Thurs to noon 130km

I finished with 60.5 hrs on the pedals, fairly close to the daily distance, with a time of 89 hrs. A personal best 🙂

I wanted to take in as much of rural France as I could, stopping to enjoy a considerable number of road-side cafes, and not passing any of the boulangeries that I saw open. Any ‘lost time’ along the way was usually at a control, competing for services with hundreds of other riders.

The French keep things quite tidy, there was no junk on the road, no litter in the ditches, with lots of planted flowers and hanging baskets along the way. Couple of pictures from ‘sur la pont’ attached. Next time I’ll ride a bit quicker, and get the camera out more.

It was awesome to be out with so many riders, especially with such an International flavour. Lots of different brightly coloured jerseys from almost everywhere to look at, and many people that wanted to chat things up a bit and meet someone from somewhere else as well. Travelling in a pack at night thru deserted villages with narrow streets, and the odd streetlight making interesting shadows on the old stone buildings was way cool. Or flying down the centerline of a long curvy hill at night, with many bike tail lights ahead making a constantly changing thin red line to show the way. So much different from my solo brevets this year.

I still have a couple of postcards to send. I had stopped at a couple of roadside tables where the locals would not take any money for the crepes, cakes and coffee they were passing out. All they asked for was a postcard from when we got home.

I expect my road bike is away for the year, unless someone somewhere has a fleche or a 1000k in mind. It would be nice to complete the whole series with a Brevet de Randonneur 5000. maybe.

I have already knocked the dust off my hiking boots, the cobwebs come off the Trance 1 this weekend.

Happy trails, y’all