Friday, October 30, 2015

Putting Your Brest Foot Forward


Thursday night we had Rebecca Clark, a local randonneur, in the shop sharing her experiences from the Paris - Brest - Paris brevet, affectionately known as the PBP.


What the heck is a brevet... or a randonneur, are you even speaking English? Well, no, both are French terms actually. A randonneur refers to any rider who has complete a 200 km ride, or brevet as they are officially called. The odd thing, for us Americans any way, about brevets is that it is not a race but rather a ride with a time limit but where you place doesn't matter as there are no winners and no losers. Whether you are the first person to finish or the last it doesn't matter as long as you complete the ride in the time allotted both finishers are considered equal. In fact it is often expected that riders will ride at a certain pace, for example no slower than 15 km/h but no faster than 30 km/h, those who show up at the controls (check points) faster than the maximum pace will have to wait before they can leave again. Those crazy French!


A few of the interesting facts we learned about the PBP beret, it is one of the oldest bicycle "races", the first one occurring in 1891 and held as an actual race rather than a brevet. Eventually pros were separated from the rest of the riders until it was dropped altogether as a professional race in 1951, due in part to it being such a long format race. As you can see it is kind of the Grand Daddy of the Tour de France and uses some of the same route that the Tour uses. Plus I think we may have found a picture of the very first Rapha kit.


The route from Paris to Brest and back again, including the various controls (check points).


And just because 760 miles within 90 hours was too easy, look at all that climbing you get to enjoy. My legs are tired just looking at the elevation profile.


In addition to sharing her story with us, Rebecca also shared photos from her journey which included lots of awesome looking French pastries and some very unique bicycles. Sorry, I was drooling too much to get any pictures of the pastries but trust me, they all looked delicious. I really enjoyed the presentation and learned a ton about randonneuring and the history of the Paris - Brest - Paris brevet, it was truly a great night of bicycle talk.


Oh, also, if anyone knows a pastor missing a pew I might be able to help you out. I've always joked about dirt church being a real thing but Sondy's taking it to a whole other level. Church is in session!

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