Author Topic: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.  (Read 4012 times)

PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« on: 26 August, 2023, 12:24:28 am »
Any comments on control locations , facilities , management , food etc.
I know many of them are volunteers who , in general did an excellent job, but in my opinion, ACP need to raise their game to cope with the growing poularity of PBP.

I'll start with my whinges.
Some controls managed to set up taps for filling bidons outside the control buildings.
Others expected you to fill bidons in the toilets , which is pretty poor.

The toilets at Brest were appalling (again), with a severe shortage of papier and in one cubicle there was even merde on the floor.
Other controls  had dedicated bog monitors replenishing paper and constantly mopping and wiping.

The event is getting very popular with spectators ,but even at Villaines ,where riders always had priority for food ,the number of hangers on was getting a bit annoying.
I spoke to several AUKs who were having doubts about going again as the organisation seemed a bit less slick than in previous years.

Any suggestions on what could be done better so that we can give ACP some feedback pls.

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #1 on: 26 August, 2023, 12:38:21 am »
…to cope with the growing poularity of PBP…

Off topic but perhaps relevant and the numbers aren’t settled but looks like there were “only” 50-60 starters more than 2019 despite the  1000+ extra pre-reg etc, French & Germans up, almost everyone else similar to 2019 or down.

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #2 on: 26 August, 2023, 07:20:29 am »
And apparently 1000 packed on day one...

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #3 on: 26 August, 2023, 08:17:44 am »
The facilities at most controls have barely expanded since my first PBP in 1999 when there were half the entrants. Forcing motorhome PBPers to ride unsupported would completely overwhelm controls’ facilities, shops and roadside rest stops.

It is pretty common for festivals to have hired HGV trailers providing hot showers and toilets. Villaines had lots of portable toilets close to the bike parking; a big thumbs up to them. Other controls, not so much. A cold shower a long way from the Fougeres sleeping was particularly unappreciated by a rather tired me.

There was a reasonable range of control food but almost every control had exactly the same stuff. Getting some different flavours became difficult. An omelette seasoned with a little soup as a sauce let me get enough food into a delicate stomach to make it through a bad patch.

Sleeping at Brest was in beds for us but most control floors were littered with sleepers. Did any controls have sufficient sleeping capacity?

Prepaying at Brest before seeing that there was virtually nothing for breakfast was particularly crap.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • Chartered accountant in 5 different decades
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #4 on: 26 August, 2023, 08:19:18 am »
Mortagne ****  - facilities clean, good food selection, friendly as ever
Villaines ****    - as long as you remember to cross the road and go to the restaurant, sleeping facilities were good here on the way back
Fougeres ***   good facilities but a bit spread out and hard to find the toilets
Tinteniac ***   best bit was the bowls of coffee
Loudeac ***    toilets not pleasant and the chicanes on the way in would have been lethal in the wet
St Nicholas du Pelem  ***   used this to break up a tough stage and if I did a 90-hour start might look to sleep here rather than Carhaix
Carhaix  *        remind me to take toilet paper and find a hedge; the building looks like it is due for demolition.  In their defence, we arrived there after the bulge had left and the volunteers would've been tired
Brest *            they had underestimated the number of people wanting to sleep there - which might have been due a greater proportion of 90-hour riders making it there in one day.  Facilities are widespread, toilets inadequate, and the ticketing system for meals an outlier which meant I sat in a queue for five minutes for no reason
Gouarec ****  well worth a stop, lots of fresh food, although as we were in the middle of the 80-hour group they hadn't been fully tested by the bulge
Dreux ***       thank you for the watermelon - wonderful given that the control is in a total heat trap.  Didn't like filling up water bottles in the toilet, awkward lip on the exit caused a rider to have a nasty crash - a reminder to take huge care on the entrances and exits to controls but something to consider - some controls did have volunteers warning of trip hazards on the ways in/out
Eddington Numbers 131 (imperial), 185 (metric) 574 (furlongs)  116 (nautical miles)

Flâneur

  • ♫ P*nctured bicycle on a hillside desolate...
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #5 on: 26 August, 2023, 09:29:21 am »
Tintineac - as I passed through inbound on Tuesday night, the sleep choice was max 2 hours (inc shower time) in the main control building, or as long as one wanted within reason in the Salle des Sports, a 5min bike ride away. The Italians in front of me made quite a song and dance about this (I suppose trying to be scrupulously fair about this, most people hoping to sleep had already unpacked their gear). It also took four volunteers to process each booking between translation, admin, payment so a slow process (not helped by histrionics).

Facilities at the Salle des Sports were quite good.

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #6 on: 26 August, 2023, 10:38:09 am »
Notta lotta food for a whole lotta money. But the food was good.
I mostly ate my own food going to Brest and mostly ate at controls coming back.
Spent about €10 going to Brest and over €100 coming back. I reckon there's some money being made there but I guess that's the real cost of riding PBP. Fair enough ..

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #7 on: 26 August, 2023, 11:22:05 am »
I found the controls for the most part were just the right side of organised chaos although as a morning starter I may have dodged the worst of the bulge until Brest. I didn’t stick around there long but Carhaix stands out as the worst control by far. Rabbit warren of a building, roasting hot inside and the toilets were too few in number and absolutely horrendous. Really not great.

Beyond that my experiences were pretty positive aside from the usual sleep apnea sufferers in the dorms and the muppets that brought their Garmins in with them so they were constantly auto pausing and starting while people tried to sleep. Dreux on the final night was like a sauna but I was so knackered by that point I didn’t mind.

CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • Chartered accountant in 5 different decades
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #8 on: 26 August, 2023, 11:36:35 am »
the muppets that brought their Garmins in with them so they were constantly auto pausing and starting while people tried to sleep.

I thought about this so turned it off at night and charged it up
Eddington Numbers 131 (imperial), 185 (metric) 574 (furlongs)  116 (nautical miles)

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #9 on: 26 August, 2023, 12:39:19 pm »
although as we were in the middle of the 80-hour group they hadn't been fully tested by the bulge

It's all about the bulge.
Packing at Tinteniac, turning round and touring back on the return route gave me an understandably different perspective of controls.
So from languishing at the back, all of a sudden I was at the front of the bulge! [See, I can really motor when I want too] I'm sure CET was surprised to see me wondering around the Dreux control at the same time as him and Adam. Maybe it was just another hallucination he was having!. Fougeres, Villaines and Montagne were all gearing up for the return leg and it was a joy to be there - hardly surprising if you get 5 hrs kip in an empty dorm! [Even if it was a hard floor], and the restaurant to yourself as the fresh food is coming on stream. But then whatever system you have have in place will get well and truly tested when the bulge hits.

For what everybody is saying Carhaix seems to have come way down the list.
It's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize, but surely it's not difficult to hire a stack of porta loos and have somebody manage them for a couple of days or so?
To have a few toilets accommodating a mass of riders is just not justifiable. It's ridiculous. They know what coming....literally, in more ways than one!!!
Garry Broad

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #10 on: 26 August, 2023, 12:53:06 pm »
PBP has been running for many decades and has had entries well into the thousands all this century. The distribution of arrivals at intermediate controls is accurately recorded for several editions. There is plenty of organisational experience. It isn’t a lack of knowledge that is the problem.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #11 on: 29 August, 2023, 10:38:31 am »
And apparently 1000 packed on day one...
Where did you get that stat?
I understand https://www.pbpresults.com/about will have updated stats later in September, but I'd be interested in whatever stats are known now.

Flâneur

  • ♫ P*nctured bicycle on a hillside desolate...
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #12 on: 29 August, 2023, 12:29:50 pm »
And apparently 1000 packed on day one...
Where did you get that stat?
I understand https://www.pbpresults.com/about will have updated stats later in September, but I'd be interested in whatever stats are known now.
The only thing I've seen is non-official and doing the rounds on Facebook

6810 inscriptions
6505 starters
663 'abandons declared via the back office'
5158 arrivals at Rambouillet by 19h56 Thursday (presumably including hors delai)

There is a picture breakdown of abandons suggesting 400ish of the 663 before or at Brest

Obviously, on these numbers, that leaves 6505-5158-663= 684 unaccounted for

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #13 on: 29 August, 2023, 01:14:07 pm »
So the figures don't actually look all that bad (when compared to 2019 with a 68% finish rate)?

That's around 79%, but does include hors delai (my own included!).

There were 245 hors delai in 2019 - so even if we plucked a number of 300 out of the air; still an actual finish rate of 75% which is climbing back towards the historical norms of 80%ish.

Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #14 on: 29 August, 2023, 05:09:41 pm »
There were also people who returned to Rambouillet but without having visited all controls, eg packed an turned around at eg Fougeres and then toured back but still got beeped at the controls on le retour. They are beeped as having returned to Rambouillet. Obviously unknown how many this is at this stage. But even so it sounds like a lower DNF rate than people were suggesting during the ride.


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Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #15 on: 29 August, 2023, 08:24:55 pm »
Just a thought.  I wonder how many people knew they had Covid and, having paid all that money, decided to ride in the hope that they could tough it out, then found they couldn't.  Then, how many people rode only to discover they had covid while on the ride?  And how many people caught covid from riders who did or didn't know they had it?  (I don't know what the incubation period is.)  The answer to all those questions could, of course be 0.

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #16 on: 29 August, 2023, 08:48:19 pm »
I had a really bad chesty cough NOT COVID! .. slept outside controls. Toughed it out with some great help from Dave M  and Steve B. Good tandem tows..

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #17 on: 29 August, 2023, 08:51:40 pm »
And how many people caught covid from riders who did or didn't know they had it?

Certainly an ideal breeding ground.
Never ever gave it a thought to be honest.
Judging by the way everybody was interacting with each other, doubt many did either.
Garry Broad

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #18 on: 29 August, 2023, 09:09:42 pm »
Garry, I was just thinking that it might have contributed to the high number of DNFs, if indeed it was high.  Sorry you had to turn back but you seem fine about it all!

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #19 on: 30 August, 2023, 08:06:10 am »
I got home with covid, positive test Monday afternoon. Probably got it in our cabin at Huttopia. Patient 0 reported positive test on Saturday and another on Monday evening, that's 50% of the population.

Fortunately, no biggie; I've had colds that felt worse. It is interesting to see the chart of the "body battery" statistic on my Garmin watch, until Sunday evening pretty normal then only down. Normally it rises during sleep and when I wake it's 90+%, last monday it was 12% (this morning 65%, so almost back to normal).

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #20 on: 11 September, 2023, 05:38:44 pm »
The worst control food wise for me was Brest; was looking forward to some hot food for breakfast but it was a crap baguette or nothing, basically.

Wycombewheeler

  • PBP-2019 LEL-2022
Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #21 on: 12 September, 2023, 10:10:09 am »
The worst control food wise for me was Brest; was looking forward to some hot food for breakfast but it was a crap baguette or nothing, basically.
Tinteniac was good food. I remember thinking Loudeac was overpriced and tiny, and at Carhaix there was some very overcooked dry chicken. Nearly declined the mushroom sauce because mushrooms, then saw the chicken and decided any sauce was preferable.

Eddington  127miles, 170km

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #22 on: 12 September, 2023, 03:49:05 pm »
I made more use of roadside pop ups and bakeries on the return leg - better food and shorter queues. Carhaix was the worst - a massive queue for beds meant I pushed on to Brest before sleeping, with the inevitable dozies and hallucinations on the bike. Good showers and camping beds at Brest, I slept soundly until I was awoken by a volunteer. Breakfast was limited but there were good pastries at the secret control up the road at Playben, which was a nice surprise.

At Tinteniac, sleeping was at a separate sports facility some distance from the control, which required a volunteer to do shuttle runs on his bike all night. On the outward leg, I eventually gave up on the queue for food and went to a bakery 10km down the road.

Mortagne had limited facilities - cold showers only and very thin mats, but I was overheating and knackered so it didn't bother me at all. Dreux gets an honourable mention for having Paris Brest pastries, even if they were a bit soggy.

Re: PBP Contols The good ,the bad and the ugly.
« Reply #23 on: 12 September, 2023, 08:19:14 pm »
So the figures don't actually look all that bad (when compared to 2019 with a 68% finish rate)?

That's around 79%, but does include hors delai (my own included!).

There were 245 hors delai in 2019 - so even if we plucked a number of 300 out of the air; still an actual finish rate of 75% which is climbing back towards the historical norms of 80%ish.

I am fiddling with the PBP data at the moment. Here are a couple of charts showing the overall rider statuses and the distribution of DNfs:


N.B. I have just taken the rider statuses as declared in the PBP official times at https://track.rtrt.me/e/CC-2023. For the DNFs I have just picked the furthest recorded control, so I haven't attempted to identify the true abandon point (e.g. some people will have turned early but still recorded controls on the way back).