Author Topic: Newbie question re; start etiquette  (Read 1586 times)

Newbie question re; start etiquette
« on: March 23, 2019, 07:25:43 am »
Having only experienced LEL with far fewer riders than PBP, getting into the appropriate start pen was a doddle, I've been watching videos of the process to get to the start line in ones group at PBP and it all appears a bit chaotic. I've also read the reports of standing around for hrs (in full sun) waiting to shuffle forward.

What exactly is the process to get into the correct group on the start line (I appreciate this is a new start so it may be different from previous iterations)?

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2019, 08:05:31 am »
in 2015 getting into the appropriate start pen was a doddle, so i would expect it to be similar this year.

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2019, 09:53:19 am »
Prior to 2015 the starts were not allocated. There was also a restaurant about 800 metres from the start, where a pre-start meal was served.

If you'd paid for the meal, you queued for that, had your meal, then joined a queue to get into the all-weather pitch that served as a holding pen at the Gymnasium that was the event headquarters. You went through a gate where they stamped your card with your actual start time, and were formed up on the road in groups of 300 or so. There was a starting group in front of you, and you moved into the start position when they'd gone. It was very stressful, and I had a heart rate of 100 bpm before I even turned a pedal.

For the first section of the ride, there were motorbikes at the front, limiting the pace to 30kph through the urban area. The further behind the motos you were, the worse the accordion effect. This year there isn't an urban area after the start, so I don't know what the roll-out will be like.

In 2015 they adopted the system that LEL used in 2013, with a pre-allocated letter/number start. The three types of card, Vedettes, Touristes and Randonneurs, have one opening/closing time on them, they are not linked to your actual start time, so some mental arithmetic is needed.

The three groups are identified by colour. The vedettes have red numbers and pages in the carnet de route, the Touristes green and the Randonneurs blue.

The specials all started together. I don't know how they organised that, and I did encounter stragglers who had trouble getting to the specials start. It's now completely transparent and rational, which is a bit boring really. The stress in 2015 came from the pre-ride meal running out of the somewhat fussy finger food that the velodrome caterers had laid on. I was already in the velodrome when it was served, and it was obvious that the chicken satay wasn't going to feed the 5,000, as most had three helpings.

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2019, 09:57:04 am »
in 2015 getting into the appropriate start pen was a doddle, so i would expect it to be similar this year.

^ I'd agree.

2011 was my first one and I do remember watching a lot of riders queuing in the sun to get to the front of start slots.  There was then some troubles with a ?broken down? car somewhere near the start that meant the vedettes were delayed.  There were no allocated slots from memory.

I was on the free start (I think it was called) where you could rock up any time after the waves had gone, so didn't queue.

2015 was much better organised and it was easy to get to where/when you needed to be.

2019 - I'm in the first wave of 90h starters and I think the first few waves have had their capacity increased somewhat, so I am sure some folks will feel the need to queue to get to the very front.  It really doesn't matter too much.

In years past, the first 20km or so has been reasonably urban and slowish with traffic islands etc. - so you (especially in your orange blob) couldn't really put your foot down and get on with it - this time, I guess we're straight onto bigger roads and can push on from the get go.
Right! What's next?

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

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2019, 06:33:57 pm »
Thanks for the replies, I guess my perception of "mayhem" was based upon 2011 or earlier, I hadn't appreciated the changes that have taken place, i'm sure it will be alright on the night!

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2019, 08:19:45 pm »
Like above 2015 was a doddle.  I spent the hours before eating and chilling. Make maximum use to the checkout time of where you are staying before getting sucked into the event on the Sunday. The sheepfold looks like it has lots of space and the Main Street of Rambouillet full of restaurants looks to be about 2km away.  So I would chill out till about 3:30pm then roll up to see the 80hr starts.  Then enter the start pens about 30-40 mins ahead of your start time.  I remember watching the velo special starts in 2015 so I certainly did not enter the start area more than 45 mins in advance.

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2019, 09:01:47 pm »
Thanks for the replies, I guess my perception of "mayhem" was based upon 2011 or earlier, I hadn't appreciated the changes that have taken place, i'm sure it will be alright on the night!

Prior to 2015 everyone entered a big area and it was first come first served.   In 2007 it tipped down so we were soaked for 2hrs before leaving.   In 2011 it was so hot I emptied both bottles whilst waiting and had to blag refills in the first 20k.   The old system was a bit crap unless you had sharp elbows.   The system in 2015 was blissful.

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 07:20:53 am »
I don't remember where and when the cards were stamped at the start in 2015. They certainly don't have a time on them.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2019, 08:09:40 am »
2007 was bloody, with everyone in a great long queue stretching half-a-dozen thick round three sides of what looked like a football pitch, but I'm not an expert. It took an hour and a half from entering the ground to get to the start. Fortunately there was a convenient hedge at a discrete distance.



2015 was relaxed and pleasant - it took just over half an hour from entering the pen to be on the road, and there was lots of room to wander round looking for chums.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 08:37:04 am »
2007 was certainly the most extreme of the starts I've done. The rain was the principal feature. A friend described the footage of the Mexican wave as being like the Nuremberg rally.

The endless waiting, and sudden release, is what led me to describe the structure of the ride as being like 'Saving Private Ryan'. It should really be in sepia. The experience increased my admiration for those who rode in the bad years before widespread information.


SPB

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2019, 09:01:11 am »
I don't remember where and when the cards were stamped at the start in 2015. They certainly don't have a time on them.

Presumably there was no need, since everyone had a pre-selected start time.  In prior years they wouldn't have known in advance which wave you might be starting in, so had to record leaving time at point of departure.

I believe the control closing times printed on them in 2015 were particular to your pre-selected wave.   Was that indeed the case?

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2019, 09:16:27 am »
My card shows a start time of 17.15, and my actual group H start time was 17.46.10. on the timing chip. http://shprung.com/pbp/?mode=info&frame=H259
There's an untimed red depart stamp on it, I can't remember where that was applied. There are no other stamps, as the plan was to film the ride to Mortagne, then transfer to drive the motorbike I'd driven to film the A start. The two starts and the return to the velodrome made it a bit of a blur.

The delayed start gives a 30 minute offset for subsequent controls. It's worth being aware of this sort of thing, especially with an expanded field. My 2007 card shows a start time of between 20.30 and 21.30, the actual start time stamp was for 22.10. So a 40 minute offset to the control closing times, which is worth knowing.

SPB

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2019, 09:33:39 am »
Ah, got you.  Talk on here of having to calculate closing times by factoring in one's starting offset makes sense now.  Thanks.

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2019, 05:27:26 pm »
In 1991 and 1995 they marked your card with a different coloured highlighter pen according to your actual 90 hour start group. I started in the third wave in 1991, but I was not credited with the half hour I was waiting to start. I think it was only taken into account if you would have been over the time limit without your initial wait time being allowed for. Similarly I lost 15 minutes in 1995 by starting in the second wave. From 1999 to 2011, I started in the first wave of the 90 hour start. Luckily I went down to the start early in 2011 as my mate was in the vedette start and I left my bike in what became a very long queue whilst I went to the nearby garage to buy some water. As it was so hot I didn’t go back to my bike until the queue started moving hours later. In the meantime I lay down on the grass in the shade of a large office block, snacking and occasionally sipping my water.
2015 was much more civilised with the LEL style pre-allocated lettered start times. You still need to allow at least 20 minutes to have your card stamped before going into your start pen. It doesn’t matter where you are in the group as your actual start time will be when your timing chip goes past the sensor and if you’re faster you’ll soon be able to work your way forward and it isn’t that long before most groups intermingle with each other. I started at 0530 last time and started catching 90 hour tail-enders at Villaines, but they were sadly unlikely to finish in time.
There were timing sensors at all of the proper controls and at the finish and it’s the start and finish ones that determine your official time. You still have to make sure you get your card stamped and signed at every control but it will only be used for your official time if the electronic system goes down.


Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2019, 05:31:55 pm »
I believe the control closing times printed on them in 2015 were particular to your pre-selected wave.   Was that indeed the case?

No

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2019, 05:57:34 pm »
It's a niche problem, but I found the crawl out of the pen on a tandem a somewhat stressful technical challenge. We ended up doing a lot of shuggling - it's hard to ride tandems slowly.

If you're on three wheels - it'll be a doddle.

SPB

Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2019, 07:37:18 pm »
I believe the control closing times printed on them in 2015 were particular to your pre-selected wave.   Was that indeed the case?

No

Thx

cygnet

  • I'm part of the association
Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2019, 12:41:09 pm »
There's an untimed red depart stamp on it, I can't remember where that was applied.

You had to pass though a marquee tent to get to the pens where they checked your brevet/number (To make sure different starts were kept separate perhaps?)
I Said, I've Got A Big Stick

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Newbie question re; start etiquette
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2019, 02:32:46 pm »
There was a queueing system with separate queues for each start group. Each group was released through to start pen ahead of time and then called towards as required. It was very well organised in my experience as a C grouper last time.