Author Topic: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad  (Read 4206 times)

Gattopardo

  • Lord of the sith
  • Overseaing the building of the death star
What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« on: September 20, 2019, 07:42:57 pm »
So I, well my french partner, seems to be in regular contact with the people at Rambouillet and this came up as a discussion.

So what would you like to feed back.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 08:28:37 pm »
Better signage in the Sheepfold. Finding registration and the start were not as straightforward as they should have been.

Cups. There was something strange going on with cups, drinks and tokens. I guess it was an attempt to reduce cups. This should include presenting your own cup / container, not being told you need another token.

Try and get the parking / camper vans away from the route we take on bikes in and out of the sheepfold.

In group G we were overtaken by a lot of support vehicles (registered or not) on the first section of road out of Rambouillet.  They do not need to share that bit of route they can go a different way. Enforce it.

Overall prefer location to the Velodrome of 15.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 08:50:57 pm »
First time for me and I feel almost entirely positive about how the event was managed. Thank them for the good-nature and willingness of the volunteers. The food generally worked well. I didn't always manage to eat it, but that wasn't their fault.

Things to work on:-

Toilets: I spent 2 hours from my available 90 queuing for toilets. One of the controls had a row of portaloos and they worked really well, but some of the controls had long queues, once you found the toilets in the first place.

Mud: Some controls had sometimes quite short walks over mud to retrieve bikes or get to controls. Surely as cyclists they know what that does to cleats?  Some strategically placed matting would have made a big difference, and would have provided protection for the grass.

Control times: Brevet cards with individual control times would have been a great help.

Thanks for pulling this together...

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 11:48:20 pm »
The 4 finish lines... tidy it up!
Best location for the arch and timing would probably have been next to the marquee, nice area beside it for people to stand and watch too.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2019, 12:02:00 am »
I echo the thing about the toilets at controls - at a lot of them the only visible toilets had a couple of cubicles and a massive queue. I can’t believe those big schools don’t have proper facilities people could be directed to.

All of the controls could have done with temporary outdoor taps near the bike parking for filling bidons. I think only Mortagne actually did this that I saw.

Tinteniac (I think) had one tent with someone selling simple sandwiches for a fixed price and a *separate* tent next to them selling simple coffees for a fixed price. Minimal faff for either side and no queues. More of this please.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2019, 09:28:32 am »
I thought the dossier was good, there was a lot of info in it though the maps could have been clearer which would also help with people knowing where to go at the start.  The lap around the sheepfold was a nice idea, perhaps to mimic the lap around the velodrome but the road surface (or lack thereof) made it impractical.  I would also have the riders come back in through the same gate we departed through, this would avoid some of the motorhomes and also make it so that riders can depart directly back into town rather than being directed out past Station Garzan. More portaloos at the controls, especially Carhaix, Villanes was a good model, they had loads of portaloos.  LEL style brevet cards with the control opening/closing times according to our start group.  I didn't see anything mentioned in the dossier about the control's start/closing times in the brevet card being for the first and last groups respectively.

The volunteers were great and the atmosphere at Villanes was amazing, I've never seen anything like that.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2019, 11:54:24 am »
The start took place on a bridleway, which obviously sees a lot of use. The gateway before the cobbled roundabout  is usually just sufficiently ajar to be able to get a horse or a bike through, but not a car. So using the start route couldn't just be a case of reversing the start.

All the controls I saw were just the same as on previous occasions. The big difference was the start/finish. which had been arranged at relatively short notice.

What I did notice was that the approach to the finish was marred by what I term 'Reservoir Dogs Syndrome'; the desire of any group to walk abreast if there is space to do so. There'd be four people walking side by side, and taking up too much space. You see it on mixed-use paths anywhere, it's too deeply ingrained a behaviour to alter now, so the approach might have to be segregated.

The finish as used this time would be fine if it was surfaced with a top dressing of crusher run, 20mm to dust. Cobbles such as those were never intended as a running surface.

I though the the marquee worked well, and I sampled the meal at the end, which I thought was pretty good. it was unfortunate that the 'Concours de Machines' took up so much space, when people were queuing in the pouring rain on Saturday. But that clearly wasn't anticipated.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2019, 01:42:59 pm »
Only two things I noticed that was a significant problem worth mentioning.

1. Where the long stay car park was, their was no toilet facilities. To get to them it was a long trek. Not a problem if your just hanging around near the start ready to go for a while, but, if your just resting in the car park chilling for a few hours, where it's more quiet and peaceful then it became a problem. Also if I recall, the long stay car park was not on the map, I never saw it and several others mentioned it so it was guess work to find the toilets initially and anywhere else you may have wanted to go to from the car park.

2. The second issue was, and according to the riders documents folder as the problem was foreseen and should not have happened was riders from later groups setting off blocking the road to the forming up points and the start. I set off from the car park with all the intentions of getting to my forming up point 45 minutes before my start as planned. But, close to that point, the approach road was clogged with riders from groups from later starting times. I was group J, but I had to struggle to get through riders from the likes of  O to as late as V if I recall. In the end I gave up and walked across the field and then having to keep looking for my group getting stressed out that I would be late. When I got to my forming up point, there was plenty of space in the fields around the forming up point etc to just sit and watch instead of just stood across the top tube of the bike on the road blocking off access.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2019, 03:38:15 pm »
Can they negotiate with Ale clothing to get some more jerseys made please.
Money waiting.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2019, 07:40:41 pm »
Not everyone eats meat (or fish). Vegetarian choice was limited, even less vegan. I know this is more a lifestyle than allergy choice, but the percentage of v/ve participants must be enough to put on choices.

My accommodation and hospitality was excellent!
Bikes are for riding, not cleaning!

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2019, 11:01:25 am »
Can they negotiate with Ale clothing to get some more jerseys made please.
Money waiting.

I didn't have a pre-qualifying ride and never gave up hope that there would be additional spaces. I kept obsessively checking the website, found and secured a space before people had even received the emails saying they would be opened up.

I was out on my bike when the emails came in saying the shop was opening to sell more jerseys and by the time I logged in everything other than the small sizes had gone. Again I took to checking the site very regularly and last week they released a small number of additional jerseys (about 10 of each size I think) and I've managed to order both an xxl and an xxxl. I posted in the jersey thread to say there were more on offer.

Long story - but you can't trust the organisers to communicate. They do things they have said wont happen - such as provide more places and offer more jerseys. Don't give up, keep trying and they may well add some more before the end date for the shop.

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2019, 11:57:08 am »
I echo the thing about the toilets at controls - at a lot of them the only visible toilets had a couple of cubicles and a massive queue. I can’t believe those big schools don’t have proper facilities people could be directed to.

All of the controls could have done with temporary outdoor taps near the bike parking for filling bidons. I think only Mortagne actually did this that I saw.

Tinteniac (I think) had one tent with someone selling simple sandwiches for a fixed price and a *separate* tent next to them selling simple coffees for a fixed price. Minimal faff for either side and no queues. More of this please.
Villaines had this. it wasn't right next to the bike parking, but clearly visible on the way in.

I did like the start finish locastion, Rambouillet was a nice town to spend time in before and ag=fter the event.
Signage to bike check was poor, i eneded u[ taking y bike up a muddy sandy path, leading to much muck on wheels and brake pads, braking was impaired enough for me to worry about failing the bike check. Many others missed the turn also.
finish line in the courtyard was poor. luckily it was dry, or there could have been issues with turning on the wet cobbles.
as others have said the chaos of finished riders, pedestrians, and vehicles moving around on the finishing straight of the ride while riders are trying to finish, some under time pressure.

Villaines, Mortagne - excellent, tintiniac also great.

some heating in the dorm at Carhaix would have been nice, the last time I had to put on all my clothes to sleep, was when sleeping outside in a tinfoil blanket.

   Eddington  87 miles

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2019, 01:11:46 pm »
This was my fourth PBP so some thoughts:

Rambouillet and the Bergerie Nationale were excellent locations and I hope they stick with these next time. I think the organisation overall was superb. People need to remember this is an amateur event organised predominantly by volunteers and they do a fantastic job.
   
I echo all the comments about the chaos getting to the finish with campers/zombies/walking dead all over the road. The confusion with finish lines and the cobbles.
Also agree with the comments about lack of toilets at some controls (although this was no different to previous events). I ended up leaving controls needing the toilet but not being prepared to queue and going once I had left the town.
 
It was not easy to get to the start to see other waves start and lots of people (with bikes) trying to do that caused a bit of chaos. I always like to see the fast boys and the special needs start.   

Clearly the jersey sizing issue has been a headache for the organisers. I wonder why they went for a race/skin type rather than the randonneur/club type of previous events.     

I know this has been mooted/discussed previously but I think if they keep with the early registration for pre-qualifying rides system, they should consider some recognition of successful completion of previous a PBP taken into account as well.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2019, 01:35:12 pm »
I know this has been mooted/discussed previously but I think if they keep with the early registration for pre-qualifying rides system, they should consider some recognition of successful completion of previous a PBP taken into account as well.
as in giving preference to those that have never been able to experience the ride? Spread the love, don't build ivory towers
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2019, 02:41:16 pm »
I know this has been mooted/discussed previously but I think if they keep with the early registration for pre-qualifying rides system, they should consider some recognition of successful completion of previous a PBP taken into account as well.
as in giving preference to those that have never been able to experience the ride? Spread the love, don't build ivory towers

Then why have pre-qualifying rides or indeed the SR series before the event at all. The purpose of introducing the pre-qualifying rides was partly to pre-select/filter riders who were more likely to finish the event. Previous successful completion would be another measure of this. When it was talked about before no one was suggesting that it should be an automatic buy-in but could be taken into account as well as last years rides.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” ― Albert Einstein

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2019, 02:54:24 pm »

Then why have pre-qualifying rides or indeed the SR series before the event at all. The purpose of introducing the pre-qualifying rides was partly to pre-select/filter riders who were more likely to finish the event. Previous successful completion would be another measure of this. When it was talked about before no one was suggesting that it should be an automatic buy-in but could be taken into account as well as last years rides.

If you go with someone who completed 4 years ago, it's plausible they've done nothing between the last PBP, and the first 200 of their SR series to qualify...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2019, 04:00:13 pm »
LEL 2013 showed that there had to be barriers to entry, or the first places would go to those with access to 'bots'.
In 2011 there was talk of national quotas, but they were unfair to newer countries.

The 2019 system generated lots of DNFs. That might seem unimportant to many, but it generates waste in the catering at controls. That waste also inflates the cost of providing food, as the provision is for a 'normal' dropout rate. The alternative is to charge an 'all-in' price, so that waste doesn't impact on price.

However, that discriminates against local riders who have support from their clubs.

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2019, 04:06:21 pm »
Maybe add a quotum per country, based on the percentage of finishers in the last edition. Call me cynical, but I have a hard time believing that all of those 322 Indians truly did complete a SR within the ACP time limits, when only 43 finished PBP in time (yes, it got cold at night, didn't they have any anciens warning the group to prepare for cold and bring a down jacket?)

For something completely different: croissants trump baguettes big time. I had one baguette early on; too chewy, sharp crust would have hurt a tender mouth later on and it just wasn't as nice a baguette normally is in France.  The croissants I had (at Fougères, other places?) were lovely.

The maps in the dossier were hysterical. Did they really think riders would be interested in where the fire brigade would ride in in case of an incident? It had far too much information that was not relevant, causing the maps to be difficult to read. Even now, knowing the setup, I can still not make head or tails of the "plan de mass de départ".

In general I would say the logistics at the start and finish were horrible and at the controls they were fine.

Speaking of controls, Fougères was comfortably warm, none of the others were in my recollection (just a few degrees warmer would have made them much nicer to stay, especially when arriving in a cold night).

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2019, 05:15:06 pm »
I know this has been mooted/discussed previously but I think if they keep with the early registration for pre-qualifying rides system, they should consider some recognition of successful completion of previous a PBP taken into account as well.
as in giving preference to those that have never been able to experience the ride? Spread the love, don't build ivory towers

Then why have pre-qualifying rides or indeed the SR series before the event at all. The purpose of introducing the pre-qualifying rides was partly to pre-select/filter riders who were more likely to finish the event. Previous successful completion would be another measure of this. When it was talked about before no one was suggesting that it should be an automatic buy-in but could be taken into account as well as last years rides.
Having pre qualifiers rewards those for whom randonneering is business as usual, biasing towards anciens encourages pbp tourism.

If everyone who rode this time entered again there would be no room for anyone new. Having past completion as a requisite penalised those who were unable to enter this time.

If you want to add a requirement of most BRM events ridden between this pbp and next, or most sr series or most 1000s or 600s that would seem reasonable. But missing out on entry this time making it harder to enter next time is just unfair.

I say this as someone who has just completed PBP, I dont think that should put me ahead of someone that hasnt if we complete the same rides in 2022. If there is concern about the failure rate, maybe they need to look at the 600s and 400s these people qualified with, are they too easy? Can they identify certain events which have a high pbp dnf rate?

Is it a lack of hills? Do they need to apply tougher finishing times Or is it climate? Do they need to send better advice out about dealing with the cold.

How many people who failed in 2015 came back and completed in 2019 having learned? Should the be denied the chance as they weren't a finisher?
   Eddington  87 miles

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2019, 05:27:18 pm »
Maybe add a quotum per country, based on the percentage of finishers in the last edition. Call me cynical, but I have a hard time believing that all of those 322 Indians truly did complete a SR within the ACP time limits, when only 43 finished PBP in time (yes, it got cold at night, didn't they have any anciens warning the group to prepare for cold and bring a down jacket?)

For something completely different: croissants trump baguettes big time. I had one baguette early on; too chewy, sharp crust would have hurt a tender mouth later on and it just wasn't as nice a baguette normally is in France.  The croissants I had (at Fougères, other places?) were lovely.

The maps in the dossier were hysterical. Did they really think riders would be interested in where the fire brigade would ride in in case of an incident? It had far too much information that was not relevant, causing the maps to be difficult to read. Even now, knowing the setup, I can still not make head or tails of the "plan de mass de départ".

In general I would say the logistics at the start and finish were horrible and at the controls they were fine.

Speaking of controls, Fougères was comfortably warm, none of the others were in my recollection (just a few degrees warmer would have made them much nicer to stay, especially when arriving in a cold night).
If certain events raise suspicion, maybe they could look at demanding gpx tracks.

Have results been falsified, or has the event operated as a team qualifying endeavor where the field all ride together with strong riders providing a wheel for others over flat terrain?
   Eddington  87 miles

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2019, 05:55:47 pm »
I say this as someone who has just completed PBP, I dont think that should put me ahead of someone that hasnt if we complete the same rides in 2022. If there is concern about the failure rate, maybe they need to look at the 600s and 400s these people qualified with, are they too easy? Can they identify certain events which have a high pbp dnf rate?

The interesting one here would be the DNF rate for those who did their qualifiers in .NL. Let's face it, we have some bloody flat rides.

And it's fair to say the PBP route is not flat... But then we may be better at dealing with shit weather...

I agree with you that entry last time shouldn't give you auto entry next time, that just seems unfair.

Quota by country sounds interesting. Do I go in under the Dutch quota, or the British one? We sent 40% of our membership to PBP. I if AUK did the same, it may DOS the event...

J

--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2019, 06:23:09 pm »
How many here have ridden brevets in India (since their DNF rate is being discussed, though the same issue applies to other countries)? I very much doubt there is any funny business going on with Indian PBP qualifiers. The previous Indian organisation got banned from riding or organising any ACP brevets and the current mob very much want to avoid that.

I rode an overnight 200 from Pune a couple of years ago. Despite being very unfit from a lot of time off the bike and riding an ill-fitting hybrid hire bike, I finished quite close to the front of the field in a half-respectable time, which shocked me. With rare exceptions, Indian randonneurs ride mostly on the plains and on highway hardshoulders. The reasons for that are quite understandable (a lot of India is very flat and minor roads can turn into figurative minefields without warning) but it means they usually aren’t hardened to the climbing required at PBP.

This isn’t a new problem. Early on, the USA contingent had a 50% DNF rate (using flat qualifier routes) and after that, until 1998, they were required to do SRs for two years or do a 1000 on top of their SR. Japan chose easy qualifiers early on, with similar problems. Japanese routes are now usually much hillier than most countries' brevets and their DNF rate has dropped.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2019, 06:27:38 pm »
In the old days, anciens du PBP had a lower DNF rate than first-time entrants. That changed early this century and the DNF rates are basically the same, regardless of having ridden PBP before.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2019, 06:42:35 pm »
I liked the Rambouillet start and thought the Bergerie Nationale was a good venue. It seemed chaotic with massive queues on the Saturday when most riders were registering, but I was on the 84 hour so registered in the dry on Sunday with no queues.

I agree with others that the final approach should have been kept clear of motor homes and this in turn should have reduced the number of people walking down the route. It was also confusing at the finish with a huge banner that wasn’t actually the finish. I was lucky that I finished in daylight early Wednesday evening and there was a marshall to guide me into the cobbled courtyard and the actual finish, but others weren’t so lucky.

I hoped that with the start being moved nearer to Brest that the route would be shortened to just over 1200km, but it wasn’t shortened as much as I had hoped and extra hills seemed to have been thrown in too! In 2015 Strava using my Garmin Edge 200 made it 1234.0km with 10040m ascent and in 2019 with the same Garmin, Strava made it 1223.6km and 10731m ascent. This means the distance was only about 0.84% less in 2019 than 2015, but despite this slight reduction in distance, the ascent had increased by almost 6.9%, making the event significantly harder and still over distance. Whilst it didn’t bother me too much, it was the difference between success and failure for many riders, especially when a significant amount of their time was taken up queuing at controls.

I thought the food marquee at the finish was very good and I enjoyed my vegetarian meal. In 2015 there was no vegetarian food at the finish. I didn’t eat at many controls because I carried my own food but found plenty of veggie food available at controls this time.

Regarding the high DNF rate this time especially with riders from hot countries, I’ve no reason to suspect that they haven’t qualified properly, it’s just that food, climate, hills and everything else is so different for them in Northern Europe. Even 27 degrees in the daytime seems chilly when you’re used to 40 plus, so 2 or 3 degrees during 9 hour nights was unbearable for many. I found it almost unbearable myself and I ride 200km plus regularly all year round in the UK. It’s also unusual and uncalled for to have a headwind both ways on any ride, especially such a long one.

I think the pre-qualifying process is good, but there should always be some space reserved for new riders before any further available places are opened up to other non pre-qualified riders.


FifeingEejit

  • Not Small
Re: What would you like to feedback to PBP organisers good and bad
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2019, 07:00:18 pm »
LEL 2013 showed that there had to be barriers to entry, or the first places would go to those with access to 'bots'.
In 2011 there was talk of national quotas, but they were unfair to newer countries.

The 2019 system generated lots of DNFs. That might seem unimportant to many, but it generates waste in the catering at controls. That waste also inflates the cost of providing food, as the provision is for a 'normal' dropout rate. The alternative is to charge an 'all-in' price, so that waste doesn't impact on price.

However, that discriminates against local riders who have support from their clubs.

Was looking at the info for the UAF PBP Audax.
€650 all in though.

In general I would say the logistics at the start and finish were horrible and at the controls they were fine.

Speaking of controls, Fougères was comfortably warm, none of the others were in my recollection (just a few degrees warmer would have made them much nicer to stay, especially when arriving in a cold night).

The controls have previous knowledge of many editions now.
The Bergerie was of an unknown quality until the day.

Mortagne on the last night was bloody roasting.

Is it a lack of hills? Do they need to apply tougher finishing times Or is it climate? Do they need to send better advice out about dealing with the cold.

One suggestion, not mine and not particularly serious, is that there should be 1 qualifying series being made up of the Highlands Audax SR series; not only will it make sure you think a 3% incline is a walk in the park you'll also have to be able to descend...

There were a couple of occasions when I realized that riding in Scotland and the North of England was an advantage, mostly on downwards slopes and escaping from a group of brake draggers.
But that was only threatening their DNF possibilities if I hadn't been paying attention.
But then I also didn't really notice most of the ups or head wind

Which leads into:
The interesting one here would be the DNF rate for those who did their qualifiers in .NL. Let's face it, we have some bloody flat rides.

73 finishers out of 100 for NL; don't think you can say that the lack of hills in qualifiers has been the problem.
Unless most of the 27 non finishers avidly avoid Limburg and the Ardennes.


I suspect LittleWheelsAndBig has hit on it, there's plenty of information, advice and Experience to those of us in AUK and Ranndonneurs NL.
I've hears someone grumbling about things where that info was readily available on here to consume in advance.