Author Topic: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP  (Read 4872 times)

Pete Mas

  • Don't Worry 'bout a thing...
Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« on: June 30, 2015, 02:07:26 pm »
OK you have now qualified for PBP, and have maybe an audax or two, or other rides lined up , to keep the legs spinning before Paris. What else can we do in the remaining time to make the event a more enjoyable  :), or less painful  ;) experience? Please put on your thinking caps, especially to help first-timers. Please feel free to add to or expand on these points, using knowledge, experience, common sense, etc.

In no particular order:-
1. Cut-down or cut-out coffee pre-ride, so that it works better when you need it on the ride.
2.Cut down on excess calories pre-ride, so you start at a reasonable fighting weight feeling well. I'm thinking here of maybe ice-cream, cakes, chocolate, fatty foods, excess alcohol, etc.
3. Add a few extra miles to your commute maybe twice a week (assuming you have no time for longer weekend rides). Try some speedier riding or intervals.
4. Check your bike is properly maintained. New tyres if needed, etc.
5. Check your bike is properly set-up. if you had any comfort issues on the 400km or 600km ride, have they been sorted? eg If you had numb fingers after the 600km qualifier, you will be much worse after PBP 1200km, so get that new padded bar tape on now.(as an example fix.)
6. Get as much sleep as your busy schedule allows , especially just before the ride, even 10 to 20 mins more per night starting now will help.
7. Do whatever is necessary to avoid saddle sores before the start (or indeed any other injuries). .E.g. change out of dirty shorts asap after a ride, shower frequently.
8. Over to you...?
''It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive."

R.L.Stevenson

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 02:25:06 pm »
For me, now is the time to relax after the stress of qualifying. Spend time with family doing normal stuff - they give up as much as me with my cycling obsession. Enjoy club and social rides again for a bit as a way to keep the wheels turning. A few intervals sure, and regular 100s - maybe a total of 100km to 200km most weeks, but not going crazy.

All the above might sound way too laid back and way too little - but I'm in 90h group purely aiming to finish. I want to get to the start feeling fresh, and ready to enjoy my riding as opposed to burnt out from doing too much. We're all hugely different though.

Edit - definitely agree with bike prep points. With the big miles done on the Burls until PBP, it is now having a thorough work over - headset, BB, new chain, new tyres, new cables.

The other Robw, not the wobbly one

Aunt Maud

  • Le Flâneur.
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 02:34:32 pm »
I've just ridden 1700km down from home to London to deliver my PBP bike and I'd say……check your tires and do your admin.

I've not ridden PBP, but I've done a lot of Euro brevets in countries where I don't speak the language. I've learnt that smiling and having a laugh makes the day go with a swing, even when you're having a shit time, it's pouring with rain and you're feeling poo pants.

LMT

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 02:42:07 pm »
For me it's train hard, ride easy.

Interval training around Regents Park 3 or 4 times during the week before work and before food to cut down on weight. Longish rides at the weekend at a sustained HR. Taper a week before making sure to absolutely minimise sleep dep. Ease up on the Coffee intake.

Ride a recumbent so no comfort issues although there is a slight niggle with the seat in the lumbar region which I'll look at in due course.

PBP for me is a pilgrimage, one of which I fully intend to enjoy without worrying to much about being unfit/exhaustion.


marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 02:54:07 pm »
If you spend the next week pissing on the floor of your bathroom and arranging small islands of toilet paper (unused......probably) you can then spend the next few weeks practicing your balancing skills in readiness for the horrors of some of the controls.

If you have multiple bathrooms at home, make sure that only 1 is actually functional and invite over a couple of dozen of your closest mates to simulate queuing for a crap (Brest 2011 with about 3 working toilets between 5000 of us).

If you have small children, ensure that they high five you and shout encouragement at you throughout the day.

Remove all vegetables from your diet.

Remove all foodstuffs that are not grey or brown.

Orangina is fucking lovely and very refreshing, but you might as well just smash out your teeth now to save time.

Sleep on the floor or under a table or even the classic head on table snooze.

Practice your disapproving look at the French riders who are enjoying a lovely meal cooked by their supporters in their camper vans whilst they were enjoying riding their 7Kg carbon rockets.  Just not the British way at all - 10Kg of Caradice bag or you're just cheating.

Set up a mat with RFID detectors at your front door to recreate the beeping mats at controls.

Sit in on a group of fast blind riders who won't call out street furniture to simulate the first 50-100km of PBP

Playback CDs of Fred Astaire tap dancing combined with the sounds of mating elephants and farting camels to recreate the dorms.

There's nothing you can do to recreate the aroma though.  Even if you have teenage children in the house.

Study agriculture of north-western Europe because you sure do ride past a lot of fields.

But, most importantly, prepare to have the time of your life because despite all this^, PBP is fucking ace.
Right! What's next?

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

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 03:05:31 pm »
^ Brilliiant.

Am thoroughly in the mood now!
The other Robw, not the wobbly one

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
    • Audaxing
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 03:09:57 pm »
If ...
But, most importantly, prepare to have the time of your life because despite all this^, PBP is fucking ace.

You forgot the accordian music.  Yes, I know you probably forgot it on purpose
Audaxing Blog follow @vorsprungbike on

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 03:14:18 pm »
If ...
But, most importantly, prepare to have the time of your life because despite all this^, PBP is fucking ace.

You forgot the accordian music.  Yes, I know you probably forgot it on purpose

Oh if those fuckers with the pipes are walking around the start this time, they will be able to film a new episode of "Bizarre objects in body cavities" for French TV I assure you.
Right! What's next?

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

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 03:19:35 pm »
If ...
But, most importantly, prepare to have the time of your life because despite all this^, PBP is fucking ace.

You forgot the accordian music.  Yes, I know you probably forgot it on purpose

Oh if those fuckers with the pipes are walking around the start this time, they will be able to film a new episode of "Bizarre objects in body cavities" for French TV I assure you.

Can be simulated at home by simply feeding an endless supply of cats into a mangle (or by playing the bit of Scottish Bagpipe music, when they are just filling the bag with air, and getting it all fired up, on a constant loop*)

* Or perhaps just having a go at playing the Bagpipes yourself for 9 hours, without reading the instruction manual.

I'll be taking some earplugs

(click to show/hide)
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 03:43:40 pm »
To be fully prepared for a 2007 type ride US riders can stand under a cold shower while tearing up 100 dollar bills.

Pete Mas

  • Don't Worry 'bout a thing...
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2015, 04:47:36 pm »
Mjb's post really captures some of the atmosphere of last PBP, (but not what you'd normally find in the Arrivee ride reports), and also reminds me that I said at the time that 2011 would be the last time....

I blame my cousin for buying a house and gite en route, which I'm curious to visit. Might be handy, at least one way, for a quick stop or nap.
''It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive."

R.L.Stevenson

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 05:10:31 pm »
Mjb's post really captures some of the atmosphere of last PBP, (but not what you'd normally find in the Arrivee ride reports)

Hopefully! 

Some of the experiences are testing horrific for sure - but embrace it all for it is magnificent. 

and also reminds me that I said at the time that 2011 would be the last time....

I currently can't see me saying that this is the last time for a while.  Second time around and I am excited, but far more relaxed about it all.  Some of the things going on and people panicking about tiny details make me laugh and think "was I really that bad before my first one?".  No doubt I was. 

I lack miles this year due to a very large, but exciting (and profitable) project, and I have chosen to make it hard on myself by eschewing gears, but it's going to be great.

I am reminded of what I wrote about 10 days after PBP 2011 (my first):

I wondered whether PBP would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience – but I think it is not to be. I currently hope to ride again and make it a different experience – who knows how I will ride it though. Try for a really fast time? Try for a really relaxed ride? Fixed? Tandem? Who knows – I’ll work it out in 2015.

Full text here https://marcusjb.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/did-paris-brest-paris-2011-live-up-to-my-expectations/

I know that I need to ride it in each start group.  I know that I must go for a proper time at some point before I get too (much) old(er).  Plans for the tandem fell apart - PBP itself is far more straight forwards than slogging around qualifiers in March and April.  But never say never.  At least I am ticking off doing it fixed this time around.
Right! What's next?

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

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 05:15:18 pm »
........  I know that I must go for a proper time at some point before I get too (much) old(er). 

My bold

Should this be in the 'Elitism' thread?

(Marcus, your posts have been great regards PBP and made me laugh after my experience of 2011.  Also appreciated your kit list and never even knew Castelli did those head bands!)

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2015, 01:42:54 am »
Practise jumping off your bike, running into a field dropping your shorts and then farting.
As an alternative try to determine if the next gut spasm will result in liquid, solid or gaseous  expulsions.
Repeat -"Ou est votre toilette si'l vous plait?

If it is warm , take mozzie repellent spray.

Tomsk

  • Fueled by cake since 1957
    • tomsk.co.uk
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2015, 10:15:02 am »
;D  :facepalm: Oh no, it's all coming back to me now..

But seriously, to add to the wisdom further upthread - don't make last minute changes to bike set-up, clothing etc. Stick to what worked on qualifiers/post-qualifying long rides.

And don't get carried away in the first 24 hours - it's not a race [well not for most of us]. Trim time at controls on the way out and relax and be a bit more sociable on the return. When you start catching riders, maybe even 80 hour starters, who've overcooked it earlier on, you'll know you've got your pacing spot-on.

Fidgetbuzz

  • L sp MOON. 1st R sp MARS . At X SO sp STARS
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2015, 12:00:25 pm »
Marcus -- effing brilliant - i am going to copy and send to my family - so that they realise what fun i am having !!
I was an accountant until I discovered Audax !!

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2015, 03:39:56 pm »
It pays to have the occasional look in a mirror.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJQefuLH2VQ

The 2011 DVD is still available, I made a few more copies the other day.
http://www.damonpeacock.com/pbp-2011-film.html

caerau

  • SR x 3 - PBP fail but 1090 km - hey - not too bad
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2015, 03:47:06 pm »
This thread has just made my day.




 :thumbsup: :D ;D
It's a reverse Elvis thing.

Phil W

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2015, 09:50:24 pm »
Unless you are fluent, brush up on your French.

Ride the bike purely for fun, and reacquaint yourself with the joy of no target, no fixed distance or route, or time limits. Arrive at PBP in love with riding your bike once more.

Read Marcus' post above and laugh out loud.

zigzag

  • unfuckwithable
Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2015, 11:12:36 am »
my bike is working great, all fettled to perfection.  i still need to figure out how to use garmin 500 in a way that it works reliably. i have ordered an otg cable to charge it on the go, will wrap it cling film if the forecast is wet. i'll be taking garmin etrex anyway, but want to keep 500 running alongside recording power and cadence.

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2015, 06:35:50 pm »
I've never really liked the forks on my Hewitt generic Taiwanese 653 bike. I reckon they are cheap 525s. So I've changed them for Ambrosia Momentum Carbon forks, available cheap from SJS cycles. Much improved ride, and you can get 28mm tyres and mudguards on them.
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/ambrosio-momentum-carbon-forks-700c-1-1-8-inch-ahead-deep-drop-with-mudguard-eyes-prod37945/

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2015, 09:24:46 pm »
After my first PBP in 2011 I wrote a post in my blog with the tips I wanted to remember for 2015. Not sure if they are going to be interesting in this forum where there are rider with much more experience than me but here they go hoping they are helpful for anyone.

My tips for Paris-Brest-Paris
Let me put this straight, I'm not an expert on Paris-Brest-Paris, I only have ridden it once, in 2011. Don't read this as a list of tips you should follow, read it more like this is the list tips Javier wants to remind and apply for PBP.

With this, in no specific order:

Time is miles. If you are riding the qualifiers you probably already know this one. Being concious of time is very important in long distance cycling events, specially when you stop at a control. It is very easy to lose 15 or 30 minutes stopping at a control or at a cafe and those minutes add up and end up being time you won't be sleeping. I guess the real tip here is to make sure you are efficient in you stops, specially at PBP where the controls are big and full of distractions, where you'll have to park your bike in a designated area and walk some distance to get your brevet stamped, walk again to the restaurant if you plan to get some food. I have three tips here:

* Try to minimize the number of your stops. Each time you stop you lose time so try to minimize the number of stops.

* Before any stop I play in my mind what I'm going to do at the stop. Say it is a pee stop. Before I stop I plan. I'll stop, get the pee, will remove the rain jacket, will get a sandwich from the bag and will go back on the road. This helps me not only to reduce the number of stops but also to be efficient when I stop.

* My handlebar bag can easily and quickly be removed and carried. There is where I keep not only the food I plan to eat while riding but also my mobile, money and the brevet. That way when I get to a control with a quick gesture I get the bag and I know I have everything I need with me.
Know "your pace". And here a pace is not your average moving speed, it is a wider concept. Pace in this context is your average speed when you factor how often and for how long you need to stop, including sleep. A good approximation of "your pace" is the average speed in your 600 when you consider total time (ie. 600/total number of hours). The whole idea of "your pace" is it should be sustainable, you should be able to keep it for several days in a row.

Have a ride plan an then ignore it. Planning PBP means to have an idea of where do you plan to stop, for how long, where do you plan to eat and where do you plan to sleep. I'll be the first to tell you that a mechanical, an error in the navigation, a strong wind and thousand other circumstances will make your plan useless; but the benefit of making a plan is that you'll have to study the route and its profile, you'll have to find out where the controls are and how apart they are, what is the weather forecast, etc, etc. Managing all that information before hand will be very useful when your plan blow in pieces, you'll have better chances of making a good plan on the go an that could make a huge difference.

When you get to a control first is get the brevet stamped. Remember when in tip #1 I was saying I plan what I'm going to do when I stop? Well, if I'm stopping at a control the first step is to get the brevet stamped, then you can do the rest (food, bathroom, etc). The only exception to this tip is when I stop in a control where I plan to sleep. If that is the case first step is to secure a bed and then get the brevet stamped. Controls have a limited number of beds and they can run out so better secure a bed and then go to get the brevet stamped, eat something, take a shower, etc.

Get a GPS. At PBP he route is completely signed, yes, 1,200 kilometres signed but having the track loaded in your GPS will very helpful if you miss any of the signals.

Test all your equipment before hand. If you haven't tested it before don't use it at PBP. Don't use a bike that came straight from the bike shop, make sure you have ridden it a few times before. I apply this to everything, including clothes and spares.

Get a bikefit. Ideally before you start the qualifiers. A bikefit will make sure your position in the bike is as good as it can be. This is really important when you are going to spend long hours on your bike. How comfortable you are on the bike is as important than how strong your are, it is amazing that amount of people that don't get this.

Make sure your bike geometry have not changed. Unless you live in Paris or you plan to ride to the start you'll have to pack your bike in some way. When you set your bike up again make sure the geometry is correct. Take special care with your saddle and handlebar positions.

Get a good set of tools and spares. This is not a club run, you'll be out riding for so many hours that almost anything can happen. I take with me a multi-tool, a tool to repair chains, two tubes and a pump. I event carry with me a new tyre and bike lube. Have a look at the main mechanical problems riders have to face in PBP2011 (it rained a lot in that edition) http://www.bikequarterly.com/BQPBPEquipsurvey.pdf

Be sure you start rested. You can't bank sleep hours but at least make sure you don't start sleep depraved. You'll have to be in Paris on Saturday to get your bike checked and you won't start until Sunday 16:00; that means you have around 24 hours to make sure you start rested. I know there is lots going on around the start on those hours but at least make sure you get a good sleep that night.

Make sure you are covered for all weather conditions. If you are British or, like me, used to ride in British weather you are probably going to get this right, but in any case have in mind that despite being August and the ride happening in France. The weather in the north and west of France changes a lot so you can have in the same day three hours of rain and three hours of sun. Make sure you are prepared for both.

Make sure you have good light. It is really impressive the difference a good light will make on your night riding and in PBP you are going to ride through at least one night. Don't get too hooked on amount of lumens or luxes, good road illumination is more important than brightness, reliability is always a must in long distance cycling and battery durability something to consider very carefully.

Make sure you have a backup for your light. I carry a torch on my helmet. I use it to make sure I have a light when I'm not riding and it will serve as backup light if I have any problem with my main light.

I wouldn't count on controls to charge your batteries or devices. First because you won't spend that much time at controls and second because controls are normally schools and they don't have that many sockets. Needing a socket to charge a device or a battery is a potential source of stress and problems. Consider either carrying enough batteries to finish without needing a socket or getting a dynamo to power your light and charge your devices. That's what I do.

Make sure your bike have mudguards. Again if you are British or used to ride in British weather most likely your bike will have mudguards. If you live in a country where mudguards don't make any sense then make sure you fit them on your bike. In PBP2007 rained a lot and this study found "that riders without fenders or with only one fender were more than twice as likely to develop problems due to road spray"

Don't carry a backpack. That is weight that goes to your bottom and you bottom already have enough with your weight. What ever you plan to carry on a backpack put it on the bike, use paniars or saddlebags.

Get your creams. I use three creams. Vaseline for my lips, sun cream if it is sunny and chamois cream. Assos Chamois Créme works perfectly for me.

Carry two bottles on your bike. One bottle might be too little if it is too hot and you'll be forced to stop for water too often. I personally carry one bottle of water and one bottle of energy drink and if it is not too hot I can ride 200k with that.

Carry baby wipes. They come very useful in lots of circumstances (ie. cleaning your hands after a mechanical) but it could be a live saver when you have to visit the toilet in the third or fourth day.

Be ready to sleep anywhere. You might have planned to sleep at a control but truth is that you might have to end up sleeping in a bus shelter. Be prepared to sleep anywhere. I carry with me a thermal blanket, it is very light and it will make a huge different if I have to sleep in the middle of nowhere

Pedalling in a group is better than pedalling alone. Riding PBP in a group is difficult because it is not easy to get two or more people with the same pace (see tip #2) but don't hesitate in sacrificing speed to ride in a group. By sacrificing speed I mean riding slightly slower or riding slightly faster. Riding in a group will not only be faster overall but also you will get to know people and the ride will be more entertaining.

Be ready to ride alone. Even if your original plan is to ride with a group of friends be ready to ride alone. And that means making sure you don't rely on anyone for knowing the route or carrying spares or food.

Try to sleep at the controls. In the controls you'll find food, showers, beds and volunteers that will wake you up at the time you designed. But even if you don't plan to take advantage of the beds you'll have to stop at the controls to stamp your brevet anyway. It is better to stop and sleep there than keep riding to sleep in a bus shelter an hour later.

Carry ear plugs and a night mask. A control is a lit and noisy place 24x7, even if you plan to sleep in a bed I can assure you that a bedroom with 100 or 200 riders sleeping is not as dark and as silent as you might need to get a good sleep. Ear plugs and a night mask will make a big difference in your rest.

Carry enough cash. Nowadays credit cards are accepted almost everywhere but cash is more practical when you are going to be riding through small villages in the French country side. Have also in mind that at controls you'll have to pay for the food (around 9€), the shower (around 3€) and/or the bed (around 4€).

Be ready to walk. Not very long distances but the typical control would be a school and you'll be required you to park your bike in a designated area (ie. the school parking), walk to a room to get the brevet stamped (ie. a shool office), then you'll walk to the school lunch room and you probably will need a walk to the toilets. All in all you will doing some walk, have that in mind, depending of your pedals you might want to use cleat covers. I use SPD pedals because I find them more comfortable to walk in, specially if the surface is slippery.

Enjoy. PBP is a great experience, make sure you enjoy it.

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2015, 09:57:56 pm »
There may be unforeseen and stupid  accidents. In 2007 I finished on ibuprofen because I'd twisted my ankle walking into the control at Villaine.  That wasn't the worst of it as I then had a rapid 200k back to the ferry with an increasingly swollen ankle*.

*We missed the ferry, but that's another story.

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2015, 10:00:07 pm »
great set of good tips for a PBP newbie, thanks  :thumbsup:

As a matter of interest are people riding their PBP steed now in fully PBP laden mode during pre PBP period or just as normal and adding the luggage for the `big day` itself ?
....after the `tarte de pommes`, and  fortified by a couple of shots of limoncellos,  I flew up the Col de Bavella whilst thunderstorms rolled around the peaks above

Re: Quick fixes / Final tips before PBP
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2015, 10:10:08 pm »
Not yet , but the weight of the bike isn't a problem, it's my weight that is.
Seriously,I am setting off for a few days on the Coasts and castles route tomorrow on my  Bob Jackson, 653 steel tourer.
I may swap comfort for speed come August time, on the other hand, it may be carbon again. First world problem innit?