Author Topic: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019  (Read 18866 times)

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2015, 10:37:38 pm »
One important piece of advice for anyone reading this in 2018/19 and panicking about getting a place etc.

I believe I am right in saying that everyone who wanted to ride PBP and managed their qualifiers, regardless of pre registration etc, got a place.

So don't stress about it!
Right! What's next?

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

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2015, 10:43:55 pm »
If you are on 90h and you've not got used to evening starts before the event then consider ignoring the (well-meant) advice to push on at least far as Loudeac before sleeping.  It's 450km and you are already 'past your best' when you get to King's on BCM (400km).
Consider at least 90 mins sleep @ Villaines (but from the earliest possible start)

Cat napping may work as temporary cure for the dozies but does sweet f.a. for the speed.  Stop and get a proper sleep.

Eat outside controls as much as possible.

Don't eat or sleep at Loudeac.

Find a loo somewhere before Brest control.

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2015, 11:05:44 pm »
1. It is much hillier than people seem to remember but there is nothing to frighten an adopted flatlander like me. Why stress about hilly qualifiers when there is the best part of three months to move from endurance training to speed.

2. Sleeping is better than faffing.

3. Cat napping works wonders.

4. I would have preferred to use up my 5 hour time buffer at Mortagne or Dreux not at Loudeac outbound :facepalm:

5. There should be plenty of time if you watch the faffing.

6. Riding in company works. There will always be a point when some well chosen words from someone you have ridden with before will be useful ( even if you don't think so at the time !).

7. There is lot's of fun and food outside of the controls but the controls can be efficient too.

8 Big dormitories aren't necessarily any more conducive to sleep than a cafeteria floor - Loudeac was like a farting, snoring and shuffling symphony.

9. I wished I had a dynohub. It's one less thing to worry about.

10. Showering and tooth brushing kit is a must.

11. You don't need that much by way of clothes particularly if your top half is merino based.  Marcus j-b's list was pretty spot on (although the arm screen thing still doesn't quite add up for me).

12. Talking of Marcus.  His cheerful hellos to fellow YACFers and sundry others is the way to go.  It was amazing how many riders didn't acknowledge the support at the roadside or make any effort at civility generally.  It's a holiday and it's supposed to be (type 2) fun.

13. Camper vans should be for vedettes only.  Unless I can have one too.

14. Don't faff. Plan each stop.  Have a maximum time for each stop, even hedge stops.

15.  It is rural France.  People speak French.  It makes sense to brush up and make an effort to do likewise.

16. Make sure the weather is the same as 2015.

17. Don't wear the brevet card holder full of change around your neck. Don't wear a cap under your helmet at the same time as well.  You will end up with a very sore neck and will look odd as you ride up the hill to Mortagne one handed stretching your head back.

18. The faffage thing.





The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2015, 11:07:08 pm »
Hmm.  Lessons for next time...

1) Possibly book that bit of the Jollys as "Cubs-at-their-dad's" time
2) Have less Stuffs planned in the weeks leading up to it, in the hope of being a bit more organised
3) Try and find somewhere self catering with an oven :D

Are you planning 2019 already?  CAIK ( and Yorkshire tea)  en route will be most  welcome, obviously just for AUKs. :thumbsup:
 France only seems to know one type of cake, that is something like Madeira cake.


All other bakery edibles seemed to be pastry or bun style.

No reason why cubs shouldn't be there . It is a great spectator event as well , with sights to behold.
Mrs M would have gone over this time if there had been a few more wives / partners willing to form a support party.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2015, 11:09:15 pm »
Having decided to ring the changes (previously: 90hr on gears; 90hr fixed; 84hr gears; 80hr gears) I found myself preparing for a fixed come-back (having not ridden seriously thus for several years) and going for an 84hr fixed.  To be as kind as possible to my aging self I invested in a shiny new frame, then rode an SR series on it, and a bonus 600. I also rode the 24, but not on fixed. 

The knees certainly protested at times and it required sometimes several days to recover a reasonable ability to reach down for things.  However they got stronger as the season progressed.  On the ride over (with extra luggage), It felt like hard work.  At the start of Paris-Brest-Paris my knees were aching enough to worry me. But then after about five hours the aching stopped and I was flying.  I had something like 12 hours sleep and finished just on 80hrs.  I can't say I was ever on the limit.  Even saddle-soreness, which I had decided was going to be inevitable without a freewheel, was minimal.

So what to learn from this year for 2019?  I shall be nearer 70 than 60 and I'll be taking it steady on gears.  Sod ringing the changes.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #30 on: September 03, 2015, 11:47:01 pm »
No reason why cubs shouldn't be there . It is a great spectator event as well , with sights to behold.
Mrs M would have gone over this time if there had been a few more wives / partners willing to form a support party.

The Cubs and I were there this year!  Well, we wandered to St Q to wave off the Special Needs (after having invited ourselves round to Andy's campervan for tea and chocolate).  Unfortunately I couldn't persuade them away from Huttopia in Thursday's rain to greet the returning hordes.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2015, 12:26:10 am »
Sorry I missed you . I was busy feeding my face in Guyancourt as the velodrome had run out of food.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2015, 07:23:29 am »
I remembered (and was dreading) the hill up to Becherel from watching the Tour go past there @2008. But when I got to it I enjoyed it - it was a relief for a "proper" hill after the endless draggy climbs.

Also had that exact same sensation - felt very strange at the time!
The other Robw, not the wobbly one

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2015, 07:34:07 am »
One important piece of advice for anyone reading this in 2018/19 and panicking about getting a place etc.

I believe I am right in saying that everyone who wanted to ride PBP and managed their qualifiers, regardless of pre registration etc, got a place.

So don't stress about it!

Very true ... BUT even if you had personally guaranteed me a placed Marcus, I'd still have stressed myself anyhow. Some of us are just like that, it's part of our process.

Oh, and one to add:

* Make sure Marcus is taking part and you bump into him. If his cheery mood doesn't lift your slump, at least you can admire his shiny orange steed.
The other Robw, not the wobbly one

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2015, 07:55:32 am »
A few thought...Most probably repeated

1. PBP is not flat but don't stress about all the hills you will have to ride back up on the return when heading to Brest, they flatten out while you are on the way.

2. Ride as long as you can on Monday but sleep in a bed not at the roadside. Tomsk and I had planned to get to Carhaix but cut it short and slept at St Nik du Pele.  The short first leg on waking was great. (Similar thing on the way back with Tinteniac/Quedilac)

3. When you are really tired on Monday night thinking a train back from Brest sounds great it is surprising how much you recover with a short sleep.

4. Ride with someone who has completed it before, the more  they have done so the better. Having guidance and anti faff pushes from Tomsk made the whole thing a fantastic experience. (If you can ride with said Ancien a lot in the year before so you know the expected pace even better)

5. Starting early ish and working to stay ahead of the bulge is good. I found the control and eating process worked perfectly.

6. Ride to Paris. I only joined the Newhaven Dieppe crew vor the Vernon to Paris leg but it was massively enjoyable and settled me in.

7. Relax as much as possible leading up to the event. The excitement all got too much on Sunday after about 11am!

8. Put in the miles during the year. I knew I had the distance in my legs so it was just all the other things I had to find out.

9. The BCM is the perfect 600 for a PBP year as far as I am concerned. Carhaix - Brest - Carhaix vs Kings - Menai - Kings...all felt weirdly familiar

10. Race out....tour home. It really does work

11. If Tomsk says touring pace for the last leg.....get some carbs in and hold on!  :facepalm:
Enjoying a quiet year

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2015, 08:10:40 am »
And while you're at it, try not to age.
Tout à gauche sur le plat

redfalo

  • known as Olaf in the real world
    • The Fridays
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2015, 09:27:25 am »
- Don't worry about the Roc'h Trevezel - while it's the highest point of the ride,  the gradient is really gentle. If you don't attack the climb, and get into your stride, getting up there is nothing to write home about. Expect the stage between Villaines and Fougères to be the hardest bit of the ride, going both ways. At 85 km, it's a relatively long stage, and the rolling hills are just utterly relentless. It drained my batteries both times.

- Don't bother booking hotels en route. Cancelling my room in Brest was one of the best decisions, as the whole ride is just utterly unpredictable.

- Expect to ride faster than on your long qualifiers, but also expect to burn much more time at controls. The amount of faffing is really enormous. My moving average on the lumpy 600 WCW qualifier was 21.1 kph. On PBP, my overall moving average was 21.8kph, and I found the riding generall less tough than on WCW. This translated in slightly less than 57 hours of riding. But I spent a total of 30 hours off the bike ::-) - of this, less than 10 were used for sleep.

- Get as much night riding experience beforehand as possible. Sleep deprivation and night riding wasn't an issue for me, but many people struggled.

- Stop more often at unofficial roadside parties in little villages. The atmosphere is just amazing, and you can get food quicker than at crowded controls.

- Stuff your bags with more food than you can ever think off for the first night and bounce the food stop after 140km in Mortagne. Many riders stop there, and you can easily get ahead of the "bulge" if you just fill your water bottles and carry on.

- replace all the cables on your bike before you head to Paris, even if you have ridden only 7000k on the bike. The mechanics at the controls are efficient, but it's still a scary moment when your rear gear shifter cable starts to disintegrate after about 250k in.




redfalo

  • known as Olaf in the real world
    • The Fridays
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2015, 10:12:25 am »


2. Ride as long as you can on Monday but sleep in a bed not at the roadside. Tomsk and I had planned to get to Carhaix but cut it short and slept at St Nik du Pele.  The short first leg on waking was great. (Similar thing on the way back with Tinteniac/Quedilac)


+1 , that's precisely how I did it: 2 hours of kip at St Nich on the way out, 2 hours at Quedillac on the return leg and another 2 hours at Mortagne on the return trip, leaving Mortagne 0.30hrs on Wednesday night. Plus 40 min of afternoon kip on the grass at Carhaix  on the way back

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2015, 10:17:49 am »

12. Talking of Marcus.  His cheerful hellos to fellow YACFers and sundry others is the way to go.  It was amazing how many riders didn't acknowledge the support at the roadside or make any effort at civility generally.  It's a holiday and it's supposed to be (type 2) fun.


It was all good fun.  Once I shook off some anger and frustration during the first 220km (where I was flipping miserable), I started to enjoy myself.  A lot!

I had a discussion with someone at Villaines who was disappointed by people not even responding to a hello - so I aimed to say hello to lots of people.  Many didn't even raise their heads to acknowledge you, but many did.  YACFers with plates were obviously easy to spot so I tried to say hello to everyone as I passed (and I am afraid, I was mainly passing people on the road as I arsed about at the controls and then put in some speed on the road.  I must have passed some riders (Fidgetbuzz amongst others) about 73 times!).

I was amazed at how rude some people could be to people at their roadside stalls (and even their houses).  I understand language barriers and being tired, but to not express any gratitude for the person who's been sat outside their house all day (and night in some cases) and in many cases is offering you food and drink paid for out of their own pocket.  But everyone that waved and shouted encouragement for me at the roadside got a merci and a raised hand.  I was just amazed how anyone could ride past a little kid jumping up and down and clapping you on and not even smile. 

I had only one real low point on the entire ride.  Partly as I was sleeping well and not pushing myself ever so hard on the road, I didn't end up as a sorry pile on the side of the road as I usually do at some point.  Towards the end of day 3, the elastic snapped a bit and I wasn't going to make it to Dreux for sleep as planned and I had to sit in a field for a while and get my shit together. 

Trouble is, I have now put myself in an difficult position.  I do have a stated aim of riding PBP and going for a proper time (and I couldn't give a shit if that sounds elitist, it's the one opportunity we have every 4 years to race something so big) before I get too much older etc. - whilst that would be good fun, in a very different way, I had such a blast this time, I will find it difficult to motivate myself not to do it in a very similar way again.  Still, if my health and wealth hold out, I've probably got another 6 or 7 PBPs in me, so plenty of opportunity for doing things differently.
Right! What's next?

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

red marley

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2015, 10:31:08 am »
Not sure if I can poke my head in here as I didn't ride PBP this year, but one thing I've not seen mentioned with respect to queuing at controls. This is almost always described as a problem and one of the downsides of PBP. But I think in part it is a question of attitude. I didn't mind the queuing as it helps if you think of waiting in line as part of rest and socialising at controls. It's tempting to think of queuing as something that has to be got out of the way before you can properly relax at controls, but enjoying the buzz while you wait is far less stressful. And I say that as someone who was very much in the bulge last time.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #40 on: September 04, 2015, 10:35:22 am »
Not sure if I can poke my head in here as I didn't ride PBP this year, but one thing I've not seen mentioned with respect to queuing at controls. This is almost always described as a problem and one of the downsides of PBP. But I think in part it is a question of attitude. I didn't mind the queuing as it helps if you think of waiting in line as part of rest and socialising at controls. It's tempting to think of queuing as something that has to be got out of the way before you can properly relax at controls, but enjoying the buzz while you wait is far less stressful. And I say that as someone who was very much in the bulge last time.

I didn't queue.  Partly because being on the 84hr start means less crowding a lot of the time, but if there was a queue I went elsewhere.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #41 on: September 04, 2015, 10:47:07 am »
Heather was filming at controls a lot. She was also wearing her LEL Brampton controller's hat. She timed some of the till transactions, and that was the bottleneck at many controls.
We did wonder if an all-in payment system, like LEL, would solve that. But it's important to consider that the other pure Audax PBP is an all-in payment, and PBP Randonneur has always been a different beast.
A two stream system, where a card allows you to avoid the tills for extra payment might be a solution.
 

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #42 on: September 04, 2015, 10:47:28 am »
Not sure if I can poke my head in here as I didn't ride PBP this year, but one thing I've not seen mentioned with respect to queuing at controls. This is almost always described as a problem and one of the downsides of PBP. But I think in part it is a question of attitude. I didn't mind the queuing as it helps if you think of waiting in line as part of rest and socialising at controls. It's tempting to think of queuing as something that has to be got out of the way before you can properly relax at controls, but enjoying the buzz while you wait is far less stressful. And I say that as someone who was very much in the bulge last time.

Being in the bulge this time, I quite enjoyed and accepted the queues most of the time. 

The only bit I was close to a sense of humour failure was Carhaix outbound (which was proper carnage the like of which I hadn't experienced in 2011) where I queued for a long time for food.  Then had to go queue somewhere else for a long time for a coffee. 

I shouldn't have done the second queue, but equally, I was in no rush to head out as it was very cold outside that night.
Right! What's next?

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

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #43 on: September 04, 2015, 11:05:57 am »
As a first timer, the queuing was something I worried a lot about before the start. I did a lot of research about cafes and shops just off the route, as I was convinced the ones on the course would be too busy.

The reality was I needn't have bothered. I was somewhere slightly ahead of the bulge most of the way round. I saw no queues to get my brevet stamped. After controlling, I used the controls' other  facilities when it suited. And, where there was a queue or a long walk to the canteen, I carried on and found somewhere else. Brest for example seemed a long walk, so I carried on (past Landerneau that had lots of options) to a nice sit down in a marquee at Sizun, munching on food from the shop opposite.

After the first stage, getting served in cafes & shops on route wasn't really a problem. The only longish queue  we encountered was in the cafe at Ambriere les Vallees on the way back. But the cafe's in such a great spot, by the river, it was worth it.  I would second the recommendation for the creperie on route just after/before the Fougeres contol. No queues and delicious food.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #44 on: September 04, 2015, 11:06:33 am »
The thing that gets me about queues and people's reactions to them is that it's immediately obvious before you join it you will be stuck there for some time.

It only takes one control to make you realise that this is a big downside of them. So after several more there really shouldn't be any surprise that it's a fact of control life. So either join it & relax or don't.

Standing in a line huffing & puffing your way into a frenzy only makes you look and sound silly.




LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #45 on: September 04, 2015, 12:29:05 pm »
Ride there and back.

It's the best bit.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #46 on: September 04, 2015, 01:10:52 pm »
Queuing at controls wasn't an issue.   There would definitely be some efficiency issues with an all inclusive price as the paying did take a while as the cashier looked each item up individually on a price list, but it probably cost a handful of minutes overall.

What did get to me was I was twice caught in the clothing queue on the Saturday behind a rider trying to change the size of their jersey and gilet.   Clearly this is also not the issue of the person running the stand but the rider not understanding the no returns or changes policy, but firmly telling the rider to clear off rather than entering into a debate would help.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #47 on: September 04, 2015, 02:01:44 pm »
Be ready for the sting in the tail in the Rambouillet forest.  You ride over exactly the same roads going and they're easy, but the slopes on the way back, with 1200+ km in your legs, are something else.

(Actually, having done these in 2007 I was expecting them, but in 2007 they were fun.)
Tout à gauche sur le plat

Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #48 on: September 04, 2015, 02:15:30 pm »
Quote
Be ready for the sting in the tail in the Rambouillet forest.  You ride over exactly the same roads going and they're easy, but the slopes on the way back, with 1200+ km in your legs, are something else.

That reminds me: the enjoyment of a downhill on the way out was tempered by the knowledge we'd be going back up the thing on the way back. To get to the turn and have that nagging thought banished was a joy.

T42

  • Gaulois réfractaire
Re: PBP2015 - Notes to Self for 2019
« Reply #49 on: September 04, 2015, 02:18:17 pm »
^^^ In 2007 I was certain they'd picked a different route for the last leg just to throw in some nasty hills.
Tout à gauche sur le plat