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  1. #1
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    help preparing for PBP?

    hey currently the hardest ride i have done is the alpine classic (210km) with the longest being around the bay in a day (250km)

    i want to do the Paris Brest when im 20, would this be asking too much?

    i know little about the event currently, except that you have to do events to qualify

    this may sound stupid, but how far is it nowadays, i know it used to be 1200km, and how much time do you have?

    What are people's equipment set-ups?

    How much training did you do leading up to the event?

    How hard was it?

    any information would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    PBP is approximately 1200 Km. You will have 90 hours from the time you start to the time you must finish. The clock never stops running.

    To qualify, you must ride a sanctioned 200, 300, 400, and 600Km brevet within the prescribed time limits in 2011.

    People do it on virtually any kind of bike that you can imagine, but standard road bikes seem to be most common. There are endless arguments on what is the best bike, but it's pretty universally accepted that comfort is more important than speed.

    Most people do many long distance rides 200K+ in the year or two leading up to the event. Some fortunate few do little more than the qualifying events. Others train for years. A steady progression of long rides should be done leading up to the event. Multiple 600K rides would be good and even a 1000K if you can swing it. Longer rides become important so you can learn to deal with sleep deprivation and riding long miles on successive days. The biggest challenge is not physical. It's mental.

    It's very hard. At 20 years old, it is likely that it would be much harder than anything you have ever done.

    Google "paris brest paris" or go to rusa.org for lots of information.

    Good luck to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomoscotto View Post
    hey currently the hardest ride i have done is the alpine classic (210km) with the longest being around the bay in a day (250km)

    i want to do the Paris Brest when im 20, would this be asking too much?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=%22yo...is+brest+paris

    i know little about the event currently, except that you have to do events to qualify

    this may sound stupid, but how far is it nowadays, i know it used to be 1200km, and how much time do you have?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=paris+brest+paris

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris-Brest-Paris

    http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/pbp/main.html (in particular is rather good)

    What are people's equipment set-ups?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=paris...uipment+advice

    How much training did you do leading up to the event?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=paris...raining+advice

    How hard was it?
    http://www.google.com/search?q=paris+brest+paris+brutal

    http://www.google.com/search?q=paris...22very+easy%22

    any information would be greatly appreciated
    one tip is that randonneuring is largely about being self-sufficient.


  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Look up the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association site for tips on how to prepare for long rides like the PBP.

    You know the next one is in 2011, right?

    Still 1200 kms. Still 90 hours, including all breaks.

    The equipment varies from person to person ... it's all something you'll discover as you increase your distance.

    Lots of cycling.

    The first one I did in 2003 was the hardest ride I'd ever done to that point (and I'd done the RM1200 before). The second one I attempted in 2007 was harder ... and I'd done two other 1200Ks in between.

  5. #5
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    My goal is to also do PBP 2011. I've started training this spring, and my max distance is currently 71 miles (114 km). Because Randonneuring is mostly self-sufficiency, I've been taking everything that I would need for a brevet with me on every ride I take. This way, I'll know what everything is when I need it. This includes rain gear (jacket and helmet cover), chain tool, spare tubes, multi tool, patch kit, CO2 inflator (which is about to get tossed because the one time I used it, it didn't even get me to 60 psi) and 5 hours worth of water (5 x24ounce bottles, this is more of a courtesy to businesses). I've used every tool on my bike for one thing or another and can fix anything, except for a broken spoke.


    I'm expecting for PBP to be the toughest thing for me to have done to date, and I'm slowly getting my self ready for it. 1200 km is 745.7 miles with a 90 hour cut off. Maintaining an average ride speed of 10 mph will allow somebody to finish in 74.56 hours in the saddle and will give you about 15 hours for breaks and sleep breaks. My plan is to average 13mph so I can have 57.4 hours in the saddle and will give me about 32 hours for breaks. I'm currently averaging 16 mph ride times for 100 km (62.2 miles), so I should be able to maintain close to 13 mph average during PBP.

    Good luck, and hope to see you there.

    flyingcadet
    Have a safe ride and a happy life.

  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    5 hours worth of water as a courtesy to businesses??? I don't understand. Buy a Coke if you feel guilty filling your bottles from a tap. Ditch the extra water.

    BTW, get a fiberfix kevlar spoke and you'll be able to fix a broken spoke without removing the cassette.

  7. #7
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    You're in Australia and if you have done the Alpine Classic, you already have been a member of Audax Australia. All the qualifying events in Australia are organised by Audax Australia. Go to the AA website at http://audax.org.au/public/ and you will find plenty of information there, including stuff about PBP (not in great detail, mind).

    As you have done Around the Bay, you also will presumably be a resident of Victoria -- and the Victorian region is one of the most active randonneuring regions in the world. Get a hold of Ryan Bath (secretary) or Merryn Rowland (Vic region rides co-ordinator) and invite yourself along to a Victorian Region club night. The AA website should have details of when and where on it. IF not, PM me.

    If you become/are a member of AA, you also will receive the quarterly newsletter Checkpoint. The AA website has some back-copies available in pdf format and they contain a heap pf information that will help you in your journey to Paris over the next 3-1/2 years.

    Around 120 Australians went to PBP last year, and you will meet quite a few of them on Victorian rides. Keep an eye out for people such as Barry Moore (national vice-president of AA), Peter Moore (Barry's brother and a rider who has completed four or five PBPs and runs Abbotsford Cycles under Richmond Railway Station -- call in and see him), Leigh Paterson, Kathy Temby, Russell Hamilton, Russell Fremantle, Martin Haynes, Stephen Rowlands, and others.

    Plus, if you want to try out a 1200 before PBP, there is no better an event than the Great Southern Randonnee over 1200 km later this year, starting in Anglesea and traversing a route that includes the Great Ocean Road, and into the Grampian Mountains.

    Long distance riding does require a certain degree of maturity in outlook and judgment that starts right at the planning stage. That maturity is not dependent on age.

    An other regular poster here, LWaB, is a real veteran of PBP and has done it in various deliberately tougher ways than you would imagine. He has an intimate knowledge of its history, and likely can tell you of youngsters from England who have done the event (one of them a girl -- so if she can do it, so can you ).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
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    Fulfilling the stereotype...

    There are always several 18 year old riders at PBP, the minimum age allowed. The youngest Brit last year had his 19th birthday during the event and is a great bloke. In 2003, the youngest British girl rode less than 2000 km between January and the start of PBP (it takes 1500 km to qualify). The youngest rider in '99 was Vicki Brown, celebrating her 18th birthday a week before the start. At 20 you'll be fine, provided you are prepared for the adventure.

    Peter Moore is one of 2 Aussies to have completed 5 PBPs. 6 Americans and 2 Canadians have completed 6. 2 Brits have ridden 7, a Spaniard has done 9 and 5 Frenchmen have finished 10. Everyone I've spoken to said it doesn't get any easier. Almost certainly, 6 out of 7 'newbies' will finish the next PBP, as will 6 out of 7 'old hands'.

    There is plenty of useful information already posted but here are some 'odds and sods'. The traditional wisdom is 'if you can qualify, you can finish PBP' but riding an additional Super Randonneur series the previous year seems to calm the nerves while qualifying. Determination is the major part of riding brevets but training certainly helps.
    Last edited by LWaB; 03-27-08 at 03:29 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Madsnail's Avatar
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    tomoscotto, like spokenword is saying, you can find a lot of info online just using search engines and reading forums.

    I'm also in my 20s and want to do PBP in 2011. Just a few months ago I didn't really know that people were cycling such long distances. I had heard of Paris-Bordeaux and PBP but somehow I thought only pros were doing this sort of thing.

    I've been cycling for years, but I don't know many other cyclists and the ones I know just ride around 100 km. So maybe that's why I never went further myself.

    But a few months ago I had a revelation when reading Dave McLoughlin's journal on crazyguyonabike. This guy is touring from Ireland to South Africa, but when he was in France he cycled 500 km in about a day and a night, just taking short breaks. I asked myself: do people really do that?, I started reading forums, PBP reports, various blogs, visiting Audax club sites and that's basically how I discovered about long distance cycling.

    As I said, I've read a lot of things online, and it's good to have some advice on some dos and don'ts, but I think that I will figure things out mostly by training a lot.
    I'll just use my current bike, a steel racing bike that was bought from a supermarket in France over 10 years ago for about 300 euros. I'll start by doing a few centuries on that and see what I need to change from that experience.

  10. #10
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
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    I just want to add the best advice I heard about riding PBP (I got it from Rowan before the start in Paris): don't forget to HAVE FUN!!

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    tomoscotto -- just to provide a less smart-alecky response: the advice that I've given to friends who've expressed interest in PBP or randonneuring is to take things one ride at a time. It's always good to have PBP as an overarching goal and four years is a lot of time to prepare, but it's easy to burn out if you go really hard in the first couple of years and lose your enthusiasm by the time 2011 rolls around.

    So, yeah, if you want to get into randonneuring, find a 200k brevet and train up to ride that. If you like it, sign up for a 300k. Think about the equipment that you used in a 200k and about what you might want to change for your 300k. Think about how your ate in your 200k and how you felt and whether that should mean changing your diet in the 300k or if you ought to stick with what works. If you like the 300k, sign up for a 400k.

    When you complete the 600, then start thinking of a 1200 like PBP. Every ride trains you for the next longest one. Treat the shorter brevets as events in and of themselves and you'll find that each one has lessons that they can teach you.

    Enjoy the journey even if your eye is on the destination.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingcadet View Post
    5 hours worth of water (5 x24ounce bottles, this is more of a courtesy to businesses).
    All you need are 2 bottles. Buy your water from the businesses when you need to fill those. I rarely get tap water from anywhere, you just never know where that water has been. Ick.

  13. #13
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    All you need are 2 bottles. Buy your water from the businesses when you need to fill those. I rarely get tap water from anywhere, you just never know where that water has been. Ick.
    I'm a poor college student that pinches pennies. If I can provide it to myself for free, then I'm not going to bother buying it, in this case water. Now, the courtesy to businesses is that I feel it is rude to ask for free water without buying anything. I'm not a big soda drinker, so I'm not willing to buy a coke or something to make myself feel better. Besides, I look at it like this. I am utterly self sufficient for 5 hours with my set up. This means that I do not have to worry about refilling or buying more. I can just keep going. If my two bottles are empty, I stop and swap 'em out, less than a minute. How can I make this better? I have a 3 liter camelback bladder waiting for the dog days of summer....I'm crazier than most realize

    I suffer more from aerodynamics (Panniers) than from added weight, so I don't keep worry about the weight.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingcadet View Post
    I'm a poor college student that pinches pennies. If I can provide it to myself for free, then I'm not going to bother buying it, in this case water.
    According to analytic cycling, the 8 pounds of water that you are carrying (5 x 24 oz. bottles ~ 1 gallon of water ~ 8.33 lbs.) will slow you down such that you will require an extra 1.5 hours to complete a 200k brevet (assuming 20 lb. bike and 150 lb. rider)

    One gallon of water (your 120 fluid ounces) weighs about 8.33 pounds on your bike and costs about $1.30 in the States. Assuming you need to consume 250 calories per hour of riding and you are feeding yourself on fig newtons,you will need to spend an additional $1.00 on food (assuming 4 fig newtons @ $.25 ea) and probably another $0.25 cents in additional water.

    So, you're basically adding an extra 90 minutes to your ride to save five cents.

    That's what we call pennywise and pound foolish.

  15. #15
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spokenword View Post
    So, you're basically adding an extra 90 minutes to your ride to save five cents.
    This breakdown is as good as the magazine review of new cranksets where the difference between lightest and heaviest was something like 20g, which they said is about the same as taking off your sunglasses.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member flyingcadet's Avatar
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    I'm sorry, but I'm not seeing your benefit. If I were to buy a gallon of water for $1.33, I would have to break it up into about 5 24ounce bottles anyway, and then still transport it. To do what you are suggesting, I would have to buy a 24 ounce bottle of water every time I run out of water. on a 5 hour ride, I will have to buy 3 bottles of water at $1 each (again, assuming I start off with 2 bottles that I have filled myself). Using you cost estimate for fig netwons (I use cliffs, which are about the same $-wise), fueling myself for the extra 90 minutes is worth it. Because I would be saving $3 dollars by not getting water, but I'd still spend a dollar fueling myself, so I would have a net savings of $2 dollars. That is a lot more than 5 cents.

    I would have to say that you argument for weight savings appears to be dead on, but your argument for money savings was a little off. I don't know about where you are from, but here, it may cost $1.33 per gallon, but once the distributors break it up into 24 ounce bottles, they crank the price up to about $1 to a $1.50 per bottle. You're paying for the convenience of the smaller bottle.

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  17. #17
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    All you need are 2 bottles. Buy your water from the businesses when you need to fill those. I rarely get tap water from anywhere, you just never know where that water has been. Ick.
    In the United States, tap water is regularly analyzed to ensure it's safety. There are strict standards for impurities. Bottled water is much less regulated, though fortunately, most companies draw their supply from municiple water supplies and simply run it though some filters and perhaps add a few minerals to adjust the taste.

    There are certainly places in the world where tap water is not guaranteed safe to drink but I didn't realize that Canada was one of them. I'm really surprised but I'll keep it in mind should I come up there.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom View Post
    In the United States, tap water is regularly analyzed to ensure it's safety. There are strict standards for impurities. Bottled water is much less regulated, though fortunately, most companies draw their supply from municiple water supplies and simply run it though some filters and perhaps add a few minerals to adjust the taste.

    There are certainly places in the world where tap water is not guaranteed safe to drink but I didn't realize that Canada was one of them. I'm really surprised but I'll keep it in mind should I come up there.
    In Canada, especially if the water is well water which it often is in the small towns we cycle through, it can be contaminated with e-coli. E-coli in the well water killed a bunch of people in a small town in Ontario a few years ago. Throughout the prairies, throughout the summer, various small towns will have their water tested, and will then issue "boil water" bans, if the e-coli content isn't too bad ... or "bottled water" bans if the e-coli content is really high.

    In addition to that, spring run-off can give water the flavor and color of a muddy stream ... it's actually quite disgusting, and again, many communities will recommend boiling the water or buying bottled water ... not so much because we're going to get sick or die from it, but because the water looks and tastes horrible. (For about 2 months in the spring here in Red Deer, you want to buy bottled water for that reason)

    And in addition to that, in some parts of the prairies, they get their water from lakes. In the heat of the summer, these lakes can develop a high infestation of algea ... which gives water a very swampy taste, and again the color of a muddy stream. During these times towns and cities will issue boil water bans, and will also recommend buying bottled water. If Winnipeg, for example, gets hot in the summer (which it does 5 summers out of 6) they'll have a problem with algea in the water for a few weeks.

    As a cyclist cycling through some small community out in the middle of nowhere, you don't know what the water situation in that community is. Occasionally, if the situation is really, really dangerous, they might post signs on the highways as you go into the community, and also in restaurants and washrooms, etc., but they don't always do that ... you can't count on being informed. And if it's just a matter of the water tasting foul, with a recommendation that it be boiled, there won't be signs. If you talk to the waitress in a restaurant or the person behind the counter in the convenience store or grocery story, they might tell you what the situation is ... or it might slip their minds.

    In my early days of Randonneuring, I used to just fill up anywhere, and if you've got an opaque bottle and the washroom is a bit dim, you don't necessarily see that the water going into the bottle is the color of weak tea. It's later, down the road, when you take a swig of it that you discover you've got sludge water there.

    It happened to me on the RM1200 ... I wasn't listening to the radio (until I finished the ride) and didn't hear that they were having water issues in Kamloops (so it doesn't always happen on the prairies, sometimes it happens in the mountains too). I filled my bottles in the motel, and put them in the fridge to chill. At 10 pm, we started the ride, and a short while later I took a drink ..... YECH!! I made it to the first control drinking the bottle I had my gatorade in because that one tasted marginally better (because of the flavoring) ... and I refilled that one at the first control, and the taste got only slightly better. When daylight came, I emptied out my water bottle (the one that did not have gatorade in it) ... and you couldn't have told the difference between it and the gatorade bottle ... the water that came out of that bottle was ORANGE, with sediment in the bottom! I developed a sore throat early on in that ride, and I suspect the water was part of the cause.

    On other occasions, it is really obvious ... you walk into the washroom, and you know the water is bad ... you can smell it.

    Oh, and Canada isn't the only place ... Rowan and I stopped at a little park in a small town in Australia. There were signs up about not drinking the water, and when we went in the toilet, it was obvious why not ... the water was BLACK. Literally BLACK. It was bore water (well water). Great for flushing toilets ... not good for anything else.

    And so ... I buy my water.

  19. #19
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    here's a great article/survey about 2007 PBP equipment choices: http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/BQPBPEquipsurvey.pdf

    economics aside, i don't see an issue with carrying your own water, even five bottles. sure it may slow the rider down a bit, but if they can still make it in time, no problem. some bikes have three bottle-cages anyway, so an extra two bottles isn't all that crazy. no to mention that the weight obviously gets smaller & smaller with each sip.

    having said that, on our local brevets it is considered a courtesy to buy something at a checkpoint when it's just a general-store and the cashier is signing brevet cards. they won't be as enthusiastic about volunteering unless the riders are customers as well. so buy some gum at least!

    best of luck training! hopefully i'll be at the starting line for the 2011 PBP too.
    pro-meter: lol

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  20. #20
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    flyingcadet -
    In the case of potentially contaminated water, for someone that doesn't want to continuously drop money on bottled water, you could save the weight of carrying 5 litres of water by carrying a mini-filter. It's not as time-efficient as a quick pit stop to buy a litre of water, or swap out empty bottles for full, but in the long run it's more cost effective. An even quicker option is a filter-top bottle with replaceable cartridges.
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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    what about those pills that make water drinkable? i used these once when camping (moldy water from a lake/pond), they made it taste ok and we didn't get sick.

    http://saratogatradingcompany.com/po...n_tablets.html
    pro-meter: lol

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Madsnail's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    here's a great article/survey about 2007 PBP equipment choices: http://www.vintagebicyclepress.com/BQPBPEquipsurvey.pdf
    I think I recognize spokenword's wonderful Club Racer on page 23 of this report.
    It's important to note that the survey was of RUSA riders only, I'm sure the results would be a bit different if the survey had included riders from other countries.

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madsnail View Post
    I think I recognize spokenword's wonderful Club Racer on page 23 of this report.
    It's important to note that the survey was of RUSA riders only, I'm sure the results would be a bit different if the survey had included riders from other countries.
    Yes ... especially if they had included the British!

  24. #24
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    what about those pills that make water drinkable? i used these once when camping (moldy water from a lake/pond), they made it taste ok and we didn't get sick.

    http://saratogatradingcompany.com/po...n_tablets.html
    The problem with using chemical purifiers (peroxides, hypochlorites, iodine and the new oxidizer saline systems) is that you have to wait between 90 and 240 minutes before you can drink your water. Mechanical filtration, while it won't catch viral contaminants (which are fairly uncommon), is ready immediately and in the case of brackish or tannic water it will remove sedimentary particulates that chemical purifiers leave behind.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    The problem with using chemical purifiers (peroxides, hypochlorites, iodine and the new oxidizer saline systems) is that you have to wait between 90 and 240 minutes before you can drink your water. Mechanical filtration, while it won't catch viral contaminants (which are fairly uncommon), is ready immediately and in the case of brackish or tannic water it will remove sedimentary particulates that chemical purifiers leave behind.
    good point!

    Quote Originally Posted by Madsnail View Post
    It's important to note that the survey was of RUSA riders only, I'm sure the results would be a bit different if the survey had included riders from other countries.
    i don't doubt that.. what major differences do you think we'd see with non-RUSA randos? less carbon fiber perhaps?
    pro-meter: lol

    blog

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