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Thread: Pbp '15

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    Pbp '15

    Just over a year left till PBP '15, and I'm curious what forum members can suggest re: preparation for the event.

    I understand that I'll need to do a full rando series up to 1000k in 2015 to qualify. I'm technically a member of RUSA but I've been slacking off and my rando resume is seriously lacking. I did however complete 3 double centuries in '13 and 2 so far in '14, the fastest one (last weekend) just under 14 hours. The longest brevet in the schedule of our local rando chapter is 400k in October, I'll try to make it, others are shorter.

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    You don't need a 1000 to qualify for PBP, just 200, 300, 400 and 600 brevets next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    Just over a year left till PBP '15, and I'm curious what forum members can suggest re: preparation for the event.

    I understand that I'll need to do a full rando series up to 1000k in 2015 to qualify. I'm technically a member of RUSA but I've been slacking off and my rando resume is seriously lacking. I did however complete 3 double centuries in '13 and 2 so far in '14, the fastest one (last weekend) just under 14 hours. The longest brevet in the schedule of our local rando chapter is 400k in October, I'll try to make it, others are shorter.
    If you haven't ridden a 1000 or 1200 before, then I would set my sights on riding a 1000km this year. What you learn on that ride will go a long way toward teaching you what you need to know to succeed at PBP and at giving you the confidence that you can do it. I think that planning to train for PBP as your first really long event is rolling dice that are not stacked in your favor. It can be done, but you're starting out behind the 8 ball. To mix metaphors.

    To me, the toughest thing about PBP is the controls. There are often lines everywhere you need to go, so it's easy to spend half an hour at a control just standing in line to check in, buy food, and go to the bathroom. Then you got to eat your food, get water, etc. So ... if you can carry and eat food that'll make it so you only need to get food at every other control, that's a big help. Stop five miles before the control and duck into the woods, it's faster than finding and waiting in line for the bathroom. Think through what you need to do as you're coming up to the control. E.g. don't go through the cafeteria line and remember you need to fill your water bottles, so after you eat you have to walk five minutes back to your bike, get the bottles, then five minutes back to the cafeteria, fill them, then five minutes back to the bike. Training yourself to be fast in controls on a US 1000km or 1200km will be a big help, here.

    Plus, riding a US 1000km or 1200km will help you learn what kind of sleep you need and in what pattern. For me, fifteen minute naps by the wayside and an hour and a half nap in an ATM alcove work just fine. I do need it to add up to about three hours out of every 24. For others, they need a solid chunk of sleep like 3 hours at at time to do them any good and a fifteen minute stop by the side of the road where they fail to take a nap is just time wasted.

    Nick

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    You may want to investigate pre-qualifying by doing the required BRM events this year, haven't taken too much interest in PBP, as I don't intent to enter, but this has been mention by several riders on Audax events this year

    A few links may be of interest Paris-Brest-Paris 2015 So, you?re thinking about Paris Brest Paris 2015 then? | Audax and long distance cycling

    Having spoken to riders who did the last PBP, what Nick #thebulls says about controls is exactly what they say, you can loose a lot of time at controls, so eat/sleep out on the road if possible is what I've been told.

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    Agree with Nick #thebulls , focus on getting thru the controls. The fact that you can do a double century in 14 hours means you can maintain a 25 kmh average over a distance. Just remember though, that every two minutes you spend stopped at a control reduces your average speed by about one kmh.

    The advantage of being able to cruise at 25 kmh is that you can adopt the 84-hour strategy, riding mostly in daylight and actually getting some sleep each night. In 2011, I started with the 84-hour group at 5 am on Monday morning, rather than with the 80- or 90-hour groups that had started the previous afternoon/evening. By the time this group gets to the controles, the lineups have largely vanished, so it's not too difficult to reduce your downtime. If you can go 400+ km the first day (at 25 kmh, this should mean you can stop at around 10-11 pm), you will reach a controle where the closing time is 8:30 am, much more than enough time to get five hours sleep and be ready to start at 5 am the next morning. Following this strategy, you should be able to finish by the evening of the third day, around 65 hours (I finished in just under that).

    I think riding in the daylight is a good way to do PBP the first time. You actually get to see the French countryside and to enjoy the ride. Once you've seen how it works, you can come back four years later and start with the 80-hour group, ride thru the first night and all of Monday's daylight hours, and maybe go for a time.

    The way the top fast riders do PBP, they have a support crew that meets them at the controles (on-the-road support is against the rules). One guy grabs the bike and points to where the cards get stamped, then replaces the bottles on the bike. The other guy refills the rider's jersey pockets with food and points to where the restrooms are. The rider runs to get his card stamped, runs back to the bike, hops on, and is gone. The support crew then has to get back on the autoroute and navigate to the next controle to repeat the process. Totally insane.

    Luis

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    if you haven't ridden a full series, I question the notion of doing PBP next year. Having said that, plenty of people have only ridden the qualifying series and PBP and never done another rando event. So it's not unheard-of, just inadvisable. I had never ridden anything longer than a 600k before PBP, I regret that now. It would have been so much easier if I had the experience.

    You have to get used to the idea of getting up after not enough sleep and riding. Riding a 400k this year should be the minimum. By this time in 2010, ACP had announced preregistration limits, but I haven't seen anything like that yet. Of course, last time they accepted everyone's application.

    I think the hardest part for me was figuring out when the controles would close. They start you at random times, so you don't actually know the close times until you are on the road. i intend to have some sort of method to easily calculate them, maybe an app on my phone. I would got behind on sleep and then I really couldn't figure out when the controle was supposed to close because I was too addled. So that compounded my sleep problems to the point that I was too sleep-deprived to ride. I slept for 6 hours over the last 100 miles and almost dnf'ed as a result.

    I think the ride itself is easier than almost any of the U.S. 1200's. You should be able to get plenty of sleep. But making good scheduling decisions when mildly sleep-deprived is something you have to learn. Nothing better than sitting in a roadside cafe on a warm August afternoon, but you really have to get going.

    I like the idea of a morning start. I loved the traditional start, but I had no experience with it and it's really slow to ride at night. So that gets you off on the wrong foot. And the lines are long and sometimes the food is gone by the time you get there. I have ridden a 1200 in 85 hours, so it should be doable, I am still trying to decide.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 06-03-14 at 10:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebulls View Post
    If you haven't ridden a 1000 or 1200 before, then I would set my sights on riding a 1000km this year. What you learn on that ride will go a long way toward teaching you what you need to know to succeed at PBP and at giving you the confidence that you can do it. I think that planning to train for PBP as your first really long event is rolling dice that are not stacked in your favor. It can be done, but you're starting out behind the 8 ball. To mix metaphors.
    +1

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    In my previous post, I erroneously said there was no preregistration. According to the website, the preregistration scheme is the same as last time, just that there doesn't seem to be a country-by-country quota. Paris-Brest-Paris 2015
    I suspect that anyone that wants to go will end up going, but who knows?
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

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    ACP thinks that everybody who qualifies will be able to ride, regardless of pre-qualification. I agree with them.

    Doing a 1000 this year might be nice for your confidence. Keep in mind that the results show that 1st-time PBPers have a slightly better finish rate than recidivists, so doing a 1000 probably won't make much actual difference to whether you finish PBP, only to whether you do it comfortably.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    ...I think the hardest part for me was figuring out when the controles would close. They start you at random times, so you don't actually know the close times until you are on the road. i intend to have some sort of method to easily calculate them, maybe an app on my phone. ...
    Yeah, I had big problems with this in 2007. So in 2011, I made a set of cheat-sheets printed on cardstock paper that had all of the controls and their closing times. I had it set up so that I had one cheat-sheet for each departure time in fifteen minute intervals between 6pm and 11pm. So once I got started, I picked the cheat sheet that corresponded most closely to my actual departure time and then threw the rest away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LWaB View Post
    ACP thinks that everybody who qualifies will be able to ride, regardless of pre-qualification. I agree with them.
    that's what happened last time. Since they have allowed other 1200k's in the PBP year, there isn't as much impetus for people to go to PBP. That one factor alone may keep the field size down.
    Quote Originally Posted by LWaB View Post
    Doing a 1000 this year might be nice for your confidence. Keep in mind that the results show that 1st-time PBPers have a slightly better finish rate than recidivists, so doing a 1000 probably won't make much actual difference to whether you finish PBP, only to whether you do it comfortably.
    if anciens have a lower finish rate, it's probably because they've done it before and don't feel the need to prove that they can in the face of difficulties. A lot of the beginners figure they don't want to have to come back.

    My motivation for going back is that I would like to enjoy it, as opposed to last time when I was hating myself most of the time. Between Mortagne-au-Perche and Dreux, I swore many times that I would never do a 1200 again, anyone that did a 1200 was nuts, and so on. Then I took a nap on the outskirts of Dreux, ate a big meal at the controle, and had a really nice hard ride to St Quentin. I was hammering along and one of the motorcycle marshals pulled up next to me and said, "bravo" -- made my day. The whole experience of the crowds of spectators, the kids with their hands out to touch riders like it was the TdF was a lot of fun.
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    if anciens have a lower finish rate, it's probably because they've done it before and don't feel the need to prove that they can in the face of difficulties. A lot of the beginners figure they don't want to have to come back.
    I think this described me quite well. The first time was my first-ever trip overseas, and I was determined to finish. The second time, there were issues with speed and the weather, and I didn't have much difficulty in calling an end around 400km. However, we also weren't in France just to do PBP... it was part of a broader bike touring trip.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    You are both missing the point that having experience of having finished a 1200km brevet does not noticeably increase the chance that you will finish another 1200km brevet. If you want to ride a 1000km brevet before PBP, please do so but it won't significantly increase your chances of finishing PBP.

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    I think I agreed with you. I've seen experienced people DNF 200k rides because it wasn't worth it to them. The OP looks like he is fast enough to be successful with minimal preparation. If you're fast, ride mostly during the day, it's a pretty easy ride. I still think that it's a good idea to have a decent idea what you are in for. If you aren't that fast, it really makes more sense to ride a domestic 1200 and internalize the processes and rules a lot better before you head to France. Just going overseas and riding is a big strike against most of us.

    People DNF 1200's for all sorts of reasons. Very few people have so much experience riding 1200's that it's a walk in the park for them. I was looking at the individual dnf's from 2011, and some of them are simply inexplicable to me. I know one guy that dropped out at Brest with so much time remaining that he could have stayed there an entire day, recovered, and ridden back and been fine. A lot of the really fast guys drop out when they realize they aren't going to be in the top 100 finishers. I wanted to do it in Charley Miller time, but I can't see how that's going to happen given my lack of riding this year. Dunno.
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

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