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So. How is PBP different from other 1200k's?

Old 09-03-19, 09:35 PM
  #26  
gazer
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Hey there!

PBP is a completely different animal. To semi-quote another poster somewhere, PBP is a rolling party, other brevets are an adventure. Maybe a bit like RAGBRAI with stricter time limits and far longer distances.

Terrain was more difficult than our M&C 1200k and LOL 1000k last year. Headwinds maybe similar to LOL.

I'm still processing my first PBP, as it was admittedly a bit overwhelming. The shear scale of it. The unbelievable support one received by local residents along the entire route. No describing how far you were riding in what time period to shocked passers-by. Instead, those passers-by understood completely what you were up to and offered encouraging words or more. I stopped for coffee at 4am the first two nights at roadside stands and was flabbergasted by the support. The stop at Villaines-la-Juhel on the return was mind blowing.

Logistics a bit more up to the rider than M&C, but more readily available than LOL which made the combination a great preparation. Given the evening (90 hr) start and relative flexibility of where to sleep, I finished much faster than M&C. In hindsight, I could have slept more, but honestly didn't need to.

So yes, charter that boat for 2023. I'll meet you there.

Last edited by gazer; 09-03-19 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 09-06-19, 08:42 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by gazer View Post
Hey there!

PBP is a completely different animal. To semi-quote another poster somewhere, PBP is a rolling party, other brevets are an adventure. Maybe a bit like RAGBRAI with stricter time limits and far longer distances.

Terrain was more difficult than our M&C 1200k and LOL 1000k last year. Headwinds maybe similar to LOL.

I'm still processing my first PBP, as it was admittedly a bit overwhelming. The shear scale of it. The unbelievable support one received by local residents along the entire route. No describing how far you were riding in what time period to shocked passers-by. Instead, those passers-by understood completely what you were up to and offered encouraging words or more. I stopped for coffee at 4am the first two nights at roadside stands and was flabbergasted by the support. The stop at Villaines-la-Juhel on the return was mind blowing.

Logistics a bit more up to the rider than M&C, but more readily available than LOL which made the combination a great preparation. Given the evening (90 hr) start and relative flexibility of where to sleep, I finished much faster than M&C. In hindsight, I could have slept more, but honestly didn't need to.

So yes, charter that boat for 2023. I'll meet you there.
Thanks, yeah, you're kinda putting it in context for me. Both LOL and M&C had headwinds galore, in case you've forgotten! And neither one was quite flat... damn close, but but quite flat.
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Old 09-06-19, 09:56 PM
  #28  
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PBP is not an easy bike ride, everything else aside. It's continuous rolling hills, considerable weather variation, and potential headwinds both ways. Severe storms sometimes pop up. It can be quite hot, and quite cold at night.

There's a lot of potential to burn time at controls and other stops. The large number of participants, volunteers, and townspeople at controls means, even without lines, it's easy to burn time in controls. The number of roadside stands are additional opportunities to burn time. Then there are the bakeries....

On top of that, you may be dealing with jet lag, exhaustion from pre-ride sightseeing, the stress of foreign language, foreign food in your tummy, and the sheer number of people you'll be navigating around on the road.

There's always someone to ride with, which can be good or bad. Good for your mood, but often bad for your time. You may ride faster than you should, or slower than you can. You might find yourself burning time waiting for your new-found buddies at a control or fixing a flat.

The things that make PBP an absolutely wonderful experience, unlike any other bike ride, also take a hard bike ride and turn it into a harder bike ride. People who can ignore the 'sideshow' may have an easier ride, but they miss the best part.

Cheers.
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Old 09-07-19, 12:19 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
PBP is not an easy bike ride, everything else aside. It's continuous rolling hills, considerable weather variation, and potential headwinds both ways. Severe storms sometimes pop up. It can be quite hot, and quite cold at night.

There's a lot of potential to burn time at controls and other stops. The large number of participants, volunteers, and townspeople at controls means, even without lines, it's easy to burn time in controls. The number of roadside stands are additional opportunities to burn time. Then there are the bakeries....

On top of that, you may be dealing with jet lag, exhaustion from pre-ride sightseeing, the stress of foreign language, foreign food in your tummy, and the sheer number of people you'll be navigating around on the road.

There's always someone to ride with, which can be good or bad. Good for your mood, but often bad for your time. You may ride faster than you should, or slower than you can. You might find yourself burning time waiting for your new-found buddies at a control or fixing a flat.

The things that make PBP an absolutely wonderful experience, unlike any other bike ride, also take a hard bike ride and turn it into a harder bike ride. People who can ignore the 'sideshow' may have an easier ride, but they miss the best part.

Cheers.
I had to ignore the sideshow or I wouldn't have finished in time!!

Either that or work on becoming really efficient at controls.
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Old 09-07-19, 06:47 AM
  #30  
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If you are riding at a steady pace, no matter how slow, you will have wheelsuckers. I couldn't tolerate that a couple of times in 2011, this time it was better. I definitely partook of too many roadside stands, that was the best part though. The thing that is decidedly worse at PBP vs. other 1200k is the bathroom situation. Of course, they were always bad, it's just that I needed to use some busy bathrooms this time. For the most part, the controls weren't too bad. Definitely not as bad as I thought. Warm weather riders might have trouble with late August European weather, but I think Americans didn't, for the most part.
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Old 09-07-19, 11:20 AM
  #31  
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The crowds (of riders) are like nothing I’ve ever experienced; possibly that’s just because I don’t go to big grand fondo rides and the handful of big club centuries I’ve done I was just getting passed.

As a heavier rider I got very tired of having to scrub tons of speed downhill (or worse, on the start of uphills) because there were packs of riders covering the entire lane. I worked for that momentum on the preceding roller, darn it!

It was fun when people had sorted out by speed a bit and I was feeling good and finally started passing people uphill as well as down about a hundred miles in, but I really just wanted an open road.

Edit: I'll add that I'm fine with group riding -- I do do group rides here and there and have acceptable pack-riding skills, at least when I'm not exhausted, but for a group ride to be my speed I have to brake hard downhill, absolutely gun it into overdrive on the uphills, and then on the flats I'm generally not working as hard as everyone else -- which is not a sustainable way for me to ride at brevet distance.

Last edited by antimonysarah; 09-08-19 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 09-07-19, 03:13 PM
  #32  
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Participating in a mass-start event would be a good idea for anyone going to PBP. I've only done one but that experience was very helpful. I also joined a local club and learned how to ride in a group so that I am not a complete terror on the road... I found being able to join in groups along the way very helpful. I'm also a bigger rider and was glad the field spread out a bit after Villaines and on the way down the Roc'h no one managed to hang on when I tucked in. Later in the ride I was kind of surprised at how many thought stopping in the middle of the road was a good idea.

If I go next time I'm going to scour google streetview and make a list of where the village's public toilets are, everyone that I stopped at was empty (one did have a rider sleeping on a bench in there) but using those means bringing your own TP, and they often didn't have toilet seats so they were cold on the bum. But clean and empty trumped anything else for me. Hopefully the other controls do like Villaines and get a couple dozen outhouses rented.
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Old 09-08-19, 06:14 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
If you are riding at a steady pace, no matter how slow, you will have wheelsuckers. I couldn't tolerate that a couple of times in 2011, this time it was better.
Excuse the short digression from the subject of the thread, but I have never understood what problem people have with others drafting them. OK, I get the part that you don't want some guy to crash into the back of your bike when you suddenly slow down or stop because they're too close and careless, but "wheelsucker" makes it sounds like they're making you work harder to make their ride easier, which is not true. It's NOT a zero sum game: Their gain is not your loss, you both gain from drafting.

Anyone drafting you at a reasonably close distance reduces your air resistance because their frontal air pressure buildup counteracts the low pressure area behind you that tries to suck you back when no one is following you. So whether you appreciate it or not, they are in effect pushing you, even though that it effect is smaller than the benefit they gain from drafting behind you. Having a "wheelsucker" behind you makes it easier to maintain your given speed, not more difficult.
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Old 09-08-19, 09:41 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by joewein View Post
Excuse the short digression from the subject of the thread, but I have never understood what problem people have with others drafting them. OK, I get the part that you don't want some guy to crash into the back of your bike when you suddenly slow down or stop because they're too close and careless, but "wheelsucker" makes it sounds like they're making you work harder to make their ride easier, which is not true. It's NOT a zero sum game: Their gain is not your loss, you both gain from drafting.

Anyone drafting you at a reasonably close distance reduces your air resistance because their frontal air pressure buildup counteracts the low pressure area behind you that tries to suck you back when no one is following you. So whether you appreciate it or not, they are in effect pushing you, even though that it effect is smaller than the benefit they gain from drafting behind you. Having a "wheelsucker" behind you makes it easier to maintain your given speed, not more difficult.
Besides riding at a steady pace I'm also 6'6" tall which makes me an ideal target for wheelsuckers. I understand the logic behind Joewein's answer but it's more of a social thing; people taking advantage of you without asking just get on your nerves. On the third night a Canadian guy wanted to ride behind and politely asked; we ended up riding the whole night together between Loudéac and Fougères and appreciating each other's company. That's different from all the anonymous people you suck up behind you without them asking or taking turns.
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Old 09-08-19, 10:04 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by joewein View Post
Excuse the short digression from the subject of the thread, but I have never understood what problem people have with others drafting them. OK, I get the part that you don't want some guy to crash into the back of your bike when you suddenly slow down or stop because they're too close and careless, but "wheelsucker" makes it sounds like they're making you work harder to make their ride easier, which is not true. It's NOT a zero sum game: Their gain is not your loss, you both gain from drafting.

Anyone drafting you at a reasonably close distance reduces your air resistance because their frontal air pressure buildup counteracts the low pressure area behind you that tries to suck you back when no one is following you. So whether you appreciate it or not, they are in effect pushing you, even though that it effect is smaller than the benefit they gain from drafting behind you. Having a "wheelsucker" behind you makes it easier to maintain your given speed, not more difficult.
Being on the front of a draft is a position of responsibility. Particularly if I'm tired on a long brevet, I don't necessarily want the additional burden of riding like I should when someone's on my wheel, communicating my intentions, making decisions based on space needed for two bikes rather than one. If I choose to ignore the unwanted drafter, we're creating a road hazard for everyone around.

If it's dark, the shadow from the wheelsucker's light could play havoc with my vision. If there's traffic from behind, they may be blocking my vision of the road.

On a long enough brevet, I won't even draft with friends unless there's a strong headwind; it just isn't worth the additional stress over the long period of time. On fleche teams I've been on, everyone seems to come to an agreement after enough hours that we're going to space 20+ feet apart, particularly through the depths of the night.
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Old 09-08-19, 12:24 PM
  #36  
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I think my objection to drafting is more along the lines of "misery doesn't like company." If I am not riding that well, I wonder how screwed up the person drafting me is. And I have always suspected that the answer is that they are pretty screwed up. And I worry they are going to wreck me. The truth is that a lot of randonneurs suck at group riding. And I don't do it very much, so it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable when someone forces it on me. If I chose to ride in a group, that's totally different. I think this would be more evident if someone has ridden PBP. There are so many zombie riders out there. It can be a little scary.

Although in 2011, I was just plain irritable for much of the ride. There was one guy that was drafting me after Fougeres in 2011 that probably would have worked with me, but I was riding really strongly and just dropped him. It didn't hurt that we had a strong tailwind and I didn't need him much. I feel a little bad about that. In 2011, my lighting was a lot better than what many other people had. I had people following me down hills because of that. I didn't really mind that too much.

I resolved not to be irritable this time, and it worked. For the most part anyway.
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