Paris-Brest-Paris pain

PBP stage 15, Dreux - Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines

 The first finishers in the 2011 edition of Paris-Brest-Paris are finishing the  event even as I write, having taken some 44 hours to cover the 1200km course. It’s a fair old way, about 750 miles in old money, and takes most entrants more like the 90 hours maximum permitted – assuming they started in the 90 hour group. Other time limits are 80 hours  for the so-called vedettes and 84 hours for the randonneurs, who start on the morning after the other two groups and who traditionally are less likely to pack.

I rode P-B-P once, back in 1999, and have considered riding again on each of the subsequent runnings, which take place every four years, except the 2003 version, when the memory of the pain inflicted by my generally comfy saddle was still too fresh.

This year, there was talk of young DA having a crack, only the prospect of signing up for something not due to happen for several months putting him off. Me? I cast my mind back 12 years and remembered the saddle. Maybe in four years’s time I’ll have forgotten. But probably not.

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