For those of you who have never heard of the Paris-Brest-Paris, there’s a lot of history behind this long distance event to catch up on so here goes with trying to compress it all into one bite-size time line…
Paris – Brest – Paris was a race for professional cyclists in its early years, but is now intended to be a non-competitive endurance challenge. It was first raced in 1891 and the successful race inspired the development of the Tour de France, which started shortly after in 1903.
It ran as a professional event every ten years until 1951 (WW2 forced the 1941 race to be held in 1948). 1931 saw the addition of a “Randonneurs” (touring) class which then continued every five years up until 1971 where it was changed to every four years as it stands now. And breathe!
With more and more Randonneurs riding, less professionals and less media coverage the event was eventually removed from the professional calendar after 1961, although to this day the event still attracts highly competitive riders.
Paris – Brest – Paris is all about endurance, taking in the sights and I can imagine battling with saddle sore. Training is important but everyone is a winner! Before even entering, riders must complete four timed Brevets (smaller qualifying rides). The brevets must be ridden in the same calendar year as the Paris – Brest – Paris and the following must be achieved:
200 KM should be completed in 13hours 30mins
300 KM should be completed in 20hours
400 KM in 27hours
And 600 KM in 40hours
Paris – Brest – Paris itself is 1200km which must be completed in 90 hours, you can understand why there is a need for qualifying brevets. These are non-stop, unsupported events where the clock doesn’t stop, the same goes for the actual Paris – Brest – Paris, where many riders sleep as little as possible during the event, sometimes catching a few minutes of sleep by the side of the road before continuing.
So are you keen or should I say Brave enough to get involved? The next Paris – Brest – Paris will start on 20th August, 2007 and qualifying rides will be organized by British based French club Audax Club Parisien (ACP). The club have a range of events on the calendar that a marked as qualifying events the time frames are as follows:
200km by April 22
300 from April 7 to May 20
400 from April 28 to June 3
600 from May 17 to June 19
The above dates are specific to the UK – it is possible to substitute one or more qualifying RM events from other countries, but in this case the dates may vary.
For More Information:
Check out Audax UK at www.audax.uk.net