Monthly Archives: August 2011

My PBP 2011 Photos

Hard to believe that last week at this time I was still riding my bike through the French countryside on Paris Brest Paris. Where does the time go, ha!

Finally, after a canceled flight to Dulles that required a re-route and a mighty drive from Boston (in a tropical storm, no less) I have had a chance to get my photos of the 2011 Paris Brest Paris up on flickr.

More posts about the ride itself are in the works, but in the meantime I hope you will enjoy a vicarious visual journey of this amazing ride. Just click on the photo to be taken to the corresponding set. Thanks to all who rode with us and made PBP one of the most spectacular rides in which I’ve ever participated.

PBP iPod Touch Pics

The iPod Touch pics consist of photos that I tweeted before, during, and after PBP. Some have been souped up with Instagram or Photoshop Express. These photos are a quick glimpse into various moments throughout the ride and Felkerino’s and my PBP trip.

PBP Day 1: SQY to Loudeac

Day 1, a 449KM ride from dawn into the rain, sunset, and lightning storms. The greatest number of miles I’ve completed in one go. Quite the adventure and I got to give my waterproof camera a real test. It passed!

PBP Day 2: Loudeac to Brest to Loudeac

Day 2. A “mere” 333KM ride out to Brest and back. I loved this part of the ride, but I must confess that the climb up the Roc Travezel and the route into and out of Brest did get a bit sloggy at times. No major rains, though, and that made me so happy. Don’t want to be testing out your rain gear every day!

PBP Day 3: Loudeac to Mortagne

Day 3. A picture-perfect day of 308KM from Loudeac to Mortagne. This is the PBP I dreamed about!

PBP Day 4: Mortagne to SQY

Day 4. More picturesque views of the French countryside and even more sun. Almost made the lightning storms and rain worth it. ALMOST! At 140KM, the shortest leg of our PBP journey.

I also have a set that includes some of the 80- and 90-hour starters as well as Bike Inspection. Check that set out on my flickr page as well.

Hope you all enjoy. Still have captioning to do, but my j-o-b and randonneur laundry keep impeding my progress in that regard. Also, if you see yourself or someone you know in a post, feel free to tag it or let me know via flickr.

More soon!!

It’s official. Finished PBP

After months of prep, PBP 2011 is now in the books and so are Felkerino and me, successfully completing the adventure in about 81.5 hours.

Overall, it was a highly civilized ride for Felkerino, friend Jon G., and me. Yes, even with the hours of cycling through lightning storms.

And regarding those storms, I just want you all to know that my parents did teach me better than to ride through lightning. That was a little ridiculous, I admit.

I’m already brimming over with great ride memories. Felkerino and I had a fantastic ride. It was a fine mix of cycling, friendship, undulating terrain (though I would have happily foregone all the chipseal), and food (let’s hear it for bowls of coffee and mashed potatoes in the morning!!). Lots of forward momentum, but few moments feeling rushed. I could not have asked for more.

I am the luckiest stoker in the world to get to ride with Felkerino!

I hope those at home enjoyed following us on the Twittosphere and the “fantasy PBP” rider tracking. Your tweets to us kept us inspired and moving forward. They meant so so much. Thanks, everybody!

Congratulations to all who rode PBP this year. Now we figure out how to get home as Hurricane Irene swirls up the East Coast.

More to come. In the meantime, be safe, my Washingtonian friends!

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PBP… the Riders are Off!!!

80 and 90 hour riders began to a warm and sunny send-off. The energy from the riders and the event enveloped this suburban town.

Festive, excited, nervous, twitching with anticipation… The start was amazing. I have never seen an international cycling event like this. Unforgettable!

One of the riders told me yesterday, “PBP is a chronic drug.” Not sure about that, but it sure is a thrill so far.

Our own journey starts in a few hours.

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UPDATE: Just had a chance to do a quick camera upload and wanted to share these shots of some randonneurs you might know… Bonne Route!!!!

PBP Bike Inspection: Day 2!

Today was our day for the 84-hour bike inspection and it went just the way we like it… uneventfully. We’re now checked in and ready to roll tomorrow morning.

The gymnasium was much more low key this morning, in part because we went early and also because all the 80- and 90-hour riders inspected yesterday.

Later today we plan to see the 80- and 90-hour riders as they begin their journey.

You can track Felkerino and my progress on Twitter, though it remains to be seen how much we will correspond. After all, it is a bike ride and not a Tweetfest.

You can also see how we’re going along via the PBP rider tracking at the PBP website

As always, a few photos of the day follow, and perhaps later I will add some start photos if time allows.

The moment. Is. Here.

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PBP bike inspection: Day 1

Excitement is reaching a fever pitch here, as the 90- and 80-hour riders gathered up their bikes, vests, and lights for official inspection. Felkerino and I went over to be part of the action, even though we inspect tomorrow.

Check-in was teeming with randonneurs. How cool this event is, attracting riders from all over the world. I loved looking at all the country jerseys and seeing the bikes people chose for the event. I even saw my first Rene Herse, woo, as well as other intriguing bikes and bags.

My little cam cannot do most of these things justice, but I am throwing in a few pics anyway. Enjoy!

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Randonneur Group Ride… to Chartres

Another sublime day on the bike. Today Felkerino planned a group ride to Chartres, a 77 mile round trip over gentle rolling terrain.

Our outing included randonneurs from D.C, Seattle, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Chicago. It was another great day to be a bike rider and I am still just over the moon about our lovely ride.

We passed through the Rambouillet Forest again, through a couple of other smallish towns including Gallardon and Coltainville.

We then followed the spires of the historic Cathedral of Chartres all the way into town. The cathedral sits at the top of a short but kneebreaking steepie, and dates from the 13th century. Stone walls, carvings, and floors, and huge colorful stained glass windows. Gorgeous, albeit a little dark inside.

We took in the Malcolm Miller tour, a man who has dedicated his life to studying the cathedral, and his tour was actually interesting and helped me get a better context of the edifice.

So we got culture and a perfect mellow ride over quiet back roads. The afternoon threatened rain, but lucky for us, no drops fell. Oh, and did I mention espresso and pastries? Yes, we got those, too.

Thus endeth the short leisurely rides. The next time we clip in will be for the start of PBP. And that’s no short ride.

Pictures below include the ride start from our hotel, action shots from the road, Michael’s MAP bicycle (eye-poppingly beautiful bike by a custom builder in Oregon), and a group photo in front of the cathedral. Sigh. I love this trip!

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PBP Shakedown ride… To Rambouillet!

Today Felkerino and I went out to test our bike assembly and turn a bolt or two.

Our test ride took us out of the Paris suburbs and through the Rambouillet Forest to the town of Rambouillet, about a 20-mile ride from our hotel one way.

Having never been to France, let alone PBP, before I reveled in every pedal stroke of this ride. Passing through the French countryside past old towns and into the lush Rambouillet forest was a thrill.

While in town, we visited the Chateau de Rambouillet, which was originally constructed in 1375 as a home for the marquise de Rambouillet. It then became a royal residence and wow, the meticulously manicured grounds are stunning.

After returning from our trip, we spent a great evening with Ron and Barb R. of the PA and NJ Randonneurs. It is a lot of fun to be surrounded by so many randonneurs.

Photos of the day follow, and include scenes from our ride to Rambouillet as well as the town and the chateau.

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Arriving in France for PBP

A big first day, spent jet-lagged and with the main activity being bile assembly. Felkerino and I also had a great time talking with randonneur friends old and new.

Here is a quick summary of the day in pics. Sorry for the lack of captions; the mobile WordPress app is great, but somewhat limited. Pics include Jeff B. of TN, Vickie and daughter, of TX, and Carol B. of DC Randonneurs.

Safe travels to all who are still en route. This is going to be great!

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Five Things Friday

Wow, the weeks are flying by, and it’s time for Felkerino and me to get off our bikes, take our hands off the keyboards, and pack pack pack for Paris-Brest-Paris. First, though, a quick five things Friday to reflect on life of late.

Five Things Friday: my Surly and me

  1. Thanks to everybody who helped Felkerino and me prepare in some way for Paris-Brest-Paris. Maybe you passed some miles with us on a brevet, shared summer rides with us, or offered some good PBP or bike advice. We appreciated it all. Thanks to College Park Bikes for helping to keep our tandem healthy. AND thanks to Rick C. for providing PBP inspiration via the new Gomez single, “Options.” No matter what anybody says, I like Gomez!
  2. Yay for the White House Farmers’ market. Yes, it is a little pricey, but the peaches and tomatoes are divine. Oh yeah, and the cookies from Praline were, too.
  3. Congratulations to Mike Binnix, randonneur and bike commuter, for logging 1,000 miles of cycling in July. Well done!
  4. Huge thanks to those who agreed to part of our Rando Q&A over on The Daily Randonneur. I am loving these posts, and the insights you share help me reflect on my own randoneuring experiences. Thanks to all of you!
  5. Finally, a big shout-out to everybody who reads and follows this blog. I’m having a great time getting to know you throw the interweb. Thanks so much for reading.

Surly LHT and the pricey but tasty peaches of the farmers’ market

Next posts: On location in FRANCE! Have a great weekend, all!

D.C. Commuting: The Motorcade

Washington, D.C., is an exciting city for bike commuters. Every day we get to navigate our way through cars, potholes, pedestrians, and tourists(who are often also pedestrians). That sounds like lots of other big cities, I suppose. But in Washington, D.C., another aspect distinguishes our commute. Motorcades!

Motorcades are a mixed bag. One one hand, I get a little thrill because I know that “someone important” is going to be passing on my commute route, and it’s fun to guess who it might be. The President, a visiting world leader, someone else of import? I like trying to remember who is in town and who might be the special someone that requires me to re-route or delay my ride.

POTUS!!

On the other hand, it’s not fun to be yelled at by the Secret Service when I’m just trying to go to my j-o-b, and my route happened to intersect with someone more important than I am. It’s even less fun to be yelled at when I’m running late to my j-o-b and then have to take a circuitous route. That is, unless it’s a really great morning. Say sunny, mid-sixties, low humidity, and a nice light breeze. Then I’m totally fine with being re-routed, though I could still do without the yelling.

Yes, the Secret Service really will yell at you, no matter how nice and friendly you might appear to be. One minute you’re a harmless bike rider on your regular boring commute and the next you’re learning that the road you thought was open to the public is not and you have to scram. These guys have no time for niceties I know; they’re protecting important people. But it still startles me. I don’t like feeling like I got in trouble just for taking a road that happened to coincide with the day’s motorcade.

D.C. loves its pomp and circumstance, and motorcades are integral to that. I have to admit, though, it’s pretty cool to see a motorcade procession, especially when you find out the President is going by. Those are special moments that you share with people for the rest of your life.