We wrapped up our final prep ride for Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) with a 600K permanent and I went out to get a new haircut the next week. Our last big training ride done, in the midst of some considerable swelter. It felt right to note the occasion with a new look.
Now we are here on the outskirts of Paris, in the final preparation stages for PBP – nervous yet ready.
We rode many miles solo, but unlike previous years we also had the good fortune of pedaling with others who enjoy the long distances we do.
It’s sort of ironic because our club has not really grown in recent years (though of course I hope that changes in the future). However we spent more miles with fellow riders this past year than we have in a long time.
Our 600K was spent almost entirely in the orbit of other randonneurs – De’Anna, Anni, Chip, and Gary W. Gardner helped keep our summer legs going with a 200K permanent inti the Maryland hills.
And that fellowship enriched our experiences. We pre-rode the 300K with rando-buddy Bob C. We shared car rides with car-free D.C. rider Chris N., who is attempting his first PBP this year. We saw a lot Chip this year, including a delightful almost full moon run-in to our club’s 400K finish.
In between the card carrying rides we toured with our friend Foon from Flagstaff, Arizona to Los Angeles, California.
We met up with our buddy and world cycling tourist Jerry to share some California miles by bike.
Over the Fourth of July, we dodged the locals’ powerful fireworks and rode from Cumberland to Pittsburgh and back to keep the legs fresh and to spend some time with Felkerino’s lovely daughter.
We arrived in France, and as soon as our tandem was reassembled we planned a rendezvous with Foon and some San Francisco Randonneurs to spin our wheels over to Chartres.
I can’t believe our luck. I am so grateful for the journey we’ve shared this year that is culminating at this magnificent ride. After a few years where I felt we were on such a solo program I’ve reveled in this change. Solo is good, but having friends along the journey adds another layer to the experience.
To those who have followed along and encouraged us – through Instagram likes to blog comments – thank you. To tow the start line of PBP means so much, but to be able to look back on the journey and see how it unfolded for us with all the shared miles with rando-friends and those rooting from the sidelines makes it mean that much more.
Bonne route to all those riding PBP this year. Please say hello if and when you see us and I will try to do the same. From the luckiest bike rider…. MG.