Thursday, September 08, 2005



Late Spring '05: got my passport, took about 2-3 weeks to receive it. got it at MV Post Office
April '05: started to make giant lists and keep track of helpful spots on the web (re PBP)
July '05: talked to Franck Batelli, who is also planning on doing the PBP, maybe together?
Sept. '05: I must have read about 50 stories, visited many websites in re the PBP, some of which are on my blogsite (
January '06: Completed my first brevet. Albeit, only a 200k, was definitely the most difficult ride I've done physically (last season: 5 doubles, many centuries, many other rides). This brevet (SF Randonneurs) was in the rain 80+% of time, very cold, 4 flats. Met w/ velo, learned how to replace spoke and re-true wheel. Will meet with Patrick to replace STI w/ bar-end shifters, cables, learn to replace brake levers and cables, handle bar tape, master-link in chain and possibly seat post/saddle.
April '06: I've completed 3 brevets w/ the SF Randonneurs. It's been raining almost every day making riding sporadic and dangerous. I've also done the Solvang Century (easy). The 300k was good, didn't use my Night Rider light, just the cateye Micro-Halogen and the cheap Performance light ($15). Worked great. The 400k was very tough, again, I used the same light setup but I stayed close to 5 others, coming in at 02:15! 20h15m. Planning on doing the 600k and the Eastern Sierra DC. Anything else is optional. Planning on just losing weight (prob. 185lbs now) and doing commute and gentle weekend runs as well as X-training. We'll see. Looking forward to trying out my Schmidt Dyno-hub for the 600k.
Solvang Spring Double 2006: I am writing this as I prepare to don the yoke of my employer's servititude once again on this Monday after the 2006 Solvang Spring Double 3/25/06. My seventh double, this may have been my favorite for slightly different reasons than to be expected.

About the ride, what's to say that most don't know: some of the roads are in brutally bad shape, namely parts of Foxen Cyn Rd and Drum Cyn Road, it rained for several hours and the ensuing manure-fertilizer stew makes for a tangy mess in your eyes and mouth! On the nice side, you might know a sweet, sweet tail-wind can bring one home before dark. Yah, yah, you're saying, it sounds like that typical double w/ only 7500 feet of elevation gain and a modicum of support.

Au contraire, what made it special to me was not the 193 miles of whooshing through parts of the Santa Ynez Valley, along the Pacific Coast near Pismo and Shell Beaches, or even the beautiful horse ranchitos I passed. Nope. It was my partners-in-arms from the Club.

I really can't name the entire Marin contingent who participated this year, I had a great time at some ok Italian restaurant Friday nite followed by a full-on meat-fest on Saturday nite with Franck, Curt, Rebecca, Joe, Jeff, Colin, Ken, Carsten, Craig and possibly others. The next morning, the calorie-a-go-go continued at Solvang Restaurant for breakfast #4 (trust me, it's great) and then to Mortensen's, a Danish Bakery, to pick up my pre-ordered Kringle, under Carsten's careful tutelage on all good things Danish. Good times.

I have to admit, I could get used to hanging out w/ cycling buds on these doubles, even though it takes a toll on the pocketbook and the gut. I just can't wait for it to happen again.

June '06: It's been since April 22 that I completed my 4th and final brevet, the SF 600k. I wrote the following for my two clubs' newsletter/mail serve ride report:
"This past weekend I completed my goal of "practicing" for the brevet requirements I'll need to really complete next year for Paris-Brest-Paris. My typing fingers on my right hand are a little numb so I'll make it short, sort of. I'll skip the parts about the rain, the excruciating pressure sores that must have added at least an hour and a half to my time, the sleeping on benches with newspapers in my jersey and questionable dietary choices along the way. This was definitely very, very hard for me.

This route started from the S. end of the GGBridge wound through Marin to W. Marin, past the Cheese Factory to Petaluma thru Sta Rosa to Healdsburg to Cloverdale and up Hi 128 through Boonville and Navarro to Hi. 1 past Mendocino to Fort Bragg. It did rain, it did sprinkle, but all in all, just the length and number of rollers made everything pale in difficulty, certainly. They could have boiled me in oil and still the ride would have been harder.

My biggest fear was getting hit on Hi. 128, if I had chosen to leave Fort Bragg at 3am by myself which is what I had originally planned. Fortunately, an angel was on my shoulder. Sarah Burke (sp.?) and I hooked up at Fort Bragg and we stayed more or less together all the rest of the way. Much, much safer. I gave up my room there and after some Safeway cold soup 4 of us riders took off into the cold night at 9:45 pm and pushed on to Cloverdale after a protracted snooze at a store in Boonville, or was it Philo? on the return leg. We got to Cloverdale at 5:25 am and slept, stinky, until 7:40 am. I finally arrived at the GGBridge around 7 pm. Lots of stops, including a bike store to try and fix a problem in my frame which caused a horrible shimmy going downhills. After that I went no faster than 10mph going down Camino Alto and any other little hill, trying to avoid potholes and bumps.

Oops, I forgot about loathing. On the way Navarro, I stopped at a store to stash some food for my return leg. After some nice lady stared at me in wonder that I had come so far and remarked that they don't get too many cyclists on 128, two very drunk dudes came in. One was yelling, "I hate bicyc (hiccup) lists", "they should should, run over, god(expl deleted) bicycles", etc., etc. The proprietor and several people came to my defense. But his enebriated buddy made me loath my decision to come back by myself at Sat (hiccup) night/3am Sunday morning. This long haired, tall, tooth-missing, stinky guy didn't stop staring at me up and down and talking. I didn't listen to him until he said, "Man, you are one sexy mothe (exp. deleted)". "You ever been to Frisco?". I then felt like I was stuck in a horny toad cage wearing nothing but meat underwear. The movie "Deliverance" danced through my head. Fortunately, these town drunks didn't have a car, so I figured that was my cue.

You never know what you're going to see on a 372 mile ride. I'm glad I did it. Anyone planning to do a 600k must realize it is not a long double century. It takes planning, training and preparation a few notches above else. I thank my fellow Grizzlies for the support and camaraderie which has allowed me to fulfill this goal. Now if this stiffness and pressure sores go away, I can go take my bike out of my car, re-pack my bearings, get that weird rattle out of my frame and wash my clothes."

June 2, 2006 Eastern Sierra Double Century mini-report:
This previous Saturday was a toughie. This double was definitely one of the most picturesque doubles by far. The first 100 miles skirts beautiful lakes and follows under the looming visage of the Eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevadas. Gorgeous! After this wet winter, it seemed every creek and river was bursting at the seams. The temps kept the front half of the day's climbing within reason. I have to say the climbing wasn't ever really too strenuous, you just have to stay hydrated and be ready mentally, physically and technically for the elevation difference and dry air. I took a minimum of stuff and that really helped. I continuously tanked up and never dawdled. The heat would have taken its toll if I just flopped out like I noticed several people do at lunch. It wasn't really scorching until the afternoon when you head into the high, dry Sagehen Plain and plateaus east of Hiway-395. Much more dry, hot and high, you climb from Mono Lake at lunch up to 7000 then above 8000 at Sagehen summit. I got there around 1. By then we all felt like crispy bacon.

Fortunately all the big climbing was past me and I was hydrating well. Tailwinds, half a turkey sandwich and one caffeinated soda helped me up this dismal, long grade. After Sagehen Summit you zip through scrub and lots of asphalt w/ horrible seams so wide it felt like your fillings will pop out. I'd heard this about 4 or 5 times from other experienced riders including one person who had (hmm) several crank bolts come loose. I also shared this lonely road w/ two wild donkeys taking a stroll! That's another nice thing about this ride. I never felt "in danger" like you might on very busy roads w/ narrow or non-existent shoulders. Also, the volunteers were great and those at the last pit stop were especially great, heaping moral encouragement to all, like, "1000 feet of elev. drop ahead of you and a nice tailwind", "no problem getting in by dark". They were right, I got in at 19:24 and you could have stuck a fork in me at that point, I was done! Considering I hadn't been on my bike for almost 2 months cuz of a hand problem, I felt I survived in style. Next time around for this one, I suggest you consider this memorable double.

March 2007
Oops. A lot has occurred since I last added to this blog.
In January, I put my down payment with Claus Claussen of desperes travel for the trip. I've hooked up with Rob Hawks of the Grizzly Peak Cyclists to share a hotel room w/ him in St. Quentin from 8/17 to the night of the ride. Afterwards, I'll stay one night and move with Curt Simon, Joe Zimmerman and Rebecca McLellan of Marin Cyclists to a chateau of a fellow Marin Cyclist's family in So. France.

I've been learning French since just before Christmas through some book/cd "Ultimate French" I got at Border's for a class I took through an adult ed program in Marin (?Tam High Education/Coll of Marin?). Since then, my teacher has been having us take classes at a student's house in Fairfax. Good, but slow and (too) easy pace. Putting the cd'es on iPod has helped.

I bought a Waterford frame and have put my Schmidt lights, built the wheels, downtube shifters, fine step indexed shifters on it. It's my baby. It's just for PBP. Mike of DD Cycles has been the man putting it together along w/ velo: Mark D., my "joda".

I'm losing weight and getting strong and getting in tight w/ other riders who are also doing PBP.

San Francisco 300k Brevet-2007
I missed the first SF 200k brevet because of a flu. This brevet was incredibly hard. Just about all of it was in the rain. We started at 6am. I got up around 4:30 and was out the door around 5 and at the start around 5:30. It started drizzling around Fairfax and continued to before the Cheese Factory. It started again, heavier, around Petaluma and turned to rain before Sta Rosa. 0915. First flat before Petaluma. Got to Healdsburg around 12 and still raining. Drizzled through R. River area to Jenner, where it got windy. Got to Bodega Bay around 2:30, rain/drizzle/rain. Ate chicken and p. salad at some deli along w/ juice. Got to Marshall at 5:45 and had clam chowder, coke, bread, full raining and got dark. 3 bolts fell out from chainrings somewhere before this, barely able to use all gears. Got to San Anselmo at 9pm, 2nd flat. Very raining, cold. Agnes Callard and I rode together from Petaluma, her knee was in bad shape by Tomales. Made it back by 10:45pm.

Santa Rosa 200k-2007
What a diff. a week makes! Up at 4:45, there by 6:30. Start = 7am. Bathroom at Safeway, start at City Hall, Healdsburg. Didn't know too many people. Curt + Rebecca rode tandem. 1 bottle water, 1 bottle Accel + empty Camelback.Beautiful day, warm (upper 60's to low 70's) weather. Wide shoulders and somewhat of a tail wind and fast pacelines led to prob. 23-25 avg mph to midpoint. Great food and support there. Info control: cemetary=Olive Hill. Rode solo all way back, kinda dragging. Back at 2:22. Had beer and fries at Bear Flag Rep. Brewery!

San Francisco 400k
(excerpted from an email to other GPC riders)
> > I concur in that I was surprised at how hard this was for me. It's
> > interesting that the 400k last year was done under "epic" conditions
> > and for me, roughly the same time as this year! I only got mildly cold
> > at times, but only when I stopped for a long time. I was hoping for an
> > "audax-style" ride, but that was not meant to be, and that's cool.
> > From the middle of Westside Road to the beginning of Mtn. House Road,
> > I rode alone. That was a lonely ride for me, climbing up 128.
> > Fortunately I ran into and followed a fixie rider into Hopland and
> > from there rode w/ a core group including Nicole Honda, Kitty
> > Goursolle, Ken Shoemaker and Anthony and Joel (last names unknown). We
> > rode audax style for all of the way back to Petaluma, making concerted
> > bio-breaks and singing all the way down Stony Pt. Road! Fun! Yes! But
> > I was definitely tired climbing up D St. Hill, especially. I had a
> > good time. A couple of observations: this is the most I ever ate and
> > drank on a brevet. I love my Brooks B17 (thanks, Rob!). I had plenty
> > of clothing (kudos, Rob!). I think climbing Joy Road and the headwinds
> > on Bodega Hwy. prob. had the biggest impact on me, and possibly
> > others. But all things considered, I'm really glad for my Grizzly
> > friends, cuz I know if I was on the side of the road, looking for a
> > micro-tubule piece of steel-belted radial and hypothermic, you would
> > be there for me, and I for you. Congratulations on your accomplishment
> > on the road to Paris-Brest-Paris

Steve Downey's report of the SF 400k (a GPC rider)

"Saturday March 17 was the 400K (250 miles) brevet. The ride started at
noon at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge and went north through
Marin County, along Sir Francis Drake Blvd, through Nicasio, Valley
Ford, Occidental and Monte Rio; at the Russian River we headed east
through Guerneville then north to Healdsburg, through Cloverdale and the
turnaround at Hopland.

The return trip went south along (and on) Highway 101 then went
southeast through Geyserville and Jimtown, due south along the western
edge of Santa Rosa, then southeast to Petaluma; from there it was back
to Nicasio and retracing the outbound route.

I had never ridden further than 200 miles, only once for more than an
hour in the dark, and I hadn't stayed awake through the night since
Senior Prom. This was going to be a challenge. At least the weather
forecast was good: daytime highs in the 70's and nighttime lows in the
low 50's / high 40's.

The start was typical SF: foggy, windy and cold. I wound up putting on
leg warmers, arm warmers and windbreaker which I wanted to remove as
soon as we got into the sun in Sausalito. Past Sausalito the route is
mostly bike paths through Larkspur, Ross, San Anselmo, and Fairfax
before getting on to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. I overtook a large clump
of riders at SFD and got to the front of the group at a stoplight. I
would be on my own until Valley Ford. The turn onto Nicasio Valley Rd
began what was to be many miles of headwinds on the outbound leg.
Between Nicasio and Valley Ford I saw several cyclists but just a few on
the brevet; the latter conspicuous with the many attached bags, lights
and reflective gear.

The turn on to Hicks Valley brought very strong headwinds. There was a
bit of a respite on Wilson Hill Rd but the turn northwest on to Chileno
Valley Rd brought back the winds. The next 15 miles into Valley Ford
were frustrating as whichever way the road seemed to turn, the headwinds
followed. At Valley Ford there were four other riders including a fixie
(fixed gear bike) and a recumbent. We all took off together with the
recumbent zooming ahead.

Joy Road wasn't. At least not going north. Very steep and long. We
overtook the recumbent and dropped the fixie as he was reduced to
zig-zagging and still having a very difficult time of it. Our group was
down to three. As unpleasant as Joy Road was, the stretch from
Occidental to Monte Rio on the Bohemian Highway was one of the best
stretches of cycling I've done. No wind, no cars, mild temps and we
were effortlessly gliding over the rollers (maybe there was a
tailwind). At the Russian River we headed east for four miles into the
first control at the Safeway in Guerneville.

As we pulled into the control, the lead group was just leaving. After
getting something to eat one of our three was a little slow in changing
into warmer clothes and he hadn't mounted his lights. As there were
many other riders there, he waived us on; now it was me and Bill from
Fremont. We weren't doing any pacelining, and Bill was setting the
pace. As we headed north towards Healdsburg I was starting to feel the
hills a little bit. We plowed on through Healdsburg and north to
Cloverdale. In Cloverdale we got yelled at by someone in a parked car
(an admonishment to shake something) and then once again as the car
passed us a while later.

After Cloverdale we headed northwest on SR128 then north on Mountain
House Rd. These were unfamiliar roads, it was dark and it was hilly. I
don't really know how bad the climbing was, but it was disconcerting to
round every corner and still see the road climbing. Finally we got the
the turnaround point in Hopland at 101 and SR175. Once again the lead
group was just getting ready to leave as we pulled in. I wolfed down a
sandwich and put on some warmer clothes and we were on our way around
9:40pm with 134 miles down, 116 to go.

We immediately added four miles to the total by missing a turn. We were
saved by a local(?) who saw us pulled over and asked if we were lost,
then sent us in the right direction. The route had us on 101 for 8.4
miles. It's a fast four-lane road, but traffic was light and everyone
was giving us a full lane buffer so it wasn't so bad -- as long you
didn't ride across the "stay-awake" ruts on the left side of the
shoulder. We stopped in Geyserville at mile 160 so I could change
batteries in my lights. I asked Bill about planned stops and he said
"Petaluma"; that means other than those five minutes we went the 72
miles from Hopland to Petaluma with no break.

In Santa Rosa we had a few episodes with cars: people yelling at us or
honking the horn just as they passed. By the time I realized I should
assume every approaching car was going to do something nasty, we were
out of Santa Rosa and no more problems. St. Patrick's day was probably
not the best choice to be riding through the night.

Keeping up with Bill's pace was taking its toll. I lost my appetite,
and went through the one water-only bottle I had. No food or sports
drink was appealing and it would eventually cost me. For the third time
we rolled into the control as the lead group was leaving. This group
included Peter M. and Bob Buntrock. I told Bill to proceed without me
as I knew I couldn't keep up with him on the hills between Petaluma and
Nicasio. I ate a burrito, but a Safeway burrito at 2:30am has likely
been sitting there since about that time the day before. I couldn't eat
much of it and my stomach was feeling worse. Bill took off and by the
time I got more clothes on and text-messaged my status to my wife I was
shivering and wondering what on earth I was doing at a Safeway in
Petaluma in the wee hours with 3+ hours of cycling ahead.

The hills outside Petaluma were every bit as bad as I anticipated. I
was breathing heavily, getting weaker, and feeling very cold on the
descents. On some of the flatter portions I was only able to muster
10-12mph. Even in my physically exhausted and sleep-deprived state I
could still do division. My speed in mph never seemed to approach half
of the remaining distance. This meant more than two hours of riding,
and another hour and a half before I would be in bed. Not only did I
feel like quitting, I was not sure I would be able to finish.

It finally occurred to me as I struggled to maintain 10mph that nothing
I had been through should cause this and it had to be lack of food. I
stopped at the intersection of Nicasio Valley and SFD and forced my self
to have two Power Bar gels (240 calories) and some water. I struggled
up the SFD hill and down into Fairfax. On the flatter portions I was
now able to go 16-18 mph. With less than 20, relatively flat, miles
left I was confident of finishing.

Just before the last climb up Magnolia/Camino Alto my lights shifted
into "low" as the batteries had run down, but as I was in town and had
street lights I opted not to stop as I was afraid I would get too cold.
I realized how late/early it was when the people I saw didn't look like
they had been out all night, but were instead joggers and dog walkers.
At the end of the 200K and 300K the climb from Sausalito up to the
Golden Gate Bridge was shorter than I remembered . It was much longer
than I remembered this time. I seemed to take a lot longer to cross the
bridge than in the 300K even though there was no wind and rain this
time. I was pretty much at my limit.

I finished at 6:37am. Nobody else in sight. I quickly handed in my
Brevet card and got to my car and on the road. In retrospect I had no
business driving home. I almost nodded off several times. I was in bed
by 8:00am. Neighbor kids woke me up with their yelling at 9:30. I got
up, ate and went back to bed and slept from 10:00-12:30. Ate some more
and then slept for about three more hours waking up around 4:30. As I
turned off the lights at 10:30pm I thought I would be back on my normal
sleep schedule but woke up at 3:30am today, so I'll be feeling the
effects, at least sleep-wise for another day or so.

This was a nice challenge to do ... once."

Davis 600k May 4-6, 2007
(as published in Marin Cyclists Newsletter)

Call me, "Lantern Rouge"!
by Kevin Foley

The Davis 600 km (just multiply by .62 to get miles) route goes over the famed Cardiac Hill and the hills that divide Fairfield from Sonoma County. Leaving at 20:00 on Friday 5/4/07 guaranteed we would be quite tired, riding through the night. The sun had long set when I got to the first control: Cappell Valley School (23:30 5/4/07). The sunset that first evening was like a blanket going over me on a cool night. I'd been here before, night-riding. I felt, "yah, it's all good". I had plenty of water and food with me, but my saddle made me squirm a lot, I think it was set too high! (This would cause a mild knee issue in the last 70 miles.)

The route eventually snakes through the hills between Davis and into the Sonoma Valley; it is level (pretty much) to the next control, Calistoga (01:49, Saturday 5/5/07). The night was quiet throughout, except for the few party animals whooping it up. I began to dilly-dally a bit too much here, so up the Silverado Trail I went (a virtual highway through wineries) and eventually up to Cloverdale. A mini-mart became a stop-over for many of us, feasting on chocolate milk and pastries. Having been through this whole area several times now on brevets and other rides, it was quite reassuring to ride these familiar roads, especially since it was still quite dark. Nonetheless, all the fun would begin soon in the hills that seperate the Alexander Valley from Ukiah-Cloverdale.

This route is tough, no matter which way you slice it, getting over this set of hills is no cake-walk. We'd be climbing these hills several times to squeeze every last ounce our legs had in us before we could even finish the last 140+ miles. I felt the route was definitely more difficult than the San Francisco Randonneur's 600 km I had done before. In this ride, you go up Highway 128 (chug-chug) and make a right on Mountain House Road and go back down towards Hopland then to Ukiah (arrival: 08:55 5/5/07). Fortunatley for me, it's not too bad as I've done it before on the San Francisco 400 km not long ago. But nooooooot so fast. You then go up Highway 253, up the Ukiah-Booneville Road over to Booneville. This is a long climb, not brutal like Fort Ross Road, just very long and relentless. Wait! Joy! The Booneville Beer Festival was happening w/ $5-all the beer you can drink! And it was Cinco de Mayo. And it was the title fight the world was waiting for--Oscar del la Mayo (Hoya) vs. Elmer Fudd (or someone). Drunks and close calls everywhere! Not exactly perfect cycling companions. I was headed directly out to Paul Dimmick (13:07 5/5/07) Campground in Mendocino County with a little headwind and 60 miles behind the leaders of the pack! (Only 187.5 miles to go-this is the halfway point, 300km for the ride). The whole contingent was between Booneville and Paul Dimmick Campground on their way back. When we returned through Booneville, we were just in time to catch the early drunks yelling at us climbing up the hill out of the Alexander Valley on the same Ukiah-Booneville Rd to Ukiah (the second time into Ukiah; 17:50 05/05/07). (It was kind of warm duriing this stretch, in the hi 70's to lo 80's). Delicious soup and cheesey-ham sandwiches waited for us. During the whole event, every stop had all the powders, lotions, pills, PB&J, bananas, nuts, cookies, pretzels, juices, sodas that any card-carrying randonneur could hope for. Ukiah even had showers and rooms! I took a shower, ate and waited and waited and waited for the other two guys to be ready. I headed south to Hopland and the final giant climb, up Mtn House Road in reverse to Highway 128, back down to Cloverdale, (22:40), where wonderful stew awaited us! Oh yum! Ahead was the long slog back down to Calistoga (~02:30) where we thought a Shell mini-mart was open.

By now, we were very sleepy. I began to hallucinate mildly. I thought I saw a tree extend it's tree-hand towards me and wave it. Yikes! Time to get off the bike, stretch, drink and eat. Break the pattern. The cold, damp ground looked mighty good. By Hopland, I was starting to hit my secret weapon, Coca-Cola, at any mini-mart and looked forward to Calistoga: putting my head down for 5, drinking coffee and going, but it was closed! Sad! A local lady offered to cook us up anything we wanted but had no coffee. Someone in our group thought that would lead us into a time warp we couldn't escape from and thanked her for the offer. We all slept in front of a closed laundromat for a few minutes (15 min.?) and pushed on to Capell Vly School, fighting sleep all the way (05:45).

There, the pod-enclosed riders stayed in hibernation, and I joined them for ~1.25 hrs until the leaders woke me up, gently reminding me I had 5+ hrs. to go the remaining 45 mi. over Cardiac Hill and the ranges back towards Vacaville-Winters-Davis after one receipt control stop ~10 mi. from the start/finish. Nice riding partners I chose, they let me sleep at Capell Valley School! I woke up confused and panicky. After coming to my senses and doing a little math to determine how much time I really had, I took off alone, and probably did my best and certainly felt my best since the beginning, assuming a good pace. After a while, I realized I was still very sleepy and at one point looked down past my big ring to the ground and hallucinated, seeing animal crackers! So, I got off and rested. Shortly afterwards, SAG wagon came by and gave me a Coke, water and a bar. I instantly felt better and took off, meeting Joe Gross, who had developed a nasty case of Shermer's neck. I hope he gets better quick! The ride just before Davis was the nicest; I met up w/ Charley Jonas and Bob Pompeani at the "receipt control" at 09:42. Together we rode the last few miles getting in shortly before 11 am, almost earning us the title, "Lantern Rouge", or "red lantern", like on the last railroad car, or caboose.

That's it. I've qualified for PBP. This was a very difficult effort and the 20:00 start made it brutal. I honestly don't want to do the route again, given a choice, at that start time. By the second night, I was completely sleepy and needed lots of rest. Now, after two days of rest, I think to myself, "Two nights and 2.5 days of riding, argh!" More importantly, I am so proud of all the friends and family that supported me along the way, even the ones who recommended interventional techniques to bring me back from such a ruinous self-deluding pre-occupation with fatigue, hunger, thirst and pain.

Finally, I can start thinking of how to use those College of Marin French language lessons in earnest...

En ce moment, je suis fatigué et ai un grand désir à être mon voyage à PBP. Merci beaucoups, mon amis! A bientot! Bonne route et bonne chance!

Until then... 'Allons y!'

Notes not published:
Before this ride I had numerous "panic attacks", the biggest of which had to do with companionship during the ride. I became downright desperate, in retrospect, stemming from insecurity. This was stupid behaviour on my part as this would be my 8th brevet in two years. I've done I think 10 doubles and put in thousands and thousands of miles. I've made my share of mistakes and learned from them, yet still I felt I needed hand-holding. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
As a result of this behaviour, I was fixated on making sure I rode with someone, and in this case, someone I'd never ridden with! Huh!? And he brought someone, too. We stayed together all the way to Cappell Valley School, where I slept and they left me. My knee had been bothering me since Calistoga, feeling irritated on the medial side of the surface of my right kneecap. It's much improved now, down to about 20% of what I felt. As this pain was def. slowing me down, those guys kept ditching me. One of them was quite nervous about not making the final cut-off, yet stayed too long at every single control we went to. I was not open about this and should have been more vocal in my desire to leave earlier. Instead, I just sat down, ate more, rested, talked, organized each stop. Perhaps the worst was at Paul Dimmick and from that point on. We started sitting down, lounging around until the last people in the whole group started showing up, when we would finally leave. I kept trying to say, don't try to hurry up, it's the control time that matters. I knew this but didn't have the chutzpah to force the issue. My mistake. By Ukiah, the second time around, we'd been arguing about not taking a shower, not doing this and that. We got there and imm. I went to work, signing in, finding my drop, asking for a sandwich, taking an approx. 2 min shower. Ahhhh! I changed my clothes quickly and applied Bag Balm liberally. I got everything down in 10 min, I figure. I went out and ate some soup, sandwich, drank v8, a soda and some pretzels. By then I was ready, but alone for maybe 2-3 min. until one of the others came out. Now I was sitting around. The last one, the one most concerned with time apparently, came out approx. 5 min after. This was about 25 min. after we got there, at a minimum. I then waited for him. All in all, I figure we were there about an hour. By then, even some of the last, slowest folks had left. I was concerned with darkness at this point, I wanted to start climbing Mtn House Road by nightfall. When we got to Hopland, I had a Coke or Pepsi and the caffeine really kicked in. I started flying up the road. It took forever! I noticed that even "familiar" roads felt waaaaay longer in the dark. When I got to the top I started stripping. It wasn't nearly as cold tonight as it had been the previous night...but this was an illusion, apparently, as someone told me it had been 37F at Cappell Vly School, later on. When we got back down to Cloverdale, we had a very welcome stop. Hot stew, lots of food, and Dan Brekke! He gave me a warm welcome. So far, this was not a fun ride, but compulsory. Dan asked me if I needed anything, but I didn't. Instead I suggested that Dan bring some Red Bulls to Patrick as he was falling asleep and needed regular infusions. Past Cloverdale, we headed over to 128 and this is where I got the sleepiest. This would be the hardest stretch in the whole ride. I fought drowsiness and absolutely to stop at one point and eat something, do something, drink something to wake me up. It was cold and damp here. The road was not a good place to lie down as casino traffic was def. happening. Not good. It took forever to get to Calistoga, where we tried to find an open anything. Nothing. I sugg. we lie down on benches in front of the laundromat for 15 min. I think 5 min. passed before Lois Sprinsteen took off, concerned about her time. Patrick gave me a swig of his vile tasting Red Bull, but by this time, even caffeine had a negligible effect on me. The roads between Calistoga and Cappell Vly School are long and winding, the hills not monstrously difficult, just long. At this point, any short roller felt arduous. I really understood by this time that I should have slept at Ukiah on the last leg. Maybe for 1/2 hour. When we got to the school, Manny sugg. that I eat a lot, then sleep. Sound advice. It worked. I had two bowls of chili and headed for a blanket on the floor. Approx. 1.25 hrs. later, ?Wayne? woke me up gently, assuring me I could make the times comfortably, but that it was time to go. I also noticed Patrick and Joel were gone! I asked who was going, but noone seemed eager to take off. So I did. Climbing Cardiac by myself felt strangely good!? I knew this activity well, climbing by myself. A few min. later, I saw 2 riders behind me, Charley Jonas and Bob Pompeani. But I didn't see them until way later. It felt good riding those hills and flats back towards Davis. I got super sleepy, but I just stopped. I felt no pressure, and didn't over-stay. I think the psychological aspect of all this is under-rated. I think even pressure on you to do something makes you feel worse, slowing you down. That is my thought. It felt good riding along Putah Crk Rd. When I got to Stevenson Bridge Rd, I had to stop due to sleepiness. Joe Gross came by and I offered him some Coke. We rode together for a while to the Pedrick receipt control and further until he had to rest his neck. I rode w/ Charley and Bob to the finish. This was truly a ride of self-enlightenment. It revealed the ugly truth and scaped away a lot. I understand now that I shouldn't rely on others to make mistakes for me. I have the confidence, competence and ability to ride brevets by myself. If something breaks, I know I'll be in trouble, but that would be better than having rotten performance and a worse time.

What I brought:
rainjacket, windbreaker, wool long-sleeved undershirt, baselayer, jersey
Assos bib shorts, PearlIzumi bib shorts, leggings
wool socks, SIDI shoes
one pair long-fingered Spenco gloves

way too much
fig bars (7-8, ate 4)--more in drop
Hammer gels (ate 1, 1 of someone elses)--more in drop
bars (6 approx., ate 1 or 2)--more in drop
packets of Accel., Sustained Energy (used maybe 1 of each, each had 3 scoops)--more in drop
Banana chips (ate hardly any)--more in drop
Altoids (ate none)
Nuts (approx 30, ate more than I thought, craved them when eating them, ate almost all, unusual considering they'd spilled into pannier and I was scrounging for them!)
emptied camelback maybe twice in total, bottles maybe 3x in total

Brought but used:
little chamois butter tubes (def. buy these for next time)
brought but never used:
tea tree oil wipes
disinfectant wipes
In drop bag, used:
change of clothes
a few banana chips
In drop bag, not used:
spare batteries

Could have used: 600mg Ibuprofen--someone gave me one at Cappell Vly, knee hurting, perhaps a clip-on spare tail light

Glad I never brought: spare pump, CO2 cartr, spare tire, lots of other stuff, fenders

Glad I brought: a minimum of tools/parts

Things to consider: a spare taillight in drop bag, why my taillight failed even w/ a change of batteries!? Why I developed CTS after Cappell Vly School? Why does my knee hurt--is it due to saddle arrangement?

Friday, April 22, 2005



PBP & Double Century List
patch kit
zip ties
watch w/ 15 min. timer set to take drinks regularly
extra 6V battery for little Black Diamond helmet light
phone, charged
car key with light&knife
film can with meds, personal id/Kaiser/VISA info/patch/$20
sunglasses, clean
extra helmet-mount light

From the UMCA website:
Don't forget... a small digital camera, Charmin To Go, premoistened baby-wipes, Vivarin, Tums, Advil, Neosporin, Benadryl, preprinted address labels (for postcards home), earplugs, mini-flashlight, travel alarm clock/wristwatch, business cards (with e-mail address), flip-flops or sandals, spare contact lenses, long-fingered gloves, battery-powered fan, face cloth, plastic zip ties, shampoo in a tube, Bag Balm, Saline, bandaids, Liquid Band-Aid, shower cap, powdered Woolite, Chapstick, spare sunglasses, sunscreen, pedal wrench, duct tape, garbage bag (instant rain poncho), pocket knife, your favourite drink mix, chewing gum. Go to any French Pharmacy before the ride and get a tube of "Nestosyl" ointment. It's a soothing French antiseptic balm for bee stings and saddle sores. If you have a support crew bring walkie-talkies, an inverter to charge batteries in the car, calculator, clipboard, Michelin Maps, small blankets, and a backup Camelbak bladder. Finances: Bring cash or travelers cheques in Euros, which are available from your banque or American Express online. You can get AmEx foreign currency travelers cheques from AAA, if you are a member. You can get cash from ATMs all over France with a major credit card an a PIN number. Plan on spending about $2500 for your total trip. $800 airfare, $800 lodging, $500 on food, and the rest will disappear on transportation, stamps, postcards, snacks and souvenirs.

other stuff: Ibuprofen, Tums, Rolaids, Pepcid AC, "Fisherman's Friend" throat lozenges, "Icy Hot" muscle ointment, wristwatch, Band-Aids (to protect cold nipples from chaffing), Echinacea and a few vitamins

Baggie with following:
duck tape
presta<->Schrader adapter
$2-3 in quarters
ATAC cleat spare hardware (screws, plate) w/Allen key
chain tool + rivet
little pliers
Phillips and straight screwdrivers
mini crescent wrench
8/9/10 Allen wrench

baggie w/ personal hygiene stuff:
toilet paper

baggie w/ first-aid & medical stuff:
pill box cont. acetominophen, tylenol, motrin, pseuodephedrine, Tums
lip balm
bag balm
SPF stuff

PBP List
american flag temporary tatoos/stuff for kids
spare camelback mouthpiece
permitted reflective device that will pin onto camelback
"business cards"
French lessons
des Peres Travel
bug repellant
space blanket
Independent Fabrications Club racer--recom. bike
S&S couplings
Vredestein FlexSport tires (have reflective sidewall)
tubus fly rack
SKS fenders
Schmidt dynohub
Carradice saddlebag
Jack Taylor bike
Rivendell bike
Steve Rex bike (he does 1200 k's}
bagman support for my Carradice bag (for bikes w/o brazeons for rear racks) great reviews (recom. using battery-powered taillights (for packing reasons))
reflective tape
tiny LED lamp for top of handlebars
don't use "standlights" for dynamo system as if bulb burns out, will kill generator
spare cleats, mounting stuff (plate, screws)
smooth, grippy tires (NO Kevlar!--tread & kevlar add to rolling resist.) hmmm
Tyvek (FedEx envelope) for tire boot! (good cycling tent)
Stuff added to the list as of 1/06:
MasterLink for chain
spare links from anywhere
Brooks B17 (Patrick had a Brooks Pearl and a Thompson seat post)
Richie seat post: Thompson is more straight-up-and-down
Cane Creek brake levers $35 Rivendell (these are like Campy ergo levers)
3 spare brake cables
3 spare derailleur cables
Specialized handle bar tape (comes with gel insert)
bought DuraAce 9 spd bar-end shifters from Rivendell 68.00

PBP Timeline article from the UMCA website:

Six months before: Brevets: Each PBP entrant must qualify by completing a series of four brevets in the same year as PBP. The brevets of 200k, 300k, 400k, and 600k must be done in order and completed by June 16th to be considered for PBP qualification. The organizer collects all the cards at the end of the ride and within a week of the ride, submits the results to the RUSA Brevet Coordinator via the online form. He checks for errors and then forwards the results to the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) for certification. The ACP checks the results and issues a "brevet" ID number to each rider for the event. The ACP issues a brevet sticker for each brevet, along with any medals ordered and sends both back to RUSA. RUSA records and publishes the numbers. The summary, stickers and medals are sent to the organizer. The organizer keeps the summary, applies a brevet sticker to each brevet card, signs each brevet card and returns the now certified cards and medals to the riders. Riders keep the cards as documentation of the ride, since these are required when applying for PBP other randonneur events, honours and awards. The brevet ID number is proof of having completed a ride.

Two months before:
PBP Application: The ACP will issue the PBP entry form in late April. RUSA prints it in the May newsletter. To register for PBP the rider must complete the PBP entry form, attach supporting documents along with payment in dollars and send the whole thing to the RUSA President in Rhode Island. PBP entries will be accepted from June 1 to July 1. All registrations must be postmarked by July 1 to be accepted. RUSA riders can find their brevet numbers on their controle cards or on the RUSA website under "Brevet Results." The PBP entry form must include all four brevet numbers to be accepted. Pick your PBP start time carefully; you cannot change it once you pick it. The ACP will verify the brevet numbers and if they are valid, ACP will send a confirmation packet to the rider in early August. It will contain a cue sheet, a bike frame number, your bike inspection appointment, verification of your start time and other pertinent information. Do not lose it! These materials are required at PBP sign in - so don't forget to bring the entire package with you to Paris.

Thursday, August 14 -Four Days Before: Travel: Depart the US. You will take a night flight, feel nervous, cramped, eat strange food, watch the movie, doze a bit and arrive in Paris the next morning, a complete zombie. Instead, take two Tylenol PM and knock yourself out.
Friday, August 15 -Three Days Before: Bienvenue à France! It will take an hour or so to get off the plane, get your luggage and bike box from the plane and through the airport. It will take at least another hour to locate your shuttle, a taxi or obtain your rental car. Allow an hour from the airport to St. Quentin en Yvelines by car. By regional metro it could be longer with transfers and lugging a bike box. Find your hotel, check in to your room and take a nap. Relax.

Saturday, August 16 -Two Days Before:
Reconnoitre: Wander around. Get familiar with your surroundings, eat, rest and assemble your bike. Store the bike box and then take a test spin around town to make sure everything is working fine. Pick up last minute supplies, organize paperwork, rendezvous with friends and fellow PBPers. Nap. Eat. Sleep.

Sunday, August 17 -One Day Before:
Bike Inspection/Rider Check in: From 8am until 6:30pm there is bike inspection for everyone. You come with helmet, bike, lights, spares, reflective garments on and stand in line in a soccer field. The actual inspection is quick and painless. You then proceed into the gymnasium and head to the English-speaking desk for American PBP registered riders to pick up your PBP ID badge, control card, magnetic ID card, PBP jersey (if you pre-ordered one) and meal ticket (if you pre-ordered one).

Monday, August 18 - Day of Event
-Prologue; Monday. Morning. There is an optional Prologue ride of 30k at 10am. About 500 riders participate in this scenic tour through the streets of Guyancourt. There is a free t-shirt for each participant. Eat. Nap. Calm the butterflies in your stomach. Head over to the start area 1.5 hrs prior to your selected start time. Your moment is here. Evening: There are several PBP start times on Monday. 8pm for the 80hr riders on single bikes. The gates open at 6:45pm for this start. At 9:45pm is the 90hr start for tandems, triplettes and special bikes. At 10pm is the 90hr start for single bikes. Gates open for this start at 8:15pm in the soccer field behind the gym. The starts are in 15 minute increments, letting about 500 riders start in each wave. Your control card will be stamped as you exit the gathering area - so don't circumvent the line and jump in anywhere. You must pass through the start gate one at a time and get your control card validated with your official start time.

Tuesday, August 19 -Morning After:
There are two PBP starts; One at 4:45am for the 84 hr group on tandems, triplettes or special bikes. The other is at 5am for the 84hr PBP adventure should unfold as follows. Arrive in Loudeac (275 miles) by 10pm and sleep.

Wednesday, August 20 - Day 2 of PBP:
Start riding at 6am and go 100 miles out to Brest and 100 miles back to Loudeaác by 8pm ...sleep the night. (At 1pm the PBP Finish Line opens and stays open through Friday at 5pm)

Thursday, August 21 - Day 3 of PBP:
Start riding at 6am and ride 150 miles back to Mortagne au Perche. Get there by 8pm and sleep the night.

Friday, August 22 - Day 4 of PBP:
Start riding at 6am and ride the last 87 miles back toward Paris arriving at the PBP Finish Line by mid afternoon. Your total time should be about 80 hours with only 4 hours of riding in darkness.

The PBP Finish:
Don't expect fireworks, marching bands, or cheerleaders. It's a low key affair, even curiously quiet. There's a volunteer at a table who accepts your control card and hands you a coupon for a free coke. That's it. Be sure to head over to the Maindru Photo table and purchase photos of your priceless PBP experience.

The PBP Award Ceremony - around 6:30pm.
Expect to see bodies strewn across the floor and bleary-eyed people sitting on bleachers. You'll hear a lot of french over the PA system, introductions of ACP dignitaries, national representatives, the oldest and youngest finishers of PBP along with the first male, first female, first tandem and largest single club represented. Then at 8pm the wine begins to flow accompanied by hors d'oeuvres. Et voila! C'est fini.

PBP links:

PBP Hotels link:

PBP '03 Controles link:

GPC member PBP Links link:

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