Congratulations to all who made it to Paris for the 16th edition of Paris-Brest-Paris. It is an accomplishment that many dreamed of six months ago and for many reasons did not realize the dream. Getting to the starting line of PBP is itself a very high achievement of which we can all be proud. The 16th P-B-P was a battle of survival and attrition. I sure hope it goes down in history as one of the wettest, windiest PBP’s. My previous 2 experiences at PBP included much more pleasant riding conditions, but as randonneurs we ride regardless of conditions and cope the best we can. I have participated in 9 grand randonnees, this was the hardest and I took longer than on the previous 8.
My advice before the start was to get some time in the bank and enjoy the ride. Most of us were not fortunate enough to be able to do this in the conditions we faced. I was one of the old fat guys that managed to survive. Condolences to those that gave it their all and then some and still didn’t make it back to St. Quentin within the time limit. Sometimes it just isn’t meant to be and we live to ride another day. You all have much to be proud of. Hope your recovery is going well.
I’d like to offer special recognition for a few of our riders who overcame unusual problems and prevailed to the end. Clint Provenza riding Bob Sheldon’s borrowed bike and all new gear because the airlines lost all his stuff. Linda Gaudette for continuing and finishing after being assaulted by a crazed Spaniard.
As a group the DC Randonneurs did very well. Depending upon how you do the counting we had DNF/DNQ rates from 16 to 23% all much better than the field as a whole. I think everyone that registered as a DC Randonneur at least made it to Brest. Once again, good job everyone.
Our next event is the Slanesville 200K this Saturday beginning at 6:30 a.m. Hoping many PBPers show up to tell their PBP stories and many of our newer members might take the plunge and do their first 200K and begin the road to the next PBP. Registration is $5 and begins at 5:30 a.m. Sleeping space is available at the Lebanon Church Community Center Friday night. Ed Felker and Mary Gersema will be leading a 100K “fun” ride starting at 8:00 a.m. over the same course as the 200k. On Saturday night we will have a general meeting and outline the plans for the coming year, including the proposed Shenandoah 1200K. Also more details of the Appalachian Double Cross 1000K will be presented. That’s all for now. Hope to see many of you at Lebanon Church this weekend.
Matt Settle, RBA