One of my pet peeves when I am talking to a non-cyclist is the question “So, are you ever going to ride the Tour de France?” I understand that in America the overuse of the phrase “Tour de ___” by innumerable charity and century rides has diluted the idea of the TdF, but really? I often reply “No, are you ever going to play the U.S. Open?” None of us will every race this pinnacle of the sport, but there is another event equally storied and tough that any one of us can complete if we have enough fitness and mental toughness.
This extreme endurance event that is older than the Tour de France requires riders to complete a 1200 kilometer (745 mile) course in just 90 hours, or just under 4 days. Riders are expected to be completely self sufficient except at designated check points. While no longer a race, many riders try to complete the course in the fastest possible time meaning by the end they are exhausted and sleep deprived. The event is considered so tough you must qualify though official long distance rides called brevets, and it is only put on every four years with 30% of the riders not finishing.
Think you’ve got the stuff to do PBP? Check out the Hill Country Randonneurs. They put on 200-600K brevets throughout the year to help you train and qualify for the next PBP in 2015.
This weekend four member of the Hill Country Randonneurs will be tackling Paris-Brest-Paris: David Campbell, Wayne Dunlap, John Fusselman, and Jeff Newbury. You can track their progress on the PBP site here by search by their last name. Good luck, fellas!