I (Greg) was able to finish PBP last night in 55 hours and 11 minutes. That meant I was able to achieve my goal of being able to join La Société Charly Miller.
Stacy is riding strong and is currently inbound from Brest. She is doing a much more sensible ride and will use much of the 90 hour limit to complete the ride. The slower pace allows her to sleep, and more importantly to interact with the other riders, the support volunteers and the local people along the route who come out to cheer and support the riders.
Stacy & I finished our unsupported 100Cols Tour of over 100 of the major Cols in France on August 7th, a day earlier than we had planned. We had a great time, it went even better than our 2015 tour since we knew what we were doing this time.
No crowds cheer us lesser mortals up the big climbs, but the mountains are open and mountains are rarely if ever finished with you. No matter how often you climb them, you never beat them: each time you start at the bottom, from scratch. Reputation will not take you up a climb. The physical battle has always to be repeated. Through every repeat, mental strength accumulates.
– Graeme Fife
This summer Stacy & I will return to France to ride the 100 Cols Tour once again.
This ride is over four thousand kilometers and climbs all the major mountains of France, over two hundred cols and côtes, with over 260,000 feet of climbing.
A col is a mountain pass, and a côte is a high-point on the road such as a mountain-top.
We chose to ride this tour again because it is so beautiful and challenging. This ride links the most famous climbs in France with mostly quiet back-roads and forest lanes through small picturesque villages.
If you’ve ever watched the Tour de France, you’ve seen the cols: Ventoux, Tourmalet, Iseran, Grand Colombier, Puy Mary, Peyresourde, Galibier, Izoard, Iseran, Mont Aigoual, etc. On the 100 Cols site is a complete list of the cols, sorted by difficulty.
“Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells “CAN’T”, but you don’t listen. You just push harder. And then you hear the voice whisper ‘can’. And you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.”
This summer Stacy & I will return to France to ride Paris-Brest-Paris. This will be our second time riding PBP, we rode it when it was last held in 2015.
First, as preparation, we will ride the 100 Cols Tour. This 4,100 km ride which includes all of the major climbs in France, has been described as the hardest bike tour in the world. And the most beautiful.
Having ridden it in 2015 we can say that the description is 100% accurate.
The 100 Cols website has a great description of the ride and instructions for those who wish to ride it.
Paris-Brest-Paris, or PBP, is a 1200km (750 mile) ride that is held every four years and that must be completed in 90 hours or less. It is older than the Tour de France, and attracts thousands of riders from around the world.
This short video by Brooks is a great introduction to the event:
Deb Banks has an excellent article in the Summer 2019 edition of “American Randonneur” titled “Women Who Go Long” about the participation of women in randonneuring events.
I was surprised to learn that women make up fewer than 6% of the finishers of Paris-Brest-Paris and that Stacy is one of only 136 women who have completed a 1200k brevet in the United States.
The first PBP in 1891 had seven women register, but they were barred from riding. The first woman rider, Juliette Desvages, did not complete PBP until 1921 and the first American women, Annette Shaffer Hillian and Harriet Fell did not complete PBP until 1975.