Monday, April 16, 2007

“What the hell IS randonneuring, anyway?...”

... I blurted, as we labored along Giant City Rd. The word was painted along the top tube of a friend’s loaded down bicycle and I realized that I had no clear definition of the term. I cannot recall Josh’s answer.

That was 9 days ago. In the interim, I have decided to ride the granddaddy of all randonnées, the Paris-Brest-Paris. It is the oldest bicycle event in the world.

For those disinterested in links, ‘randonnée’ is a French term which loosely translates to “ramble” or “long journey.” A randonnée not a race, but it must be completed in within the allotted time. There is no motor-vehicle support, participants ride day and night, whatever the weather and are expected to be self sufficient-- lights, tools, outerwear, etc.

PBP is 1200km in 90 hours. I’ll spare you the math: 750 miles to be completed in 3.75 days. It is listed first on Google under ‘sleepless grueling long distance bicycle ride.’

As if simply preparing for the event in August weren’t daunting enough, the first of 4 qualifying brevets --200km/13.5hr-- is this Saturday (April 21st), with another every two weeks thereafter, each increasing in distance, concluding with the 600km/40hr ride 8 weeks from today. To top it all off, they all start in Delavan, WI, near Lake Geneva.

Some fun facts about me:

· The longest distance at a stretch I have ridden this year: 60 miles. In the last 4 years: 140 miles.

· I will be using a regular ol’ touring rig—not quite the ideal machine for the task at hand.

· I am currently around 25 lbs over my fightin' weight.

So stick around, this should be interesting.



Amy said...

Hope to see you in Paris - we bought our airline tickets the other day (ouch so no going back) we have 2 brevets down and 2 to go - I have yet to complete a 600 km event. - follow my progress

Josh said...

Wow T.C.- You are already getting girls with via your latest stupid idea. (and she even has good taste in movies!) May you find great success with that and with the race too.

Robert said...

Wow! Way to go, T.C. I dunno if I could ride like that. I've ridden long distances - but never in such a compressed period. I'd rather take the time to smell the flowers. But let me encourage you anyway. Keep us informed of your progress and training. And don't be leading the mass at breakneck speed when you return!

Rubani said...

Good luck T.C. I would offer you my bike if it fit and...who am I kidding. Finish well.

Gin said...

Hmm, that fun facts list seems a little incomplete, oh capering, deadline-driven friend. I can't imagine a person more suitable for this adventure!

So does this mean that the 10th Starved Rock ride is in Paris?

dev said...

Let me know if you need any extra socks.

a.husar said...

Hey T.C.! Long time, no hear! And now this... You are getting younger/fitter, it seems. Good luck with this! Too bad, I can't be on a French TV truck following the race.

Jonny Mess said...

You're a beautiful, beautiful idiot.

Pete B said...

Thank you for including me in your announcement. I think it is a fantastic Idea to take on this challenge. This reminds me of the Iron Butt ride in the motorcycle world. 1000 miles in 24 hrs. The longest Motorcycle ride I did was 1500 miles in 5 days. I admire you for the effort. Win, loose, It is the adventure of being in the moment and the personal achievement. You don't need to prove anything to anyone, you are already awsome. Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Hey boss,

Why must you make cycling such a painful experience? Oh well, if anyone I know can endure the pain of such a feat it has to be you.

Good luck.

bossdaddy said...

less paris more bust!

hey dude- mi'm sure you've done the research, but there's a randoneuring group in chicagoland. my friend ben has started doing them as well. and michael berube of CCC has done pbp i think, and at least bmb(boston- montreal-boston). g-money has lots of free time, and has always dreamed of doing the races as well.

Taryn said...

I can only provide words of extreme encouragement, although the thought of doing such a thing terrifies me to the core.

marie said...

How's your French?

ToddAllen said...


The world is not flat! The good news is half your mileage will be down hill. Good luck flatlander.

Michael said...

I hoped you learned an important lesson from our Southern Illinois bike trip: determine which counties/parrishes are dry BEFORE the trip.

Happy Trails!

disastrogirl said...

Bon chance, you crazy bastard! If anyone can do it, you can.