December 22nd is notable in my calendar for two reasons. First, it's my daughter Abi's birthday. Who knew 31 years ago that I would be doing the other notable thing, an overnight bike ride on the shortest day of the year and on a night where there were weather warnings galore?
Waking up on Saturday morning, we were able to watch all the bikes riding past us on their way to the bike checks.
This time next week we will be in France heading towards Rambouillet, outside of Paris, to the start of the 2019 Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) Randonnuer. For me, this has been a long time coming. After having abandoned after 900km in 2015 due to serious sleep deprivation, I’ve had a lot of time to consider what I did wrong and how to right it.
I turned up in Chepstow, and looked around the rather smaller than normal group of entrants. Everyone looked very fit and capable, and then I also noticed the lack of women on the ride. In normal years the ride attracts a mixed bag of riders. There’s no doubt this is a challenging event...after all, it covers the width of Wales, and ventures into the Brecon Beacons in both directions. But, it is such a beautiful and iconic ride that many Audaxers like to give it a try.
Our girls French trip was a real eye opener for me. Here I was with a riding partner that I loved to ride with, who had a similar pace to me, but who had very different rest & recovery requirements to me. This could be a real problem. We needed a way forwards, but I had no idea what that was to be. Just a couple of weeks later, was the infamous Bryan Chapman 600k.....
When I last wrote on this subject it was Spring, I was full of excitement, and really happy that I was going to be riding this attempt as part of a team. Myself & my friend Laura were to be riding, and my husband (The Hubster) would play a supporting role providing ‘domestique’ duties at each control ensuring a consistent supply of food, a guaranteed bed at any control we needed, fresh clothes, and batteries/chargers for our electronics. This support was to be with Dora, our trusty Transit Van.