Recently, I told you a short story about my encounter with a little French boy during my participation in Paris-Brest-Paris 1995. I consider it to be my favorite of all of my experiences of the three PBP events I’ve participated in. Now, I want to tell you about what I think to be the most important. It happened during my first participation of Paris-Brest-Paris in 1991.
I arrived, with my friends, at the start of PBP in St. Quentin En Yvelines about 7:00p.m. Monday night. Our ride did not begin until 10:00 p.m. but we wanted to get there early to see the fastest riders in the 80 hour start. Already, there were hundreds of people along the route wanting to do the same. We had heard it was like the beginning of the Tour De France where the group takes off racing at speeds of 24m.p.h., or more, through the outskirts of Paris. Their goal is to be the fastest finisher. We were not disappointed.
The ride started immediately at 8:00 p.m. consisting of about seven hundred of the best endurance riders in the world. The gun sounded and the peloton seemed slow to pick up speed. Then, all of a sudden, they took off. They circled around a rondpont, made a right turn, and were off like a rocket. I had never seen riders ride so fast! This was all happening among cheers of “Bonne Route!”, “Bon Chance!”, “Bon Courage!” and “Allez à Brest!”
In no time they were out of sight.
My friend, Charlie Martin from Berea, Ohio (a PBP ancien) looked at me and wisely said, “You know, our start will be exactly the same.”