PBP Stories -1999

BC Randonneurs Cycling Club

(More about the source of this text - Gerry's PBP99 info archive)

Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 12:14:25 -0700
From: PATRICKS@sfpl.lib.ca.us
To: RANDON@cyclery.com

Sorry, I hit the wrong key before finishing my thought. I talked
with a lot of riders who took a DNF (at least 15, maybe more, from
several different countries) and the reasons were pretty varied. One
thing I noticed was there were no complaints about equipment choices
or breakage. Mostly riders were unprepared in one way or another.
Here's some of the comments that I can remember:

"It's too hilly. Nobody told me about that and I don't live where
there are any hills to train on." From a woman from the USA who
abandoned about 80 miles into the ride.

"I asked myself why I was doing this bullshit and I couldn't come up
with a good reason." An Australian gentleman.

"I got sick. And my buddy, who talked me into doing this, kept
taking off. And what's this stuff about riding up into a village and
descending out the other side?" A pretty funny Englishman who talked
me into considering LEL in 2001.

A German couple, who I presumed to be romantically linked, didn't
tell why they quit but they did do a lot of glaring at each other
and seemed to be in a bad mood overall.

I talked with others at my hotel and the mood was mostly of "oh
well, it wasn't meant to be this time." The only rude people I
encountered were those waiting for someone to finish. Boy, some
people can really drive a dagger in deep! But, they weren't out
there so what do they know?

See you in 2003,
Patrick Shea


Another message included some historical dnf stats:

Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 15:19:49 -0400
To: "G. J. Pareja" <gpareja@vcn.bc.ca>
From: Ian Flitcroft <ian@gaes.griffin.peachnet.edu>
Subject: Historical PBP DNF rates
Cc: randon@cycling.org

From Chuck Bramwell's PBP page http://www.caltriplecrown.com/99PBP.htm

I've pulled the following DNF rates. The '99 DNF rate was as low as
any of the past three runnnings of PBP. The '79, and '83 PBPs had
very low DNF rates. You can't argue that as the field has expanded
more and more "marginal" riders are entering because looking further
back to '71 and '75 the DNF rates are back up towards 20%. Between
15% and 20% seems to be the usual DNF rate, with '79 and '83 as
exceptional years. Random variation, favourable weather, who knows?
Ian Flitcroft.

325 Cyclists Started
263 Cyclists Finished = 81%
62 Cyclists Did Not Finish = 19%

666 Cyclists Started -- 647 Men & 19 Women
554 Cyclists Finished = 83%
112 Cyclists Did Not Finish = 17%

1,766 Cyclists Started
1,572 Cyclists Finished = 89%
194 Cyclists Did Not Finish = 11%

2,106 Cyclists Started
1,895 Cyclists Finished = 90%
211 Cyclists Did Not Finish = 10%

2,597 Cyclists Started
2,104 Cyclists Finished = 81%
493 Cyclists Did Not Finish = 19%

3,281 Cyclists Started
2,618 Cyclists Finished = 80%
663 Cyclists Did Not Finish = 20%

2,976 Cyclists Signed Up
2,860 Cyclists Started -- 2694 Men & 166 Women
2,380 Cyclists Finished = 83%
480 Cyclists did not finish = 17%


...and then a followup from Bill Bryant:

From: "Bill Bryant" <wd_bryant@hotmail.com>
To: Randon@cycling.org
Subject: Re: DNF rates
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 07:42:10 PDT

I was the person who researched the historical data about PBP DNF
rates that has been quoted in Chuck Bramwell's website. It was
originally published in a 1997 issue of the International
Randonneurs Newsletter (can't remember which month). That is where
Chuck got this information. Here's a full picture of the DNF rates
for all the randonneur versions of PBP run by the ACP:


My two cents worth: Averaging all the ACP randonneur versions of PBP
since 1931, we see an overall rate DNF rate of 18.8%; so this year's
17% DNF is well within historical averages. I'm more interested in
why the 1979 and 1983 events did rather better than most other
modern events. It does seem most of the events with high numbers of
riders not making it back to Paris also had especially poor weather
(1931, 1956, 1961 fierce rain; 1966 hot temps). It was noted the
all-time best 8% DNF rate noted in 1948 also had favorable winds
most of the ride--to me, the ACP's stated goal of reaching 7% for
1999 was pretty unreasonable. Still, comparing the extreme DNF rates
noted in some of the early PBPs to the current steady trend of 17-
20% make me think today's randonneurs are well-prepared and just as
dedicated as our older breathren. It probably also means we have
been lucky in terms of weather.

Bill Bryant
Santa Cruz, California


Lots of discussion of DNFing at PBP in Gerry's folders I, J, K & L