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Deirdre's PBP 2023
Deirdre had a lot of family moral support for this year's Paris-Brest Paris, her 10th finish. She needed a message that relayed her experience to everyone. This is it. I asked if I could put it in the newsletter. She said yes. [EF]
Thank you all for following us on the ride!
Yes, #10 and I was so lucky that Nigel Press, one of the fastest in our club, asked me to ride with him on his super-duper tandem. You’ve all heard the expression “team work makes the dream work”. Well, riding tandem is team work and that team includes our partners Bob LePage and Cheryl Lynch who have had to put up with us being out training all the time for the last couple of years. Nigel has used up most of his vacation to come and ride PBP. More time with me instead of his partner. Bob and Cheryl share the same birthday. We will celebrate with them soon. Happy Birthday!
We are an unlikely combination. Nigel is like a high powered machine. I call him the Ferrari engine and on the back, I’m more like “Thomas the Train”, putt-putting away. There was excitement and trepidation as we crossed the start line but within an hour Nigel could not talk. Very suddenly he had a bad cold. Later his sinuses were filled. I don’t know how he kept going. The Ferrari was not firing on all cylinders but he was still putting out a huge amount of power. He wanted to continue.
The tandem caught people’s attention. Titanium? Yes! Coupled? Yes! Fits in two suitcases? Yes! Timing belt instead of a chain. Nigel designed it with a bicycle version of AutoCAD and communicated with a factory in China to get the frame built. When we stopped, there was often a crowd of admirers around the bike. As we went through the villages the onlookers yelled “Tandem, Tandem. Bonne Route. Bon Courage”.
Obviously I love this ride and it is the people of Normandie and Brittany who really make it special. One evening, when his cold was really getting to him, Nigel suggested a quick nap on the roadside. There was no one in sight and we had barely laid down when a man came running up. Do you need blanket? A few minutes later he throws “the magic blanket” over us and sets his alarm to wake us up! Twenty minutes later we are on our way feeling totally refreshed!
I knew that I would probably have a little cry at the end of my last PBP but I was taken aback when the tears started to flow about 250 km out! My last time stopping at the crepe stand in La Tannière! Every edition since I started in 1987(!) a family has made crepes and coffee in their garage for the riders. In return, they ask for a postcard from the rider’s hometown. I have seen them grow old. I’m no longer that young woman from 1987 for that matter. The walls of their garage are covered in postcards from the previous edition. My last time … My last time riding over the bridge where we placed some of Roger Street’s ashes in the flower boxes. I also thought of each of the wonderful riding partners that I have had over the years at PBP. Also the people of Normdanie and Brittany who are really proud that this event has rolled through since 1891. It brings out the best in them. My last time to experience their warmth and encouragement.
Yup, we were quite the sight. Nigel sniffling on the front and me sniveling on the back! Get it together I told myself. You’re just wasting energy crying away.
There are so many hills on this route and we had headwinds in both directions but it is the interactions with the people that stand out in my mind.
Thank you all for your encouragement and support. It means a lot to me. Huge thanks to Bob, Nigel and Cheryl!!!!