PBP Stories -1999

BC Randonneurs Cycling Club

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

From: "Bengt Sandborgh" <bsandborgh@swipnet.se>
To: "Randon" <randon@cycling.org>
Subject: PBP 1999
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1999 14:14:41 +0200

Hi all!

Here is a short report on my PBP 1999.

This was my second PBP and what a different one it turned out to be.
In '95 I had absolutely no problems with anything. Finished feeling
good and ready to turn out to Brest again if someone had asked me

This time I had a flat between Villaines and Fougeres. My own fault,
it was due to a wrongly mounted tube. And just outside Tintiniac the
real trouble. I had, what I thought was a broken spoke in the rear
wheel. When inspecting I found out it was much worse. The hub flange
on the drive side had broken and taken 2 spokes with it. A third
spoke hang in half a hole. I had 10k back to Tintiniac and 70 k to
Loudeac. I was not mentally prepared to go the wrong way so after
truing the wheel as good as it would I headed for Loudeac. Here I
managed to buy a new rear wheel and everything looked good again.

I felt I had lost so much time so I skipped my first planned sleep
in Carhaix and took a couple of minutes of powernapping in a door
frame in Huelgoat.instead. When I approached Brest I was caught in a
tremendous downpour. The road was covered in an inch of streaming
water on the long, long climb up to the controle.

The return was uneventful but much harder than the last time. After
a 5 hour sleep in Tintiniac we rode all the way to Paris and
finished 4.06 am on Friday. A total time of 71 hours and 6 minutes
(I was in the blue group, 84h) Over 4 h slower than last time but
hey, what to expect from someone who spent February and March on
crutches after a knee fracture. And the good ACP had made the course
over 30 key longer. I had 1238 km on the computer at the finish.

But what an event. France and the French was doing everything
possible and really offering their best. The small groups of people
on the roadside offering courage, coffee and water all hours. And
the kids doing 'high-five' with everyone passing. As someone coming
from a country where cycling is not a big sport I am awed over the
interest and admiration everyone is shoving. When you stop and have
a cup of coffee at someone's little table the kids eyes are cleaming
and they are really proud over that you have chosen to stop at their
table. This is what PBP is all about, this is what makes one wants
to come back.

I am already longing for the comradeship of the road and the spirit
of PBP. The hills of Brittany I will soon have forgotten.


All the very good and fit women. Awesome people zipping up the
hills. And the tandems. Really screaming downhill while the stoker
is calmly peeling a banana. And the noisy Americans. Why is it that
if there are 2 Americans in a room full of people you can always
hear them over everyone else? And who was responsible for the bad
arrowing between Mortagne and Nogent on the return. You where so
spoiled with the perfect arrowing on the rest of the course that it
was really annoying and scaring.

Lights. My Lumotec with 4.4W bulb, SAFT lithium and Willie Hunt LVR2
worked perfect. It was designed to last the whole ride without ever
needing to replace batteries. It shined bright and good all the way
to the street lights of Paris. But when parking the bike at the
finish the batteries was empty! Talk about perfect timing. A bit to
close of course but I was out in the dark more hours than planned.

I happened to meet a couple of people on this list face to face.
Nice to get a face to all the addresses. I bumped into a couple of
people from ´95. PBP is like a family reunion!

I am now in possession of a Davis Bike Club PBP jersey. So if you
see a Sweden PBP jersey in the San Francisco area you know who whore
it for 1200k!


Bengt Sandborgh
Stockholm, Sweden

PS A tip for flying home with your bike: If you check in really late
they will not have time to load it on the plane and they will
deliver it to your doorstep the next day! ;-> DS