PBP Stories -1999

BC Randonneurs Cycling Club

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

This is probably one of the most talked about rider accounts of PBP '99. It concerns the alleged shenanigans that effected, among others, 3-time PBP 'winner' Scott Dickson. The account by Richard Boettner is framed by a message from Jennifer Wise. (Boettner is from the Davis Bike Club in California and was finisher #100 in PBP '99, in a zippy 56:02.)

Date: Sun, 05 Sep 1999 08:19:03 -0400
From: Jennifer Wise <wise@edgenet.net>
To: PhidoTP@aol.com
Cc: ultra@cycling.org, RANDON LIST <randon@cycling.org>
Subject: Re: PBP

Your account of activities at the front of the PBP pack tracks
accurately with what I was told by Scott and Marsha Dickson.

And their account, was told to me, with no animosity toward the
French riders, what-so-ever, which I found amazing.

Scott has written down an account of what happened and turned it
over to a friend who lives in France and who promises to present
Scott's testimonial to the ACP "under the right conditions" or when
the time is appropriate.

Scott seems to take everything that happened in stride, with no

A true show of great sportsmanship, in my book.

Jennifer Wise

PhidoTP@aol.com wrote:
> I was recently forwarded some comments regarding Scott Dickson
> and this year's PBP ride. Pardon the length of my comments, but I
> have tried to fully and accurately explain what occurred from the
> point of view of a rider caught in the mix.
> First of all, I rode with Scott for the first 300 miles of the
> ride when my control card flew out on a downhill just past the
> Loudeac control and I was forced to retrieve it. The group was
> attacking at this point and I blew up in my attempt to return to
> what I felt was the legitimate front group.
> As was stated in the message forwarded to me, the front group was
> indeed sent on a detour by what looked like an official course
> marshall some time after the Mortagne feed zone. This detour
> added nearly 10 miles to our distance and cost us 25 or so
> minutes. The motorcycles, which had been riding with the lead
> peleton, had disappeared some time earlier so we were riding
> without escort when we encountered the car with its bright beams
> aimed at us blocking the road ahead. It had official markings
> all over the car and they directed us to make a right turn. We
> were a group of 80 riders or so at the time and no non-French
> speaker was going to question the directions we were given.
> After traveling for 2 miles or so, we came upon an unmarked
> intersection (none of the roads were marked on our detour) and
> the peleton came to a stop as the French speakers argued as to
> which way we should go. No official car or motorcycle accompanied
> us on this detour; we were more or less at the mercy of the
> majority rule. Eventually we worked our way back to the official
> route, but not until the additional mileage and time had been
> added.
> No one else I talked to was directed on this lengthy detour, and
> friends who were in the 80 hour group but were not with the lead
> peleton gained 25-30 minutes on us between the controls where the
> detour took place. Additionally, and most importantly, we were in
> the lead before this detour according to our sag support, and
> then we were suddenly 20 minutes behind a group of 9 after this
> detour. I talked with Scott frequently during the ride and after
> the ride. We were shocked to suddenly find ourselves suddenly
> behind a group. Our only conclusion was that the group of 9 did
> not take the detour. Why? How? I do not know, but they could not
> have taken the detour with us and gained so much time.
> As to why an official complaint was not submitted. As far as I
> know Scott did have discussions with some of the powers that be
> and was encouraged to submit his observations in writing, I do
> not know if he did so. In addition, this event was just one of
> several "discrepancies" which occurred during the ride.
> When we entered Fougeres, key arrows in a round-a-bout were
> missing. We entered a round-a-bout and with no direction given
> just continued straight ahead; unfortunately, this led us to the
> exit route from the control and town so the peleton now had
> arrows to follow, just not arrows that would lead us towards the
> control. We went on a 5+ minute wild goose chase around the city
> until we were finally given correct directions to the control.
> This was especially taxing given the need to be one of the first
> at the controls. Contrary to what was said in the comments I
> received, action at the controls was complete pandemonium. The
> lead group of 9 may have been able to take it easy, but the main
> peleton sprinted into and out of controls with complete abandon
> at least as far as Loudeac. Words could not sufficiently
> describe what it was like to be caught up in the riot scene to
> get into and out of the control as quickly as possible.
> The following discrepancies occurred after I was dropped by the
> "lead" group and were related to me by Scott and Marsha, his wife
> who was part of his sag support.
> A lone rider, who Marsha had never seen before with any of the
> lead riders, was the first to arrive at Brest enjoyed a few
> interviews with the press before completely disappearing, not to
> be seen again on the ride. The group of 4 which had broken clear
> of the original group of 9 stood around Brest for 10 minutes
> giving interviews while the shrinking peleton ate into their
> lead. I can not understand how these riders could be so confident
> as to piss away a good portion of they lead at the half-way point
> of the ride. Additionally, Scott spoke of riders without number
> placards (non registered riders) who participated in the long
> climbs leaving Brest, helping riders pace themselves up the
> hills. Other riders told me of repeated assistance from sag
> vehicles along the course away from the controls, although no one
> could confirm this among the lead riders.
> Lastly, it was clear to me that this ride was Scott versus every
> French rider. He was a marked man to the nth degree. At one
> point in the ride a small group had splintered from our "lead"
> group and none of the other riders would assist in reeling in
> this breakaway group before they got out of sight. Scott and I
> rotated pulls on our own with a final surge by another American
> rider to bring the breakaway group in. From that point on, I
> could feel the eyes of the French riders on me, and one of them
> even turned to me and called me the little lieutenant. This was
> more a tribute to the intensity of which they feared Scott than
> to my meager abilities, but it demonstrated to me the extent to
> which there was no way they were going to assist Scott in any
> way, even if it benefitted them as well.
> Again, contrary to what was said in previous comments, Scott was
> indeed up to the challenge of repeating, but try to picture a
> race involving only two teams. One lone rider versus 20 or 30
> very strong riders who are committed to you not winning. If
> Scott had somehow found his way to the front, I have little doubt
> that a concentrated team effort using whatever means necessary
> would have saw to it that he didn't stay there.
> I dearly hope I have not spoken out of turn, or used information
> that was given to me in confidence. Scott and Marsha are
> incredible people and I am extremely grateful for all the help
> they gave me and my friends. I have done my best to accurately
> portray the events as I saw them and would be happy to hear
> comments from informed first hand sources, or at least second
> hand information which can be directly linked to a first person.
> Richard Boettner, Davis Bike Club member and 1999 PBP participant