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drop bag service or not on PBP?

Old 06-29-21, 02:58 PM
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unterhausen
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In 2019, I got to carhaix at just the right time and got a shower and cot right away. Huge line for food, so I waited to eat until after I slept. The worst waste of time was the bathrooms, but apparently I was drinking enough this time so I wasn't going to leave any solid offerings by the side of the road. I think the main thing about a shower is helping your sit area recover. I had problems with one of the shorts I rode with in 2011, and I think the shower was 100 percent necessary.

There is no reason to be too rushed on PBP. If you are so pressed for time that you can't take a shower or two, you are in trouble.

I don't recommend that PBP as your first 1200k. It was mine, and the whole thing was a bit of a mystery. Of course, it has been a lot of people's first and only.
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Old 06-29-21, 03:21 PM
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I planned to stop at Brest and sleep at a hotel in 2019 but I could not find the hotel. I planned to be there around 8 pm on Monday but due to excessive sleeping and excessive diarrhea, I was wandering around at 11 pm. Finally, I said, " fork it" and went to the control and ate. Went to the dorms and told the wait was hours. I laid down on the cold , empty floor and shivered violently. The Dorm Officer asked if I was ok, I said I am fine, just old (in french). He laughed his ass off. Two minutes later, he escorts me to a warm dorm room with four beds with an extra wool blanket. I asked for a 6:30 wake up. Shower was fine. I planned to ride back to start but had to sleep in Loudiac. Then, I got to Tintineac at like 7 pm Tuesday but could not keep my eyes open. So, I was the sole occupier of the wonderful dorm. I slept til 3 am and then tried to fix my bike, it would not shift to the small ring. (bottom bracket hosed with 5-8 mm play). Best part was seeing my Martha's Vineyard velomobile mate roll in and chatting with Bill. A highlight of the tour for sure. And then into the 38F dark and cold night, awaiting the dawn.

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Old 06-29-21, 09:00 PM
  #28  
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I don't know if I will be comfortable with public showers and cold water. I was lucky that when I DNF'd in Villaines in 2019, the showers were empty and I found one with hot water. Otherwise, I don't know if I would have showered. But on the bright side, with the weather over there I may not even need a shower.

It's a lot different here in my country where after a hot, humid and sweaty afternoon (or two), showering really makes a difference. During one 600k the hotel I stopped at even had a bathtub.
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Old 06-30-21, 05:14 AM
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Cold showers? Just get there sooner or ride harder.

If the concern is foot fungus, bring blue cleanroom booties for your feet. They can also be used to cover your socks, inside your cycling shoes if (when) it rains. Sort of a better bread bag.
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Old 06-30-21, 08:30 AM
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Villaines would be a nice place to sleep on the way back

Probably hadn't turned the hot water heater on in time for good hot water supply for riders on the way out.
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Old 06-30-21, 09:33 AM
  #31  
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I didn't use a drop bag in 2015, but my wife and sister (who speaks French) did a parallel vacation, meeting me in Fougères, Brest, and then Fougères again, which was really nice. It was my first PBP and 1200k, but I was also not sure whether I'd get another chance, so I was pretty determined to finish no matter what. I put up with insufficient clothing at night, only one change of shorts, imperfect saddle position leading to knee pain, dead weight of an incompatible battery pack (oops), lack of sleep, probably not enough calories, etc. We'd like to do it again in 2023, so I will be applying a lot of lessons learned!
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Old 07-07-21, 09:51 AM
  #32  
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I used the dropbag service from Baxter's and it was handy but two drop-bag for Baxter's made it more complicated. One of my bags was lost, dunno if I left it out at the last stop or they lost it but kind of sucks but it was my smaller bag so just a full kit but no jackets or anything. I also had an airbnb in Loudéac so I had a shower and quality sleep on the in and out. I also left my rain gear in the dropbag but it would have been nice in 2019 in the cold fog. Next time I won't bother with the dropbag but would still try and get a room. Might be fun to ride it supported by camper van.

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Old 07-07-21, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
I used the dropbag service from Baxter's and it was handy but two drop-bag for Baxter's made it more complicated. One of my bags was lost, dunno if I left it out at the last stop or they lost it but kind of sucks but it was my smaller bag so just a full kit but no jackets or anything. I also had an airbnb in Loudéac so I had a shower and quality sleep on the in and out. I also left my rain gear in the dropbag but it would have been nice in 2019 in the cold fog. Next time I won't bother with the dropbag but would still try and get a room. Might be fun to ride it supported by camper van.
In 2015 I briefly rode with a club from Hamburg. Their support teams had a couple small motorhomes. Everything was laid out for the riders at the control, chairs with water, food, night kit, etc. Very professional. They all had beautiful club jerseys. The boss had a massive gold rope necklace around his neck that must have weighed a kilo and seeing that thing swing side to side on climbs was a sight. But, having support would be a nice way to ride it. I have been trying to figure how old I have to be to justify to myself bringing a support crew. Tons of riders have support especially the 80H riders.
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Old 07-07-21, 02:57 PM
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I think having support like that would almost be more stressful than not. But private bathrooms would be nice.
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Old 07-08-21, 05:30 AM
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What is stressful about pulling into a control and having a chair laid out for you and someone handing you food. You get your card stamped and you are gone in 5 minutes and that is a long stop to faire le pee pee.

I know what is more stressful. The food stops at controls not open yet and riding all the way to Loudiac with no food. That is awful.
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Old 07-08-21, 06:55 AM
  #36  
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I don't know anyone that would do it that wouldn't have problems navigating rural Brittany in a camper. If they missed a control, then I would worry until I heard from them. It was bad enough having my family there since they couldn't figure out what to do in Paris for 3 days and were galivanting around Europe looking for someone that spoke English.
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Old 07-08-21, 08:15 AM
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I think a camper is over the top, I wouldn't do that. Just a car with three drivers would be nice. I've thought about it in the past and I'd have support resting at Villaine with my night kit, food, water, etc. I'd take enough fuel to get to Loudeac. Support would go directly from Villaine to Loudeac and rest. After Loudeac, they would go to Carhaix, Brest, Carhaix, Loudeac, Tintineac, Fougeres, Villaines. You are right, Carhaix would be the difficult one for the support due to the roads but the 100 miles from Loudeac to Breast and then the return are pretty hard for the rider, too. If someone (other than a Bijorn) wants to ride a very fast one, support is almost a requirement.

In my opinion, hotel rooms are not needed if you know which controls have the good sleeping places and you plan your ride to not coincide with the bulge. I reserved a hotel in Brest but could not find it but it was a lovely little bonus tour trying to locate it. I slept in Fougeres, Brest, and Tintineac in 2019 and also twice on the steeply banked lawn facing the school in Loudeac. Fougeres is best to avoid because you are on a gym floor and they give everyone space blankets but even with earplugs, it is noisy and cold. The other two were really, really good.
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Old 07-09-21, 02:25 PM
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Sure would be nice to sleep somewhere other than Loudeac, but by the time I get there I'm ready for a shower and a nap.

I was hoping to make it to St Nick on the way out and someone almost talked me into going to Tintineac on the way back, but it didn't work out that way.
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Old 07-09-21, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Sure would be nice to sleep somewhere other than Loudeac, but by the time I get there I'm ready for a shower and a nap.

I was hoping to make it to St Nick on the way out and someone almost talked me into going to Tintineac on the way back, but it didn't work out that way.
How about doing the last 84H wave, stopping early at Tintineac for say 3- 5 hours. The dorm will be empty. This however would mean leaving there fairly early and riding to Brest in order to make the intermediate time cut. Then, ride back leisurely well behind the bulge with many sleeping options. An empty control is much faster than one filled with 1,200 riders. It might not quite make up the 6 hours but I suspect it would be close. I have seen the bulge on the road and also once at Loudeac on the return and it has to be a huge time suck...?? I was in the 84H start in 1995 and the controls were empty until I got to Loudeac around sunset and it was an utter zoo even back then, so, avoiding sleeping there is probably a good idea.
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Old 07-09-21, 05:40 PM
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The advantage of the 90 hour start, which I didn't fully appreciate until 2019, is that the wind dies down when the sun goes down. I started in the first 90 hour group and it was brutal, between the people that wanted to set a record (why not the 80 hour group then?) and the wind. And it took 3 hours before the wind died down to a reasonable level. I have thought about doing 84 hours, but never have for various reasons.
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Old 07-13-21, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
... I have thought about doing 84 hours, but never have for various reasons.
DO you mind sharing what those reasons are? I'm torn between 90 and 84 hour start times for my first PBP. Seems to be a lot of advantages to the 84hr.
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Old 07-13-21, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
The advantage of the 90 hour start, which I didn't fully appreciate until 2019, is that the wind dies down when the sun goes down. I started in the first 90 hour group and it was brutal, between the people that wanted to set a record (why not the 80 hour group then?) and the wind. And it took 3 hours before the wind died down to a reasonable level. I have thought about doing 84 hours, but never have for various reasons.
That's interesting. In 2015, I ended up riding through every night as I was unprepared for the cold and just kept riding to stay warm. As a result, almost all of my naps were during the day. I wonder if that helped me more than I realize.

As someone who really enjoys his sleep, the 84-hour plan sounds really great on paper (ride mostly during the day and sleep a few hours each night), but now you've got me thinking about what to do for 2023...
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Old 07-13-21, 10:05 AM
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Wind typically dies down at night everywhere but not always. The fast kids in the 80H start at 4 pm and have two nights of riding but only one full day, but more importantly they are doing the windiest parts of the course at night.

One benefit to an afternoon/evening start is being able to sleep and if you are jet lagged, a 3 am wakeup call to make a 5 am 84H start is going to be rude. If your hotel is near the start, not so bad.

I think the big disadvantage of the 84H start is catching the wave of slower 90H riders. They are starting say 7-10 pm. You as a successful 84H will catch many of them and be right in the bulge. If you start at 5 am, most 84H riders will get to 447KM control, Loudeac, somewhere a little after midnight and the thought of tackling the hills into Carahaix or St. Nicholas won't be so appealing. Loudeac will be filled with 90H riders and a few faster 80H returning riders. Maybe 2,000 riders or more than 1000 for sure. If a 84H rider stops to sleep earlier at Tintineac or the special sleep stop between loudeac and tinteniac, you can't do a long sleep because you also have to make the intermediate controls. I do not have an 84H card in front of me but it would be something like 39 hours to Brest and 45 hours for the return. If you get to Tintineac at 8-9 pm (360 km about) and sleep until 2 am, you will stay behind the bulge but you then have to pretty much ride the 240km right to Brest but you will have time. Loudeac to Brest is a hillier section. Personally, I think this is a reasonable strategy if you can wake and go at 2-3 am. Leaving at 5-6 am from Tinteneac is a risk. In 2015 on my return leg, I did see outgoing strong looking 84H riders between Loudeac and Tinteneac at 2-4 am. This is not a strategy for everyone but I think it is possible to mostly ride in daylight and have time to stop at cafes to eat, for the efficient and experienced randonneur. Some controls will start to run out of food, too. An advantage is less overall night riding but it can also be very warm during the day. It was into the mid 90's during the day in 1995.

The wind was ridiculous in 2019 except for the very fastest riders who reached Brest soon enough to have a tailwind. I was pretty slow due to sleeping problems but I got some tail utnil almost Carhaix. I even managed to top more than 60 mph on one hill with a helping wind. Then, it was a headwind all the way home. The 84H riders had the best wind conditions in 2019.....their last 24 hours, it was relatively benign.

In case someone reads this in the future, low temps on my Garmin in 2015 were 40F and 38F in 2019. It was much more damp in 2015 with condensing all over me. Damp in 2019 but not condensing on my cycling glasses. Dress warm. If you are from Florida or someplace like that, bring lots of warm clothing

Pauls lays the different start groups out well, I think anyway...

PBP Planning: What Start Time Is Right for Me? | Central Florida Randonneurs
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Old 07-13-21, 10:18 AM
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Here is Paul's account of the 84H start in 2011.

https://thedailyrandonneur.wordpress...n-epic-report/
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Old 07-13-21, 12:02 PM
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Great stuff, GhostRider62 . Always love hearing The Octopus's take on these things, too.

I feel like CampyOnlyGuy Eric was the one who got me interested in the 84-hour group.
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Old 07-13-21, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Great stuff, GhostRider62 . Always love hearing The Octopus's take on these things, too.
Is that Paul's nickname?

He makes some mean chili. His january 19/20 200k 300k rides are fantastic escapes from the cold
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Old 07-13-21, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Is that Paul's nickname?

He makes some mean chili. His january 19/20 200k 300k rides are fantastic escapes from the cold
Yeah, he hasn't posted as much lately, but his threads on fixed-gear climbing and fixed-gear long-distance riding are pretty legendary here.

I haven't met him in person, but I'm pretty sure he was the one riding to the bike inspection a few bikes ahead of me in 2015, and at the same restaurant as my wife and I later on that night. Tall, chatty, sorta loud guy, rides a fixie?
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There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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Old 07-13-21, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Yeah, he hasn't posted as much lately, but his threads on fixed-gear climbing and fixed-gear long-distance riding are pretty legendary here.

I haven't met him in person, but I'm pretty sure he was the one riding to the bike inspection a few bikes ahead of me in 2015, and at the same restaurant as my wife and I later on that night. Tall, chatty, sorta loud guy, rides a fixie?
Some stout posts there.

A great guy (for an attorney). I spent a lot of time talking with him and having some stellar brew after brevets as everyone was finishing.

I hope to be able to do his 200/300K this winter.
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Old 07-18-21, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
The 84H riders had the best wind conditions in 2019.....their last 24 hours, it was relatively benign.
This is certainly not true. In fact, quite the contrary. The headwind was on from the start, and lasted all the way to Loudeac. I was in better shape, and it still took me a couple hour longer than 2015, and a lot more effort. You would think there would be more organized pacelines in the headwind, but it seemed everyone was demoralized and there was not a lot of group riding.

Note that 84H group basically finishes around the same time as the 90H group, so the last 24 hours can't be an advantage. In 2019, I was shocked to start passing 90H starters way before Fougeres.
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Old 07-18-21, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MetinUz View Post
This is certainly not true. In fact, quite the contrary. The headwind was on from the start, and lasted all the way to Loudeac. I was in better shape, and it still took me a couple hour longer than 2015, and a lot more effort. You would think there would be more organized pacelines in the headwind, but it seemed everyone was demoralized and there was not a lot of group riding.

Note that 84H group basically finishes around the same time as the 90H group, so the last 24 hours can't be an advantage. In 2019, I was shocked to start passing 90H starters way before Fougeres.
84H riders must finish by 5 pm on Thursday. My 90H group had to finish by 11:15 am Thursday. I finished Wednesday just before sunset and the last 5-6 hours, the wind was much lower but still a headwind. When I woke the next day, it was modest. Then, there was a touch of rain and at least in Rambouillet, there was no noticeable wind.

The headwind out to Brest switched to a tailwind to Brest (and headwind for those returning) mid morning on Tuesday. I was still seeing a lot of 84h riders going towards Brest on Tuesday and they most assuredly had a helping tailwind off the right hip. When they arrived to Brest, sure, they also had the headwind for the return but it moderated significantly for their last 24 hours. So, I suppose it depends when an 84H did most of their riding or sleeping and at what time they finished. Probably not easy to generalize, but that is how I saw it.

I saw a ton of group riding amongst the 80H riders, it was annoying how they would take the whole road, gutter to gutter. As a somewhat faster recumbent rider, it was impossible to pass them and if I could, they would catch me on climbs.....rinse, repeat. I eventually just slowed down. It took me much longer to get to Fougeres than planned. Maybe just under 11 hours, previous two times were 9:43 and 9:03. I think it was a hard 1220km. I also recorded over 40,000 feet of climbing, much more than in 2015.

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