Andrew with fellow PBP hopeful Leonard at the National 600 sleep stop in 2018

So I drop into Joe Dalys for an impulse bottom bracket, as you do and Louise is calling me out “I have an article in my head about the PBP 2019 and you nutters but I need someone to write it;)” Meanwhile Dave is very calmly suggesting to Louise she should stop abusing the customers. So I use the distraction to escape but she is right, there is a story to tell about the PBP.

A little about the event:

The PBP is the Paris Brest Paris, probably the worlds oldest bicycle race in existence, although not a race in the professional sense these days there is still a first person past the post and the glory that goes with it. It is a Brevet event which is a long distance cycling course with a time limit. A special emphases placed on self-reliance. Once its starts you are expected to fend for yourself. Food, accommodation, navigation and repairs are the radonneurs responsibility. There is a time limit but no competition for completion, for the PBP that time limit is 90 hours for 1200 Klm.

In August there will be 6000 participants from roughly 70 countries starting the event. It takes place every four years and last time 44 Irish riders completed the course. This year there will be 13 riders from Orwell attempting to complete the event. Its possible the club will provide 20% of the Irish riders who have qualified.

Each rider will have to progress through controls points along the course getting their Brevet Card stamped at each control point to prove passage. Along the way there will be volunteers manning sports halls and schools to provide food, sleep and showers to the participants.

It's a long and challenging road to Paris!

PBP is more than "just" 1200kms in August, there is a lot of work to be done before you even get a chance to enter. It is a two part process.

The year before PBP: Getting to the point of taking part riders must qualify in the previous years with a 300, 400, 600 or 1000 Klm event to gain admission. Entries are opened in stages with the riders with the longer routes being offered pre-entries first. Those having completed a long event have a better chance of entry then a rider that completes a 200 qualifying ride.

In the year of the PBP a rider must complete a 200, 300, 400 and 600 to take his place on the start line. At the moment most of the thirteen completed their 400 on Saturday when they rode the National 400 run by Scott Orwell Wheelers. This will see most of them ¾ of the way to qualifying.

How did 13 “nutters” get to the point to take on this historic event? Its probably best to let each of them tell their own tale - Valerie, Tara, Andrew, Leonard, Joe, Kashif, Ken, Colin, Tony, Danny, John, Michael and Dave Mc.

More from Andrew soon in the second of his Road to PBP Series

Some of the team at the initial planning meeting last year, missing are Dave Mc, Kashif, Michael and John