International Kicksled and Scooter Association

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Published August 25 2003

Alpo's Paris-Brest-Paris report 25.8.2003 , Alabama, USA

Howdy all!

Sorry not to write sooner but I've been busy (to sleep) lately.

So PBP is through in good time and I'm happy to finally made it. Actually I set it as some kind of goal already 1999 when there was a story of previous edition in Finnish newspaper. I'm writing this at library internet machine in Alabama. 1/2 hour time. US tour has started well, except I really missed the plane as someone (John?) guessed. No bigger trouble: 100$ extra and next flight 2 hours later.

PBP report: Great event. big enough crowds. good atmosphere. Starting 21.45 in 300 rider pack with all the weirdos: recumbents, tandems, three wheelers & me. Starting 15-60 minutes behind us was the main pack of cyclists, about 2000 of them. There were lots of riders on the road all through the first night and this of course made me exceed my sensible speed.

I went through 100km point at average speed of 25,5km/h and reached first food post at Mortagne au Perche (140km) in 6 hours. Later speed settled and all the control points and fueling stops took their time. In PBP organizers offer restaurants, but there can be lineups and the fastest way to get food is usually stop at some small shop en route.

Calculating my progress I saw that well below 90hour time was possible but knew also that I'll be paying for the fast start. And I was. First evening was really hard and despite that I did 480km in 24hours. If ridden supported and no need to continue next morning I'm positive I would have broken 24hour record with effort I made. Night stop was at Carhaix after 530km and 27 hours. After 4,5 hour sleep ride went on towards Brest and I noticed speed was 15km/h and still kicking felt pretty hard.

At Brest I ate well and got real morale boost knowing I'm now halfway done and only need to kick back the same route I just did. Speed and effort settled to nice 19km/h at power I felt I could maintain as long as there was something to eat. Because of slow morning I only made it to Tinteniac for next night stop.

2,5 hours of sleep and 366km to go. I thought to ride to finish non- stop and started easily. Day was really nice with some tailwind. Overall the weather was extremely good during whole PBP. Only night temperatures were on low side. Mortagne au Perche (140 to go) was just when night fell. All the way people and other riders had been very interested in Kickbike and probably took hundreds of photos in total. I estimate 1 hour of riding time was used to answering questions about kicking. \ (unfortunately mostly: is that hard? -> as hard as you want to make it. Speedwise you ride about 20km while racing biker does 30km do you go through many pairs of shoes? -> pair of shoes lasts as long as 4 sets of tires. These ones have now been used for 15000km)

On last stops I was so tired I just left Kickbike outside and went self to back corner of restaurant where I could eat and rest in peace. Standard crowd around Kickbike outside was 20-40 persons.

Last night started well with hilly terrain and high power kicking but later when roads got flat (this 60km section was the only flat one in entire PBP) and temperatures dropped I began to think about night stop after all. Energy and muscles were ok but my feet were aching enough to make fast kicking quite a pain. Temperature dropped all the way to 7 degrees centigrade and I really couldn't maintain high enough pace to keep me warm. About 4am I decided to stop at Nogent le Roi only 60km from finish and wait for morning, light and warm. Last strecth was pretty easy then. speeds again at 20km/h and nice sunshine. Scenery was beautiful too. Finishing is nice moment but I've had this same on previous ultra- rides. the good feeling comes slowly. I'm too tired to really feel extatic at the moment ride is over.

Overall: hard ride, 85hours is good, possible to do in 72 hours. This requires good support and keeping on well planned pace schedule. Biggest problems: 1) feet. banging asphalt nearly continuously for 3 days maybe reqires softer shoes, or more training. 2) rough roads. asphalt is really not smooth here. I broke two spokes when speeding downhills in dark and left little finger is still numb. 3) long nights. It gets dark at 21.30 and light at 6.30. Night is relatively cold. 4) Weather. was excellent this time but one day of rain could make ride wery hard indeed.

After ride met one biker who was keen on entering PBP next time with Kickbike. How about you? Event is really great with all the people wathing the race as it passes throug small villages. Kids selling juice at 10c a glass Farmers and wifes offering cake for free etc. Though with Kickbike it's so hard that enjoying all the atmosphere is difficult. Thanks for following me and encouragements I got by SMS!

Now heading for New Orleans, Alpo


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