Six Things I Loved About Paris-Brest-Paris

Words and Photography by Jenny Hatfield

Countless hours, millions of calories and thousands of training miles over nearly three years finally culminated in me successfully qualifying for Paris-Brest-Paris, a challenging 1230 kilometer ride – or 764 miles — that occurs every four years. It’s considered the signature event for randonneurs, or long-distance endurance riders, that draws nearly 6000 cyclists from 60 countries in the world. This August, I flew to France with 69 other members from my home club, the San Francisco Randonneurs, to partake in this historic ride.

While it’s still very much a niche sport, randonneuring has grown in popularity over the years, as has Paris-Brest-Paris since its inception in 1891 when it began as a professional race. (It’s now only open to amateurs, although some do treat it still as such.) Certainly the grueling nature of this discipline contributes to its smaller ranks; cyclists must ride a full “super randonneur” series within the same calendar year as PBP in order to qualify: 200k (125 miles), 300k (186 miles), 400 (248 miles) and 600k (373 miles). But the toughest part is completing them within …read more

From:: Pretty Damned Fast