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Only 19 Months Away!
by E.W (Wim) Kok

        There was one item in the summary of minutes of the January 2006 BC Randonneurs Board meeting that caught my attention and got me quite excited. No need to worry; no contentious issue. There it was, the first sign of PBP fever. It will strike again. Who will catch the bug this time? The minutes noted "we will be making a motel booking in France for PBP 2007". Wow! Already, it is only January 2006. While it seems so far away. Then when I started counting the months left, I could not get beyond 19! Wait a minute, how many nights of sleep (and without) is that?

        Images of PBP 2003 came as flashbacks. Come to think of it, I don't think the fever ever left me. Just very fond memories of this event. Having done a few of long brevets over the last few years, this one is more special than the other special ones. PBP has a magic and a mystery of its own. It is an event steeped in history. The history of the rise of the bicycle, the history of competitive bicycle racing, the Tour de France, Bordeaux -Paris, and other classics. Only one precedes them all. PBP! Pronounce it slowly P....B.....P; then go for the three words in full: Paris- Brest-Paris, and let it sink in. 1891 the first; 1901 the second and the story continues; it evolves from a competitive event to one for marathon cycling -- randonneuring - but without the competitive edge. Some of the great cyclists who won and/or participated in the Tour cut their teeth in PBP.

        Everyone who has ever participated still smell the sweat, the agony, the drama, the victory and the glory of those and later days. It all came back after reading the note in the minutes. The other item that stoked my excitement was the 2005 LEL DVD I recently received in the mail. British Randonneur Damon Peacock made an hour long DVD. It first provides LEL history, and then follows the event along the route. The only BC Randonneur starring is Dave Kirsop, cycling very strong. The DVD provides a good impression of the route, the roads, some of the controls and the landscape of rural Britain. Damon provides the commentary, he inter-views riders and features organizers and volunteers. A great memento. Worthwhile for anyone considering this event in 2009 (42 months away and counting)

        When I opened the case, it also had a bonus: a 2003 PBP DVD. Damon's 1-hour long footage includes video images of British PBP qualifiers, 11 minutes on the 2003 PBP Prologue, 18 minutes on PBP itself and a few other items. While watching it late one night, I suddenly jumped up and said something like 'hey I know this guy, he looks so familiar' and then I burst about laughing, for only then did I recognize 'this guy' being interviewed while riding the Prologue. It was me. No vanity here. In the excitement I responded 'from the Netherlands', only to correct it with no, I mean Canada - obvious, because the Canadian PBP jersey gave it away. Anyway this DVD is quite neat. Good for reliving the event and capturing its spirit. It shows BC Randonneurs Tina Hoeben, Sarah Tenant, Clyde Scollan and a few other Canadians. The DVDs are available from Damon Peacock, 12 Sandy Lane, LEYLAND. PR25 2EB United Kingdom. The cost is a little over 12 British pounds, including postage and handling. Contact Damon for details.


January 12, 2006