August 1999: My story of my first Paris Brest Paris

Four years ago, I lived in Saint Quentin en Yvelines and I was amazed to see so many cyclists ready to go for this long trip. In 1995 I was too young with my first 200 kms two months before to leave with them. So I watched the departure and I returned alone to my home.

From 1995 to 1999, year after year, I learnt how to ride during long time. I left Saint Quentin en Yvelines to move in Grenoble and I discovered long trips through the mountains. Bordeaux-Paris 600kms, Bordeaux-Apt 840kms, Lyon Mont-Blanc Lyon 500kms, Bordeaux-Puy de Dome 540kms and so on. It permitted to me to prepare PBP 1999. I decided to complete the four brevets near Grenoble. The routes were lovely, 200kms around La Chartreuse, 300kms along Le Rhône, 400kms around Le Vercors and La Chartreuse, 600kms in Switzerland and accross Le Jura. At the beginning of August 1999, I was ready for the PBP with a little injury in my left knee and I was tired !

I traveled from Grenoble to Saint Quentin en Yvelines by train and I started the trip with Jeannine (2681), with the 10:00pm start, having ride the prologue. This woman wanted to complete PBP with me but I ride too slowly for her. When she told me she rode 100 kms with an average speed of 27 km/h, I told her she could go faster than me. I repaired her generator in Montfort L'Amaury (30 kms, 20 miles after the start) and finally she left me just before Mortagne au Perche. Actually I learnt her goal was to fight men in climbs ! (Don't you Jeanine ...)

I was riding alone early in the Tuesday morning when I met the Israel man with his Cannondale white bicycle. He was alone and seemed to have many difficulties in climbing up. We had a talk and he knew the random mailing list. Further on the route, I was photographed by a Helsinski rider, Jouko LESKELA (3857) who owned a digital camera.. I continued my road, eating in Vilaines. Just before Ambrieres I met Gordon, a man without number who rode the PBP only for the fun. It was the time of the two first photos. I reached Fougeres at 05:00 pm and when I left this control, I met a man of 62 years old, Jean-Noel. He rode during the morning with the "National Jeannine" and we discussed together. We planned to complete the PBP together by sleeping 2 hours in Loudeac. We reached Tinteniac at 08:00 pm and Jean-Noel couldn't eat pasta and I drank hot soup and had pasta.

After Tinteniac, I really enjoyed contemplating the sunset with the beautiful weather. In Grenoble the sunset lasts only 10 minutes due to the mountains. The sun was red on the horizon. We began to rode together and in Quedillac, Jean-Noel discovered a terrible injury in his knee. Suddendly he decided to stop PBP here and I continued alone in the dark. Further I met Gordon again but I lost him later. When I began to sleep on the bike, I stopped and I waited for the following cyclist to chat. It was an American girl who yawned too much. With a beautiful voice she asked me if I wanted to talk with her. I accepted but it was difficult to ride and to speak english in the middle of the night. I arrived in Loudeac at 02:00 am. I slept one hour and a half.

When I woke up, the weather was calm, but it was different in my stomach ! I was terribly sick and I vommit. The decision was hard to take but I prefered to stop here rather to have an accident later on the route. I enjoy riding and I love my blue bicycle, I didn't want to hurt HER. ! I know it's a pity but a got some sun burn in Fougeres under the warm sun. I have 31 years old and perhaps I will try the next PBP...

I called my parents early in the morning and I went in their house on Wednesday morning. I visited my family during the wednesday afternoon with my bicycle (!!) and I checked the correct progression of my different friends (David 4254, Christian 3277, Robert 5177, Jeannine 2681, Richard 5, ...). On Friday Midday, I return from my parents' home to the arrival and I met Gordon on the road by chance !! He went back home with his bike by cycling to Le Havre and so on. We talked together and he told me he stopped also in Loudeac because he didn't desire to continue.

When I went to the arrival, I leanrt that Jeannine had to stop in Nogent Le Roi due to an injurie in her back. During this PBP I enjoyed talking with foreign riders and I am not surprised when foreign riders say that French Riders don't say hello ! I heart from French that there was incredible the numbers of foreign riders on the PBP ! For me you're the welcome and congratulations to you.

Also I regret to have seen so many empty packages of energetic food on the roads.

Special Greetings to Seattle International Randonneur,
David from UK (Nice to meet you before the departure),
Bryan and Lois (Sorry Bryan I didn't see you before the departure...),
Wayne and Mary (congratulations for this trip in tandem ... ),
Gordon (I would enjoy to ride again with you ...),
Chuck Bramwell (Your last story was marvellous ...),
Robert from Goncelin ( Thanks for the beautiful brevets ... ),
Jean-Noel (What's a pity not to have riding together for a long time...),
Francis (3213, Congratulations), Toni will you be ready in 4 years ?,
Richard from VCMB (Thanks for your advice, it'll be for next trips...),
Jean-Rene from FFCT (Thanks for the BCMF...)

My wife, Isabelle, my parents and I, before the start ...

My bike with mudguards (fenders), panniers, and I before the start ...

Tuesday afternoon, under the sun, just before Fougères ...

Another picture before Fougères ...

The second night, in a climb, after Quédillac ...

Page written by Jean-Philippe BATTU April 2000