PBP Qualifiers

Published on January 27th, 2019 | by Admin

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Murcia 200K BRM 26th Jan

We had decided to kick off our PBP qualifications with the Murcia Randonneurs with a pretty tough brevet which cut through the glorious Murcia countryside. I (Tony), had returned from an extended stay in the UK, but had unfortunately picked up a nasty stomach bug which when added to my lack of long distance training was going to make this ride pretty difficult for me. There was a definite buzz outside the starting point, which was a bike shop on the outskirts of Murcia as riders discussed the season ahead, many targeting Paris Brest Paris just like us. At 8.13am the whistle sounded and we were on our way in one large group picking our way through the streets of the city.

In all honesty I knew I was in trouble within minutes. Even at the back of the group, at a modest pace on flat roads I just not keep up. I felt terrible with no energy. Foolishly I carried on as the group disappeared into the distance. Anne waited for me time and time again as I toiled on even modest slopes. I was slowing her down so came to my senses, messaged Anne, and then turned around to head home. Even heading back mainly downhill I struggled stopping time and time again. I eventually made it back to the city where I found a comfy bench in one of the city’s many small parks to sleep for a few hours whilst I waited for Anne.

Anne was on her own, way behind all the other riders but I was confident she would finish inside the time as she was in great form. For this brevet there were not set controls just a distance in kilometres where which you needed to find a bar, restaurant or service station to stamp your card. At the first control distance Anne struggled to find where to get her card stamped. She lost time going down a track then lost more time trying to find the correct bar to stamp her card but eventually found it then was quickly on her way.

When we ride, Anne will tell you that I take care of the navigation. For this ride though Anne was going to have to rely on her Garmin and its turn by turn directions. Now for some reason we have found that sometimes our Garmin’s either give no directions at roundabouts or incorrect directions. I combat this by just following the purple navigation line that my Garmin generates which for me works extremely well. Anne struggled at some of the roundabouts getting the very annoying “Off Course” message from her Garmin then having to try other exits until receiving the “Course Found” message.

Before the next control Anne caught up with a small group of other riders who had slowed a little as one had had a fall resulting in cuts to her leg and bruising to her arm. She stayed with them until they reached the control where she continued alone. We have found that for us, shorts stops work best whereas many other prefer longer stops.

Anne continued mainly solo for the remainder of the ride, struggling a little with her navigation but well within the time limit. There was time though for another small disaster as Anne’s rear light failed in the early winter evening night as she approached the city. Always resourceful, Anne used her front light in flashing mode pointing behind as an emergency rear light. I was looking out for her close to the finish and had to shout out to her to stop her flying past the finish. A great ride from Anne which gave her a massive boost to her confidence. My qualifying and indeed my season felt like it had yet failed to start


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