Published on August 31st, 2019 | by Admin1
My PBP 2019 Experience – Tony
I’m sorry to say that my PBP ended in total disappointment. I started to get a bit of pain around my right knee after about 400k. I did not worry about it because from time to time we all get this and it normally fades away. But this time during the most important ride of my life it did not fade away. As we reached Loudeac it was so bad that I was struggling to pedal on the flat. Just bending my knee was painful. We stopped at the control then went in search of somewhere where we could get 15 minutes sleep. We ended up in the canteen which was not ideal. I think we were only there around 15 minutes as it was extremely busy. When though I stood up I knew I had a problem.
Right from leaving the control I was struggling. As soon as we got to the next hill I knew my PBP was over as I could not ride up it. Anne rang me and I told her to continue and I’d try to catch her up. I took a couple of painkillers and decided to rest for an hour. It was cold so I wrapped myself up in my emergency blanket. After an hour or so I got back on my bike to see if I could ride. At first I was elated as I could. But with every pedal stoke the pain increased to such an extent that after 5 minutes I could not even pedal downhill!
I walked on for a while then stopped again deciding to rest once again after taking more painkillers. After a couple of hours I tried again but it was just too painful.
The guys managed to get a pass to drive on the course to pick me up as I was in the middle of nowhere for which I was extremely grateful. At the medical centre I was diagnosed with a Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) tear.
But I did get to experience PBP which was absolutely amazing! I can remember riding through the start line, looking around at the large group of riders all with huge smiles on their faces. And the cheers from the crowds, supporting all the riders not only in voice but with water, brandy, wine and food. The atmosphere was simply amazing. I can remember saying to Anne, after the first control that we were actually riding Paris Brest Paris which made us both a little emotional which I’m sure many reading this will understand.
After my ride was over I focused 100% on helping and supporting Anne, aiding Peter and Lynton. I’ve always believed in her even when she has doubted herself. Let me tell you she was absolutely amazing. She’s always struggled with lack of sleep which has been a problem during our training. Once on a night 300k training ride she had to stop and sleep behind a bus shelter for 15 minutes as she was so tired.
During PBP I honestly don’t think her total sleep time was more than 6 hours. 3 controls from the finish she was completed shattered. She was behind time, extremely tired and struggling. We were all worried about her, she was at the brink. But do you know what? She has an amazing inner strength that drives her on which was amazing to witness. From being extremely tired, so tired in fact she fell asleep on her bike and rode off the road, she drove herself on to finish over 2 hours inside the time! Bloody amazing!
I’m still getting over my disappointment. I’d have given anything to finish even if I was a day late. To come back from such a bad injury in May where I had multiple facial fractures. To get through the tough 600k in Salamanca and regain my fitness to such an extent I felt very confident about PBP. And then for my PBP experience to end before Brest is simply soul-destroying! And this adds to my LEL 2017 disappointment where my ride was ended by my frame snapping.
But I’m not giving up! I’ll be on the start line for LEL 2021 then back to Paris in 2023. Plus I want to give something back to the Audax community so I’ll set up qualifiers in my home town in plenty of time for the next PBP so I can help others experience the magic of PBP.
And next year I’m planning a couple of very special rides which I’ll post on this blog.