22 August 2011

Paris-Brest-Paris 2011 Day -1 and Day 0

Jerome -- old school, as he visits the Relais de Voisins, my temporary base.
I arrived Friday evening at St. Quentin-en-Yvelines, the “start suburb” for Paris-Brest-Paris.  I’m staying in a hotel about 3 km South of the start/finish area in Voisins-le-Bretonneux, another similar town.  This is a very nice, prosperous looking and highly “planned” area of the Paris region, with lots of greenways, bike lanes, well-marked cross walks, and a mix of low rise multifamily and detached single family housing.  The gardens are neatly kept.  There are flower pots hanging from the street lamp poles.  It is the kind of place that wants so badly to stay clean that they give away the plastic bags for dog walkers to gather their dog’s shit from little dispensers on the street corners.

Doggy bags
So far, I’m very happy with the hotel I reserved through the American travel agent (Des Peres Travel) that has dominant market share among the U.S. randonneurs, and also happens to arrange hotels for a large group of the Audax Kanagawa riders.   

The hotel is on a quiet tree-lined street, has nice grounds, basic rooms and is reasonably priced.  There are maybe 50 U.S. riders staying here and a few others (a Taiwanese group was here yesterday, but most seem to have just been stopping by).  At least 3 others here selected the 5AM Monday start, as did I, instead of the more popular Sunday afternoon and evening start times.

Jerome was stopping by his father’s house Friday night/Saturday on the way back from his week in Pau and the Pyrenees (with Stephen Coady).  On Saturday morning, he borrowed an ancient bike with a lugged steel frame (maybe MOB is familiar with the manufacturer – France-Loire Cycles, of St. Etienne?) from his father’s neighbor and came over to my hotel from Gif-sur-Yvettes, his home town.  We took a nice spin, saw where my son stayed with the family of a friend of Jerome in 2009 in Chevreuse, and I now have visited the house where Jerome grew up and his father still lives.  It is a nice area, lots of green, plenty of up and down for cyclists – including a short but steep hill at Chateaufort – and easy access to Paris by RER train.

The street in front of my hotel.
Today, I took another morning spin, riding around and then through Versailles, just to the East of here.
North Entrance of Versailles gardens

Photo op in front of Marie Antoinette's play-peasant village
This afternoon, after a big plate of pasta, I and others who start tomorrow morning cheered the riders who had starts between 4 and 6 PM.  I wore my Audax Japan jersey and waved the Tohoku charity fundraising bandanna that I got yesterday at registration.  Many waved back.  Now I get one more night of sleep, get up very early for a 5AM start, and ride 1230 km.

1 comment:

TOM said...

Good luck and have a safe ride David!