It’s a 1200km epic, leaving Ramboulliet just outside Paris (Near Versailles) our plucky pedaleurs will have 90 hours to ride to Brest and back, right acros Normandie and Bretangne.
Setting off early evening on Sunday they will need to ride through Sunday night, possibly grabbing a hour or two on the floor of a school hall on Monday. But they cannot sleep long, because the clock stays ticking and they just have those 90 hours in which to complete the ride.
Dave Morrison, Bryn Evans, Gautam Thakkar and Jas Gill make up the West London squad for the 2023 edition .. it only happens every four years and attracts thousands of entrants from across the world. Many won’t finish, but many who don’t make the time cut will still keep going just to say they have completed this mythical ride (even if outside the time cut).
The towns and villages en route come out to cheer the riders through. Many French residents will put out water and coffee tables at their garden gates and give it free to passing riders … many manning the table right through the nights!
The riders will get their Brevet cards stamped as proof of passage at several control points along the way. These are generally schools, not used during the summer holiday but the playgrounds become bike parks, the canteens become feed stations and the halls and gyms are home to masses of smelly, snoring and farting cyclists as they grab an odd hour’s sleep before riding on …. glamorous is not a word that should be in this paragraph! but the enthusiasm the French have for the oldest cycling event in the world makes this special, not just special …. extra special!