Paris-Brest-Paris, Day 1 – A Thrilling Start

VeloPro Brand Ambassador Jeff Sigman Blogs About His PBP Adventures

By Jeff Sigman

Day 1 – A Thrilling Start

Jeff Sigman

It has been 5 months since I completed the PBP. My result was finally posted here.  This was a bit of a relief to see since my timing chip had stopped working on the last day of the event. Regardless, I still had my brevet card, the official record of my time in the event, that was stamped and signed at each checkpoint. I am eagerly waiting to receive my final brevet card in the mail from Audax Club Parisien.

71 hours is my official time - under my goal of 75 hours - and well under my 80 hour time limit to complete the 1,200 km event. The actual time I crossed the finish line was 70:55, as recorded by my riding buddy’s timing chip, but it took me five minutes to make it to the officials to get my card signed. But I am getting ahead of myself. I should start at the beginning. 

Day 1 – A Thrilling Start

We knew the first day would be the toughest. When I began planning my ride the only available hotel along the route was at km 495 (308 miles). That meant a very long first stage in order to get to the hotel. There are other options. I saw many riders sleeping along the side of the road, for instance, but prefer a hotel and bed if I can have it. The first day started at 5:15am (I got up at 4:15am). I had spent several days in Paris with my family and was acclimated to the time-zone so even with the early start I felt rested and ready. My first day ride ended at 3:45am the next morning. Total moving time of 19 hours, average speed 16 mph, elevation gain 14,188.7 ft, and a total of 9,111 kJ of effort!

Jeff Sigman Cyfaq Setup for PBP

What does it feel like to ride in PBP? The start was incredible. It is just unbelievable how many spectators came out at that crazy early hour to see us off. But then again, the biggest and most happy surprise of the whole event was the enthusiasm and support of the French people. They were amazing. In every little town we passed they paused in their errands for the day to day to cheer us on, kids held out hands to give us high fives, families relaxed for the day in the countryside to cheer us on and gave us drinks and baked goods. And at some of the last controls there were hundreds upon hundreds of people cheering, smiling, enjoying the event and making what was a very difficult ride a bit easier.