Ride Report: Paris-Brest-Paris, 2019

Editor's note: I happen to be the poor schmuck that edited Lydia Trott's original document of Paris-Brest-Paris back in September. PBP, as it will be lovingly referred to, is a 750-mile (1200 km) self-supported brevet through France that entrants must qualify for. Both Melissa McCurley and I encouraged her to submit it to the WRCC Blog, either partial or in its entirety. She elected to submit her introduction, which is hardly a scratch on the surface of the immense adventure she and husband, Steve Trott, undertook by completing the world's oldest bike race. Melissa & I encourage you to click on the link at the bottom of Lydia's report to go to the full detailing of her ride. There you will find every emotion & adaptation she had. You will also be able to click around the Trotts' website to read about their other qualifying brevets.

- Molly Cripe Birt, aka MCB

There & Back Again:
Paris-Brest-Paris 2019

As much as I want to blame not having a keyboard or tingly fingers from ulnar nerve compression on the fact it has been two weeks before I started writing my ride report, they’re not the reasons. The week follow PBP every time I thought about my journey tears formed in my eyes. I felt like a fraud. How did this back of the pack rider somehow make to the finish line in time when stronger and faster cyclists didn't? I felt guilty that my tempts with fate and stumbles throughout the ride miraculously landed me in Rambouillet at the finish. I felt silly thinking that somehow completing PBP would beat the impostor monster down to a blob of nothing. When instead the monster was roaring over me, raining down insecurity so fast my feeble umbrella was smoking so hard it would be nothing but a singed shell soon. And my oh-so-loving husband suggested I was just fishing for compliments.  After my bike crash in June 2018, my anxiety which had been on the back burner turned full force to a rolling boil. And it has been hard not just for me, but for Steve as well. He's very analytical and I think he finds it hard to understand my struggles with insecurity and doubt. I can tell myself all day long that I'm a bad-ass female cyclist and build up a strong wall around me, but anxiety always seems to find the crack and creeps in. I suppose that's why I am drawn to randonneuring. If I ride these really big rides and do all the really hard things then maybe that will make me a cyclist? My PBP adventure isn't full of stories of crepes and laughter. It's full of tears, because - let's be real - I'm a feeling-person, and a ride like this you go through all the feels. But don't think this tale is only of pain (oh so much pain) and worry, because there were really beautiful moments too. And, yes, in those moments there were tears but of joy and love for support from fellow riders and the community. So here's my tale from registration to post ride thoughts: holding nothing back and no gory detail left untold.