Run every four years by the Audax Club Parisien, Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) is a timed 1200-kilometer “randonnée” that goes from the French capital to the port city of Brest on the Atlantic, and returns along the same route. The maximum time limit to complete the distance is 90 hours.
This year over 5000 entrants from around the globe will want to try their hand at this demanding test of human endurance and cycling ability. Entrants can ride PBP non-stop in 42 hours, except for having one’s route book signed and stamped at checkpoints, and snatching food in mussette bags from support crews as the fastest riders do. Or, like most randonneurs, one can catch a little sleep at night and eat a few sit-down meals along the way. Support can only be given to riders at the checkpoints, which are spaced approximately 65-90 kilometers apart, so there are no following cars as in a normal road race.
The vast majority of entrants don’t use personal support crews and find whatever they need along the route. Each checkpoint serves hot food around the clock and has some primitive sleeping accommodations. The PBP route, while not mountainous, is quite hilly, and weather can play a major role in the outcome of the ride.