200 Kilometer Brevet Qualifier for Paris-Brest-Paris
An Engineering Analysis by Chuck Bramwell

Paris-Brest-Paris is the most prestigious long distance amateur cycling event in the world.
It is held once every 4 years and will be held this year on August 23-26. Originating in 1891, the 1,200 Kilometer non-stop ride has endured to become cycling's oldest.

In order to qualify for "PBP", the rider must complete 4 timed qualifying rides known as Brevets. Overall time limits vary for each Brevet according to the distance -- 13:30 for the 200 KM, 20 Hours for the 300 KM, 27 Hours for the 400 KM, and 40 Hours for the 600 Kilometer Brevet. These are non-stop unsupported events where the clock doesn't stop while the rider is Off the Bike regardless of what the rider is having to deal with!! Not for the faint of heart, the 750 Mile Paris-Brest-Paris includes 36,000 Feet of Climbing and must be completed in 90 Hours.

This is the story of the 200 KM Brevet held January 16, 1999 at Anaheim Hills. The photo is of the Pre-Ride meeting where Brevet Organizer Hugh Murphy gave us some last minute instructions.      Other photos from the ride are here.

Ride Description
We arrived at the Ride Start in Anaheim Hills at 6:00 A.M. or so. Ride organizer Hugh Murphy gave us a pre-ride pep talk and shot us out of the starting gates at 7:15 A.M. Hugh's company, Badwater Adventure Sports, also organizes 5 Double Centuries and numerous other cycling events in California. It was a very brisk 44 degrees at the start but all in all, beautiful cycling weather in Southern California. Traveling East we rode on the same route as the Race Across America for much of the first 13 miles to Corona. One of the highlights was a tree lined 6 miles on Victoria Street as we traveled through Riverside. We picked up some speed on the flats of Moreno Valley as we were able to work together in some pacelines. The signature climb of this ride consisted of Jack Rabbit Trail which is a seldom used road that took us to Beaumont and the first Control point where we had our Control Cards signed. The return trip took us through San Timoteo Canyon on the way back to Redlands then onto Loma Linda, Grand Terrace, Agua Mansa, Home of the famous Cemetery and Industrial Park -- (See photos here), Rubidoux, Norco, Chino and finally the brute of a climb up and over Carbon Canyon before returning to Placentia then Yorba Park. What made this ride difficult was how early it was in the season -- few of us had many miles under our belt yet.

Summary Statistics
Gatorade Consumed: 240 Ounces = 15 Water Bottles
Calories Consumed: Approx. 2,830
Calories Burned: Approx. 6,500
"Holiday Calories" Burned: 6,500 - 2,830 = 3,670
Memorable Quote: "I think I smell some Jack Rabbits!!"
Chuck B. talking to himself while passing 5 dead Jack Rabbits on Gilman Springs Road
Signature Climb: Jack Rabbit Trail - 4.2 Miles and 1,000 Feet of Climbing
Scenic Highlight: Aqua Mansa (you have to see it to believe it!!)

Detail Statistics Based on Chuck Bramwell's Avocet 50 Computer & Engine
Date: 1/16/99
Distance: 132.0 Miles = 212.4 Kilometers
Start Time: 7:15 A.M.
Finish Time: 5:06 P.M.
Total Elapsed Time: 9:51 or 9.85 Hours
Time Limit: 13:30
Average Speed on the Bike: 15.3 MPH = 24.6 Kilometers Per Hour
Time On the Bike: 132.0 Miles / 15.3 MPH = 8.63 Hours = 8:38
  % of Time On the Bike: 8.63 Hours / 9.85 Hours = 88%
Time Off the Bike: 9:51 - 8:38 = 1:13 = 1.22 Hours
30 Minutes at Control 1 for Food & Remove Clothes
10 Minutes for Photos
10 Minutes for 3 Bathroom Stops
10 Minutes to repair the Flat Tire
13 Minutes at Market
  % of Time Off the Bike: 1.22 Hours / 9.85 Hours = 12%
Maximum Speed: 35.0 MPH = 56.3 Kilometers Per Hour
Altitude Gain: 4,630 Feet = 1,411 Meters
Time Heart Rate Above 170 BPM: 1:37 or 16%
Time Heart Rate 150 - 170 BPM: 5:07 or 52%
Time Heart Rate Below 150 BPM:
  This includes the Time Off the Bike
3:06 or 32%
Average Heart Rate:
  This includes the Time Off the Bike
156 Beats Per Minute
Maximum Heart Rate:
  (I've seen 201 BPM last year)
189 Beats Per Minute
# of Cranks: 8.63 Hours On the Bike x 60 Min/Hour = 517.8 Minutes
517.8 Minutes x 80 RPM = 41,424 Crank Revolutions
(80 RPM assumes you don't stop pedaling much)
Bike: Spectrum Titanium
(My wife's going to bury me on this)
Drivetrain: Shimano Dura-Ace 9 Speed
52/39 Chainrings
27-24-21-19-17-15-14-13-12 Cassette
Tires: Continental Grand Prix 700x23's
120 PSI Pressure
Flat Tires: T.K. Gardner had 1 Rear Flat
20 Minutes after Control 1
Cause: Small Bent Straight Pin
Temperatures: 44 at Start
64 in Beaumont at 12:00 Noon
50 at Finish
Drugs Taken: 2 Nuprins at Control 1 for Aching Neck
2 Tums at Control 1 for Upset Stomach

Description Calories Sodium
Gatorade has 200 Calories & 440 mg Sodium / 32 Oz.    
  2 Waffles with Honey 220 480 mg
  1 Power Bar 230 90 mg
  1 Glass of Milk 260 260 mg
  1 Banana 100 1 mg
Start to Control 1:    
  2 Water Bottles of Gatorade = 48 Oz. 300 660 mg
  1 Camelbak of Gatorade = 64 Oz. 400 880 mg
  1 Double Fudge Brownie Pro-Max Bar
    (Melted and didn't taste very good)
270 190 mg
Control 1 to Market on Lumonite Road:    
  2 Bottles of Gatorade = 64 Oz. 400 880 mg
  1 Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bar
    (These are SOOO Good!!)
250 150 mg
Market to Finish:    
  2 Bottles of Gatorade = 64 Oz. 400 880 mg
Total Food Consumed: 2,830 4,471 mg
  Total Gatorade Consumed = 240 Oz. 1,500 3,300 mg
Calories Burned:
At 130-170 BPM (=65-85% for my Max of 200 BPM),
I burn about 660 Calories / Hour
Source: Bicycling Magazine, January 1995, Page 57
9.85 Hours x 660 Calories / Hour = 6,501 Calories Burned
Net Calories:
Consumed 2,830 Calories - Burned 6,501 Calories
= 3,671 Calorie Deficit
(At the finish, I was STARVING and ate a big Dinner!!)
Sodium Burned:
I drank 240 Oz. Of Gatorade = 15 water-bottle-equivalents
15 x 435 mg of Sodium = 6,525 mg of Sodium
Source: See Below
This assumes it was a hot day which it wasn't
Net Sodium:
Consumed 4,481 mg - Burned 6,525 mg
= 2,044 mg Deficit
  -2,044 mg

Notes on Sodium
"The one electrolyte needed in large amounts in Ultra Cycling - Sodium - is found in suboptimal levels
in many food drinks, and none contain excessive amounts. One pound of sweat contains about 500 mg
of sodium, and daily sweat losses of 10 pounds or more are not uncommon on hot rides (translating to
sodium losses of 5,000 mg or more)."
    Source: Susan Barr, Ph.D, RDN - In Ultra Cycling Magazine January 1999
"Converting to water-bottle-equivalents, for every 16 ounces of water, you also need 435-655 mg of sodium
or 1,100 - 1680 mg NaCl. Sodium supplementing is essential since no sports or food drinks contain
sufficient sodium for hot weather riding."
    Source: John Hughes, Winner of BMB and Furnace Creek 508 Twice
     - In Ultra Cycling Magazine January 1999

Memorable Quotes
Quote What's Going On Here?
"I think we could make a Perpetual Motion Machine with that Schmidt Hub!!"
    T.K. Gardner
We were admiring Barbara Torres's Schmidt Hub
which generates light right off the Hub to a big light!!
Looked most excellent. T.K. had a great concept that we
need to patent: how about driving an electric motor off the
Schmidt Hub to drive the rear wheel?
I think he's onto something here!!
"Plan to be Spontaneous Tomorrow"
    Sign off the 55 Freeway
Saw this on a sign as I drove to the ride start at 5:30 A.M.
    T.K. Gardner
This is French for Grit or Gravel on the road.
"How much would it cost me to find out the location of the Secret Controls?"
    Robert Freed to Ride Organizer Hugh Murphy
Secret Control Points can be set up anywhere along the
route to insure that everyone is following the route.
"I miss the Cow Pee from last year"
    Chuck B.
Last year on this ride, there were "major Cow Pee lakes"
on the roads in Norco.
There are tons of cow farms in Norco and it's always real
stinky around there.
"You sound like you've been smoking too many cigarettes!"
    Unknown rider behind me as I was coughing up a storm
I've had a cold for 8 weeks that won't go away.
"The ride was an easy one when compared to P-B-P, but an excellent
training ride for this time of year. As usual Hugh Murphy provided
more than he said he would."
    Jim von Tungeln
Jim has successfully completed Paris-Brest-Paris in 1991
and in 1995.
"Free at last: they took your life -- They could not take your pride"
    "In the Name of Love"
    U2's Rattle and Hum Album
This song is all about Martin Luther King whose Birthday is
January 18, 1999
This was the song of the day for me. I have found a good song
can really help me crank for 200 miles or so.
"Andy Hampsten rated the climb up out of Borrego as a Category 1
Climb -- one of the toughest in the U.S."
    Bob Harting, in a Paceline, giving something to think about!!
In just 4 short weeks, the 400 Kilometer Brevet will take us
out to Warner Hot Springs then down to Borrego followed
by this brutally tough climb back up to the base of Palomar
Mountain. It should be a major test and adventure for sure!!

Things That Worked On This Ride Things That Didn't Work On This Ride
Gatorade tasted good Engine didn't run well:
Carburetor was clogged with gunks in lungs
This ride helped clear out the carburetor :)
Engine needs a Tune Up
(Isn't it mighty early in the year for this?)
Camelbak made it easy to drink even in a paceline -- hands free Big Camera with long strap was too big for back pocket and hard to get in / out
Bike and new drivetrain ran flawlessly Long fingered gloves make it real hard to get into and eat food
Clif Bar didn't melt and tasted real good Short fingered gloves were too old from last year so didn't provide enough padding
Result: Brutally rough roads beat hands up pretty good
  I forgot that I ride better with Liquid Food on these long rides
  Pro-Max Bar melted and didn't taste very good so I didn't want to eat it
  I forgot that GU's work well for me and I didn't bring any
Conclusion: I thought this would be "just a walk in the park". It wasn't. Between the early time of the year, 132 Miles, 4,600 Feet of Climbing, Headwinds on the way back, rough roads, feeling generally lousy, and everything else, this ride taught me a lot of RESPECT!! I committed to myself to be better prepared for the 300 KM on 1/30/99 to Warner Hot Springs and the 400 KM on 2/13/99 to Borrego. The big final test is the 600 KM on 3/13/99 to Warner Hot Springs and then down to San Diego and back!!

Don't miss the other photos from this ride!!

Return to California Triple Crown Home Page