It's time to think aloud again. Some (currently faraway) friends have indicated that they like to read about my whereabouts and my dreams. Or, rather: some of my dreams ...
As indicated earlier, the Big Eight was only the first of three big goals in this Paris-Brest-Paris year. The second goal obviously has been set up nearly four years ago, in Saint-Rémy-du-Val, when I decided not to finish my first attempt at PBP. I seem to recall that up to then, the idea was to consider my PBP participation a once-in-a-lifetime escapade. But with that unfinished business on my hands, and the first experience of three days and nights on the roads of PBP in my heart, I had no choice any more: Now I was to become a "real" randonneur. Not only to prepare for PBP 2011, but (excuse the pathos) to find myself.
Similarly, the third goal has become mandatory last September, at the moment I decided to stop, half-way through the first edition of the Mille du Sud. Of course, even if I had been able to complete the distance within the time limit, I would still want to repeat the feat on this year's remodeled route. But given that defeat and unfinished business, the goal has maintained its imperative and threatening quality.
It has been suggested (thanks, Jack!) to refer to the trilogy as my Triple Crown. We will talk about that later in September ...
For now, I find myself preoccupied with the mental preparation of the remaining two big events.
I am taking care of the physical preparation "my way" which is to say not too seriously. This comes with a silent, respectful nod to somebody who once approved of my way with a grinning "You mean you have a life?"
Within the circumstances and constraints of that life, I make my arrangements as sketched in the previous post, changing routes and (always rather short) distances at will and at humor. I don't always take a camera with me; if I do, the pictures tend to look like the following:
View from Montauroux to Callian
This time, I'm going to climb to St. Cézaire sur Siagne!
There I am - looking back in time
What I nearly always do, however, is to include the climb to the Grand Duc in the beginning of my route. I mentioned it in my previous post already; the route is here, and this is the profile (courtesy OpenRunner):
Note the extended ramps above 10% on the profile! Come to think of it, I should also take pictures from the views along the climb and share them. Until I get to it, here are the reasons why it hasn't happened yet:
a) I need to wait for a day with dry winds; otherwise the views are too muggy in July/August
b) I am always too busy climbing and don't want to stop
c) Some of my readers tend to get too envious if they see the views.
So much for the physical preparation. The mental preparation happens during the spare time between rides, with maps and route sheets. I am visualizing my progression through days and nights, over plains and hills; I am estimating average speeds and time spent at stops, and I am projecting arrival times. I also try to visualize the feeling of running on empty, but never succeed. That's why I have to go back and actually do those rides, in order to experience it again.
The other aspect of my mental preparation is to manage my optimism and my tendency to overestimate my abilities. And that's the hard part ...