When we joined the RUSA, we got a guide book about randonneuring. I was reading that the other night before bed. Well, that was a mistake! Most of what I read seemed pretty reasonable, sensible, and in line with what Roger has said and I had imagined. But there was this little thing that I had not realized, which for some reason just upset me no end: the control points are only available for a certain span of time. You cannot get there too soon, and you must get there before the close time.
I don't know why that had not occurred to me. It does make sense, but it threw me into a complete tailspin. In my first calculations about completing the PBP, I had figured we could avoid most of the night-time riding by using the dark to schedule our rest, and riding for long days (it will be August, after all, in the northern half of France - days should be long.) But if we are made to start at 6:30 pm, as the 90-hour folks did four years ago -- AND if the control points are only open for a certain amount of time -- THEN we would be forced to ride through the dark in order to reach them in time.
In addition, the author posited that, if your goal was the longer distance (that is, the 1200 km PBP or other grand ride) then you should do your 600 km brevet as a "sleepless" event. That's the only way to train properly for the grand event. And I thought NOOO! That's not what I want to do at all!
Ay yi yi! You would think I had already bought a ticket and paid my fare to Paris, they way this upset me! For heaven's sake, we don't even know if we can handle the intermediate distances yet. Roger says the 300 km is very telling. That's about 200 miles, and that's pretty much what you need to get through each day of the 1200 km PBP, and he hasn't tried to ride that distance in a while. Then, as he put it, to do the 600, you have to do your 300, then get some rest, and do it again the next day. "But the book said you should do it without sleeping" I said. No - that's ridiculous, he said.
And he's right. It's ridiculous. There's no reason that we need to do anything other than what we need to do. We will, for sure, do some riding through the night. I guess that's inevitable, and if so, then fine. (Of course, if that is the case, then I don't guess it matters whether you are jet-lagged or not when you start. Because who really cares if you are going to be up all night anyway?)
But we do not need to do an all-nighter just because some guy in a book says so. And we certainly don't need to make any decisions about how we plan to ride PBP right now. And we most certainly do not need to be losing any sleep about this at this point in time! So just calm down, Kathy, and keep those legs turning. That's all you have to do right now!