Today I visited a local bicycle shop to get my new hand-me-down bike’s tire fixed. I was chatting with the owner, and he was telling me how he did the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling race last year. It sounds seriously extreme. From Wikipedia:
Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) was originally a 1200km long bicycle race from Paris to Brest and back to Paris. It is the oldest bicycling event that is still regularly run…
Cyclists participating in the event must first complete a series of brevets (randonneuring events) within the same calendar year as the PBP to qualify. A series consists of the following rides: 200km, 300km, 400km and 600km. Each ride can be replaced by a longer ride.
You apparently have to complete the 1200 km in 90 hours, so you barely sleep at all. And, having done a very gentle bike trip in Brittany a few years ago, I can tell you that that territory is seriously hilly.
I also learned the term randonneuring. A randonneur participates in long distance bike races where there’s more of an emphasis on self-sufficiency and endurance than competition.