Lunch with some of the NJ PBP riders on Friday in Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines was like other meals we’ve had together but also quite different. We had all made our way to France to experience PBP–even if only from the sidelines for me–and this was a day of giddy anticipation, of learning our way around town, and French wine. This was also a day during which my riding friends were willing themselves to relax while simultaneously obsessing about their bikes and gear to ensure that all would be in order. Chilling out and gearing up at the same time…seemingly contradictory but quite natural parts of such an epic adventure.
We enjoyed a long and large lunch outdoors. The pasta topped with live-looking crustaceans inspired jokes, laughter, and some disgust from those of us not as carnivorous. Stories from previous PBPs and plans for post-PBP were woven into the conversation, too. This is probably exactly the right way to spend those few days before a big ride when all you want is for it to start. I’m not doing this ride, but I’ve been in this place and have trouble living with the unease of the waiting. But good food and drink, friends, and the stories that encourage you: these things make the days of waiting bearable and bring you closer to those who are sharing this waiting and adventure with you.
After lunch we rode the first few miles of the route but it started to rain so we turned back. This was not a day when it was necessary to dig a little deeper and keep going no matter the weather. No, this was was not that day, not yet.