2015 will be a memorable year for bicycling in México. For the first time ever a Mexican delegation participated in the 1,230 km/90 hour Paris-Brest-Paris Randonneur. The ride takes place every four years and was started in 1891. This long distance cycling event is one of (if not the) most physically challenging athletic event in the world. It is unique in that there are no vans assisting riders or providing support – the rider does everything for himself. They carry their own water, food, tire repair kits, etc. The vast majority ride bicycles, but there are non-traditional bicycle-like vehicles, too.
We are so thrilled that México had a group of six represented at this event. The delegation was started and most arrangements were made by Mazatlán resident/US & Panama citizen Cris Garrido. There were three other Mazatlán participants (Jorge Ruiz Otero, Fernando Nieto and Carmen María Valdez), along with Alex Molina Pertierra from Oaxaca and Matthieu Baslé, a French citizen currently residing in México City. (Randonneurs Mexico’s website and Facebook pages here)
In order to qualify for the grueling 1,200 Km event there are several timed rides called brevets. The Mexican individuals rode their qualifying brevets on the roads of rural Sinaloa. There were four rides, of 200, 300, 400, and 600 Km each with their own (very short) time frame. (13.5, 20, 27, 40 hours)
The 90 hours for the Paris – Brest – Paris event runs from start to finish with the clock never stopping for meals, sleep, or bathroom breaks. Each rider decides when to rest. Some make use of the couple of cafeteria food tents provided and some will take naps on the cots in the sleep tents, but others will just stop at the side of the road! While the rest of the Mexico group participated in the 90 hour event, Alex Molina Pertierra signed up for (and completed!) the 80 hour “fast group” time, an incredible achievement.
The local people in the countryside are very enthusiastic about the cyclists coming through every four years, and while many cheer them on, others generously set up tables with food and drink for the riders. They cycle through the night (in the cold) with the view ahead nothing but trails of tail lights. Ninety hours is such a short time to ride 1,230 Km!
Three members of the Mexican group finished the event. The Mexican delegation was unusual in that while the group was entirely made up of residents of México, the nationality credited for the finish goes to the country of the rider’s citizenship. The Mexican group was made up of four Mexicans, one American and one Frenchman. In the end the three that finished were Matthieu Baslé, (France) Cris Garrido, (USA) and Alex Molina Pertierra.(México)
We have every reason to believe that there will be a much larger Mexican delegation in 2019. If you’d like to be a part of Randonneurs México or would like to start a chapter of the non-profit organization in your city, please email Randonneurs México and they’ll help you. Bicycling is becoming more and more popular in México and Randonneurs México hopes to expand nationwide.
Congratulations to all of these talented athletes!
If you’d like to know more about the race, here is a fabulous story-in-pictures of the event.