Day 3 draws to a close, and at the time of writing this there are only 12 riders (including 2 pair teams) left to reach checkpoint 1. which means that if everything goes to schedule, everyone will get through CP1 before it closes. Great effort. If you haven't already seen it, here's the video blog from the first 48hrs:
The majority of riders are now on their way to CP2 and we're really beginning to see some variety in their route choices. The mass are travelling on a more northerly route through Charolles, crossing the Saône river at Tournus, but around a quarter look to be taking a more southerly route through Lyon and Geneva. The mileage looks shorter on the Southern pass but they have to encounter more hills, so it's really a matter of where your strengths as a rider lie.
Kristof 'the machine' Allegaert (003) reached checkpoint 2 at 10:57 this morning, and still hasn't slept properly. Theories include him being a Telsa-manufactured cyborg, part-animal/human hybrid or that he's actually a twin in a Prestige-style cover up that he's kept secret his entire life (sorry, film spoiler for those who haven't seen The Prestige). He must rest soon, but then so must all the riders. His veracity may be because the next nearest rider is only 50kms away... Björn Lenhard (026) must have had his Weetabix. While most of us today have struggled through our 9-5 jobs, Bjorn has put in an exemplary performance, passing Alexandre Bourgeonnier (002), Carlos Mazon (060), Ultan Coyle (004), Neil Phillips (172) and Nelson Trees (080). No wonder Kristof is still pedalling hard. A quick reminder on Björn Lenhard's pedigree - Björn won 2015's Paris-Brest-Paris unsupported, 1,230kms in 42hrs 26mins, and apparently all on a single Nutella baguette.
We should also mention a few new names that have made it into the lead pack. There's Peter Sandholt (077) who we flagged as a wildcard in the first blog post. There's also Matthias Dalgas (150). Hear how he's getting on here. And just behind Andy Sallnow (144) and Stuart Birnie (142) (who has made a remarkable recovery from his route issues through France), is Matija Ilic (105) who has shared some images of his day in Switzerland below:
Here's the delighted smile and a thumbs up from Carlos Mazon (060) reaching the top of the Furkapass:
That covers all the riders expected into CP2 by tonight. Here are some shots taken at CP2 today:
We have had some terrible news today that Martian Cioana (101) got hit by a car at 0:30 GMT (1:30am CET). It was a hit and run, throwing Martian off his bike and into a ditch. Martian was taken to hospital by a passer-by and thank goodness, is okay. He even finished riding to Check Point 1, but has now scratched from the race. We wish Martian a full and speedy recovery. All riders have trained so hard in preparation for this race, it must be devastating to scratch, especially when it's not from your own free will, so our hearts go out to those who this has happened to. Other scratchers from today are Matt Robertson (040) and Hendrik De Vries (058).
We can fully immerse ourselves in the rider's experience of the Furkapass, with this handy live webcam. Pretty dark at the time of writing this, but we took a shot earlier in the day, so you can see the intimidating view that the riders have before them. Many are now sleeping before attempting this tomorrow bright and early.
What kind of race is this?
There is surely no other race in the world where riders race so hard, yet still find the time to hop into a BMX park to pull out some trick moves, such as Simon Williams (202) here:
And where else could you get away with spokey dokeys on your wheels?
It's the kind of race where you can also stop to do your weekly shop:
Charles Batho (159) must be playing the long game, because despite completing most of the flat without aerobars, he's now getting them fitted for the mountains - hopefully they'll be of benefit to him on the descents!
Rishi Fox (152) heard that sandals are the fashion in Switzerland:
We've also heard that Stuart Birnie (142) is having 'rear end issues and is considering scratching'. Stuart, don't touch it any more, there are creams for that. We have also seen this sneak preview of his saddle, which may explain things:
But on a serious note, please keep going Stuart, we are willing you on!
Today's prize for most excellent fuelling strategy has to go to Rob Quirk (096) who as you can see from his tracker, went to Subway, then immediately on to McDonald's. A quick pop up Col de Ceyssat and then straight back to McDonald's again:
These three are dining out in style:
These two riders have gone for the takeaway option:
The road ahead
Some riders are finding the easy road through the final part of France, others are still struggling to get off the unbeaten track:
'Pain du Jour'
The race is starting to take it's toll on people, we've seen some very tired faces, but this picture from Simon Rounding (087) inspired us to seek out more tired eyes:
Whilst we write this, we have heard that James Hayden (075) has rested from his chest infection and has started racing again - he has put it out there: he is aiming for a top-10 finish! Good man!
To finish off, here's the video from today's riding, entitled 'Where should I sleep?!' - are all you dot-watchers becoming sleep deprived too? We are!