Return to Paris Part 1

Photo: The Big Sphere at Pesaro. It was too cold to take many photos so this Control photo is one of the few.

“A friend in need, is a friend indeed” as the saying goes. The day before The 4 Rando 200km I got a message from Jana asking if I could give her a lift to San Zaccaria as her transport plans had fallen through. Of course. It was a small detour to pick her up in Pesaro. The irony was that Pesaro was the half way point of the audax, so we’d be back to the home of Rossini later in the day.

Four years ago I started the qualification process for Paris Brest Paris 2019. It was to be my first 1,000km+ ride. A lot has happened in the world since then. Despite no events in 2020 I have become a much more experienced randonneur with five 1,000km+ rides to my name and recognition on the LRM website as an International Super Randonneur.

Having pre-registered a 17:30 start for PBP, The 4 Rando 200km was my first qualification ride of the Super Randonneur series (200km, 300km, 400km and 600km) needed to get to the start line in August.

At the start Jana (glasses) introduced me to her friend Orietta. We would become a little team for the day.

I’d warned Jana that I was not in particularly good shape. I’d hardly ridden since before Christmas due to trips to the USA and London. Maybe I could find a big group to spend some time at the back and head to the front once in a while to do my bit. It didn’t work out that way. Somehow I ended up leading a group from the start along the flat roads to the coast. By the time we saw the sea at Cervia I’d been on the front for nearly 30km. Having done my bit I hung on to the back of the group as we zipped along the coast. The first control at 69km was done in 2 hours 46 minutes, way faster than I had expected, especially in the cold.

After re-fuelling the three of us headed off towards Pesaro along an old friend. The Strada Panoramica Adriatica. It’s a stunning ride with the Adriatic on one side and mountain views on the other. As I’ve ridden it more than a 100 times I knew exactly what to expect. I expected Jana and Orietta to leave me behind even on the relatively small climbs. They did.

A quick stop on the Panoramica for photos

I caught up with them at the Control in Pesaro. Through the historic centre we rode 200m from Jana’s house, my second visit of the day. Leaving Pesaro we passed a big group of friends. My cycling club La Centionarolese had ridden the Panoramica in the opposite direction and were on their way back to Fano.

The way back to the finish contained some short but quite steep climbs. I struggled. Jana and Orietta left me behind then waited for me. Friends indeed. The final 40km were flat. We took it in turns on the front. Jana and Orietta helped me finish in 8 hours 22 minutes, way faster than I would have done without them.

A big thank you to Jana and new friend Orietta for helping me get round. A big thank you to Graziano and all the other volunteers from San Zaccaria Bike for the organisation, the food stops at Gabbice Monte and Coriano and the pasta party and beer at the finish.

One last duty. Return to Pesaro for the third time that day to drop off Jana before heading for home for some wine and a big sleep.

Part 1 of 4 qualification rides done. Thank you friends.


  • Hi Colin, I’ d like to ride a Rando with you in the next months. Today, during the ride with Centinarolese, i talked about this with Nadia.
    A little explanation for my teacher:
    Tomato Is not the nickname of the sculpture in Pesaro, but Pomodoro Is the surname of the artist. See you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roberto, thank you for explaining the ‘big tomato’. I have updated the blog to remove the reference to the nickname. My next qualifying rides for PBP are at the end of April in Sardinia but I am thinking about a 200km or 300km in Tuscany when it is a little warmer. Maybe we could ride one of those?


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