It was my fifth PBP and second fixed, but every time it's like new and you realize that it's actually pretty hard, after last ones I was sure that I should make it into my 80h no problem, but was just 10 min before closing time to the finish. After few events with extreme wind I was a sort of used to it, but realized that it affected my speed so much only after 24h in Loudeac, while in 2015 I was in Brest already. I could only imagine how bad it would be if it was raining. I used to hang around with Russians and one of the stories was from the guy who went on fatbike, was quite stressed, and while he was having a rest in Loudeac one the cyclists next to him suddenly just fell to the floor - dead, thrombosis after extreme exhaustion. Boy walked out to take fresh air and decided that it's too much for him for this time.
People on distance are great, take fives with a pancake in the hand after that, old lady with her company cooking all night long in Sizun, two drunk young guys who enthusiastically jumped and cheered for hours in the night offered me such a nice sofa next to the road at midnight after Fougeres so it destroyed every intenion to go anywhere, until I realized that it's just 1 hour before control closes. It's the only event I know where every participant feels like a star, and it's so natural for you to wave back, talk to locals etc. and so strange to see people dedicated to their own, no smiles, just rushung forward (probably in order to spend couple of hours at next checkpoint after that). I remember after PBP going to LEL seemed so strange as there were naturally no pancakes or whatever and local people had no idea why these syclist appear here in such numbers, seemed like only sheep were the ones who could support you (but food, as mentioned, was much better, I remembered porridge with whiskey in Edinbourgh, strangely enough it was just right at that moment).
Organization seemed to me better than before, especially in consideration 6000 of participants instead of usual 4000, maybe because of my time there were not as many people in queues, but I tried to spend as less time at control as possible unless it's the night, no use to pay for the food they offered, much nicer to stay in some nice place drinking cider and watching people passing by. I remember in earlier days I've seen much more enthusiastic people in the cities, with music, dancing etc. maybe again because I started too early, wasn't even offered any wine, but mirabelle from local guys was something new which I really enjoyed. The same story with the veeeeery last people you meet on the way back, some was indian who was already walking up the hill before reaching Loudeac, from what I understand it's a question of weather, so it's terribly hard for people from India, Brazil or Thailand to ride in the cold night, but still strange how they managed to qualify. Unlike last times there were less bizarre devices like bike, which is pushed on "walking" principle (don't know it's name) or rowing machine, but a number of sweet tricycles, one was even custom tandem tricycle which looked just perfect for event like this.
From my previous experience I remember road in Britanny pretty bad with a lots of patches, but this time I realized that they're fine in terms of riding, no really bad bumps or potholes so felt much more confident cycling in the dark then I'm usually.