Renu Singhi from Jaipur completed the prestigious PBP 2019 expedition in 91 hours, 59 minutes and 6 seconds, a little over the allotted time of 90 hours. But what wowed us is that we rarely see a woman… an Indian woman… in her fifties with grandchildren, achieve such a feat. We try to uncover her mysterious reserves of stamina and gumption with 5 quick questions!
Paris-Brest-Paris is an endurance cycling ride 200km held in Paris by the Audax Club Parisien. Cyclists must complete the ride in 90 hours, sleeping along the way, pushing their limits and carrying on with zero support from motorized vehicles except at checkpoints.
Q1. How did you start cycling?
I had no big targets. It was a dream to have a cycle with a basket in front and a carrier at the back for household work. But then I began to explore my forgotten capabilities, started doing better and bigger, and then … I never stopped!
Q2. Renu, What was your mantra for PBP training?
I didn’t miss a single opportunity to cover more distance than I could. and operated beyond my comfort zone and practiced on tracks similar to those expected at PBP.
I also met a lot of experts to understand the finer details like food supplements, body and muscle exercises, cycling posture, racing techniques, maintenance of the cycle, the do’s and don’ts for different distances, yoga and the importance of special clothing.
The biggest challenge was to remain calm and focused during adverse situations. It was all about planning and mental fitness. I was ready for any amount of discomfort and sacrifices. The cold weather was very harsh, thankfully we were prepared and took winter gear from India.
Q3. Did you have any company for the rides at night during practice?
The members of Jaipur Cycling Community and Bicycling Club Jodhpur helped me unconditionally, giving me company in my practice rides. They sacrificed their own priorities to accommodate mine. At times I could feel that they were more worried about my PBP practice than just being concerned about “Me, Myself & I”. Only teamwork could take me so far.
Q4. Did your family support you… how?
100%. Unconditionally. My daughter-in-law and two sons motivated me a lot. In fact I began to feel pressure with such high expectations! My mother and husband took care of my family’s needs, and my two grandchildren were amazed to see their dadi cycling. Everybody in my granddaughter’s school would know how many kilometres I had covered and on what route. My granddaughter was my BBC broadcast!
Q5. Renu, any message for cyclists out there?
My message to all women – Don’t wait for opportunity to come to you. Take the first step today and the whole world will be yours!
Cyclists at the Paris-Brest-Brest expedition faced harsh cold. Gear up for cycling in the cold weather with warmers, base layers and more on cyclop.in.