A few months before the ride, I was hanging out with some New England randonneurs for dinner at Redbones in Davis Square. There, amidst plates of ribs and pints of Guinness, we talked about bikes, riding and collective insanity. One of them, K, had been to Paris and was hoping to go back. He told us this story about how, on his way out of Fougeres, he was pushing the very limits of his sleep deprivation and finally, in the darkest Breton night, gave in and pulled into a little village to find a place to nap. A villager found him and opened up his barn. There, K spent a couple of blissful hours resting, and when he woke and was about to depart, he asked his host if there was something he could do to repay the hospitality. The fellow wouldn't take money and instead pointed him to a wall of postcards and just said,
"Send me one when you return to your own home."
That was when I knew, in the deepest part of my heart, that I wanted to do this ride.