By Adrian Hands

With the turning of the new year, many a randonneur will be ardently preparing a plan of attack for the "before" and "during" PBP. This is important work, but leaves little time to prepare for the "after."

On returning home, you will inevitably face the well-meaning aunties who will want to know how you did in the "Tour de France?" And, whether you "won?" (The answer to those is, of course, "Yes, dear Auntie, I won the Tour de France. I've put the trophy between my Heisman and Stanley cup, just below the Nobel Prize.")

To allow you time to focus on ride preparations, we are providing a collection of possible answers to the "how far is 1200km?" question, which we hope will be more stimulating than the technically correct, yet imaginatively unsatisfying "746 miles" response.

How far is 1200km? It's:

• Over one million meters.

• One-tenth the diameter of the Earth.

• The distance sound travels in one hour.

• More than the diameter of Charon (Pluto's largest moon).

• The driving distance from New York City to Charleston South Carolina.

• Fifty percent longer than the Indy-500.

• Twice the height above ground of the Hubble Space Telescope.

• Twice the range of a Scud-C missile.

• Almost two-and-a-half times the length of Lake Michigan.

• More than three times the altitude of the International Space Station.

• three times the total length of the London Underground.

• nearly three times the length of the Pyrenees.

• the distance covered by the Tour de France, in SEVEN days.

• ten degrees of latitude.

• ten times longer than the world's longest beach.

• the distance of 28 marathons.

• the distance an 8-cylinder Chevy Silverado can cover on 47 gallons of gasoline.

• well over 100 times the height of Mt. Everest.

With that settled, you may now return to more serious matters.