Next Défi:
Autumn, 2016. September? October? What would YOU like?
I'd love to read your stories about skating the Défi.
Did you get photos? Send me your links!

 

[October 17, 2015]   Yes, we have results! For this year, and last year too! Huge congratulations to the five spirited skaters who made it through the toughest conditions ever, and to those who weren't able to finish, but gave it their best shot. (Having waited at the end, through cold, rain, snow and HAIL, I know what they went through.) A special word of thanks to Roxanne for starting up the Facebook page, and to Pierre, Jérôme and the others for doing their part to keep the flame burning.

This was the 20th edition of the classic Défi. It's time for fresh blood, and fresh thinking about how to keep the Défi alive. Not just hanging on, but flourishing! To share your thoughts, write to me through the link above or the Questions page.

[September 9, 2015]   Great news! There is now a Facebook page for skaters intending to skate the Défi this year. To add your name to the list, click on "Participants" in the Invités box.

[September 5, 2015]   A few days ago I learned from Robert Fortier, founder of the Défi, that he will no longer be organizing the event. Few people know how much Robert has done for skaters over the years, the incredible amount of work he put into keeping the event going. Merci, Robert!!!

 


The Défi de L'Île de Montréal (Montréal Island Challenge) is a 128-kilometer race on inline skates around the Island of Montréal. Tt has been held every year since 1996 on the third Saturday in October, when the fall colors are at their best.

A race, you say? Officially the Défi is not a race, so how fast you take it is up to you. Speedskaters and fitness buffs -- anyone who loves inline skating -- will find the Défi a fun and rewarding experience. Since much of the route is through beautiful parks, no one will blame you if you take your time and enjoy the sights. On the other hand, if you like speed and a good hard challenge, this course will soak up everything you can give. To earn a gold medal, finish within 8 hours; for silver, within 10 hours; for bronze, within 12 hours - as of 2015 there will be no medals.

Who's behind all this? The Défi de L'Île was founded in 1996 by Robert Fortier, a veteran of ski marathons who has made a solo crossing of the United States on inlines. This website was created by Rod Willmot after skating his first Défi in 1998.

What's the course like? Over half of the course is on paved bike-paths, often through parks beside the St. Lawrence River and Rivière-des-Prairies. The rest is on quiet streets, with a few short sections where you do have to pay attention to traffic. In elevation, the course is fairly flat, with a single climb in the first half followed by an easy downhill. Naturally, "flat" means different things to different people. The bike-paths tend to dipsy-doodle in every direction, including up and down, but the results are fun, not difficult.

Are there 1000s of spectators? No, nor are there any policemen blocking intersections, or volunteers holding out food and drink for you to grab in passing. Even the speedsters must stop for red lights and obey the traffic laws. Except for water at the checkpoints, you'll have to carry your supplies or buy them along the way. You are however welcome to have friends or family with you for support, if not skating then bicycling. The Course Guide points out recommended parking for support vehicles.

 


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