Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
This was my first-ever participation in an inline skating event.
Let me tell you how I discovered this sport. Two months ago I bought a pair of inline skates at a garage sale... The wheels needed replacing, so I went to a sports store, and while shopping for my wheels I came across a bright yellow flyer announcing the Défi de Montréal -- 128km!!! My first thought was: how could anyone possibly go so far? But after thinking about it for a few days, I decided to give it a try and see how far I'd get. Looking around on the Net I found an inline club (Montréal Elite), which ended up teaching me a lot about the sport and especially how to improve my technique. People like Johanne Tremblay, Robert Mitchell and Charles Beaudoin -- they helped me a lot.
For me the greatest challenge was getting back some endurance, in under 2 months, after not having trained in at least 12 years. Putting up with multiple blisters and aches and pains, little by little I got in shape, and finally the day arrived for the Défi de Montréal! What an experience!!
Here I was, still a novice at the sport, and we had to get even more difficulties piled on top. Twigs and leaves all over the trails, rain, a headwind coming back.
Most of the way I did all right, except for the part where the road was so slippery it was like skating on ice. And of course the last 2 hours were just a struggle against physical exhaustion and muscle pain. But I know you all know exactly what I'm talking about!
Several times I had to deal with the temptation to drop out, but I knew I'd be ashamed if I did. It was such a relief to finally get into Old Montreal. As I closed the circle I was really surprised at myself, that I was able to meet the challenge of the Défi.
To close this, I want to say that what most impressed me that day was seeing all these skaters displaying so much solidarity, perseverance and determination, in a test that pushes your limits to the ultimate extreme!