Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
We did it again. And this year Jan and I finished the race in 7:14, taking 2:05 off last year's time! I felt great all day, stayed well hydrated, ate enough, was physically in strong shape after a very productive season of training and skating the NYC 100K in September and never got close to hitting a wall. Jan hasn't been really healthy for a couple of months and on top of it she was starting a cold. Inspite of that, she had a strong race, only really struggling over the last 15 km -- proving that "mind-over-matter" thing.
The race unfolded extremely well for us. Our checkpoint times were right on pace (26 km - 1:15; 50 km - 2:31; 79 km - 4:05; 99 km - 5:05). As you know the last 29 km are fairly difficult, but we were lucky enough to get caught by a group of 4 skaters and skated with them for a few kilometers, taking a lot of the work off us. When Jan started feeling bad (about the last 15 km) we dropped back and I did more of the work to keep us moving. I was happy to reverse our roles from last year, when Jan stayed with me during a painful final 40-50 km, after I had thoroughly injured one of those big muscles in the groin.
This year I even noticed more of the scenery: We took a stretch break around km 90 or so and took a few photos and admired the clouds overhead. It was such a gorgeous day.
We had the pleasure of seeing a few skaters quite a bit (François from Val David, was our most steady companion for what seems like a good 40 or 50 km) and connecting with people. This year I found things a lot easier, never even had to pull out the course description in confusion about where to go next. Between skating around people who knew the way and also seeing more yellow arrows we did pretty well just remembering the course from last year.
That the weather held was fabulous. Last year's rain made everything so much more difficult, that it felt so much better to me this year. This of course simply attests to the subjective nature of long distance racing. I am thrilled to have been there again and I'm thrilled to be part of this unique group of skaters who go out to test themselves in this most unique event. We'll see you and everyone in November at the awards dinner!
And last but not least, congratulations to you on a fabulous time and thanks to Robert and his family and all the people volunteering along the way. This is a great race with a great attitude! I'm sure Robert's vision has a lot to do with it.