Report - Gilles Beaulieu



I'd been dreaming of taking part in the Défi Île de Montréal for nearly a year. I think my physical and mental preparation was right where I wanted. I'd foreseen everything: figured out the course on the map, bought the right equipment (comfortable skates, K2 Mod LT, 82A wheels), food, 78A wheels for rough pavement, Lifa and a change of top.

In September I'd gone to Granby to skate with the Roller-Montreal group, in order to get to know the kind of people who would go all the way around Montreal in skates. I'd cycled it 12 years ago so I remembered the distance, 128 km. What a beautiful challenge. I registered a month early to make sure I wouldn't back out at the last minute. So I was bound and determined, in fact I think I would have taken the start even if it had been snowing.

I'd foreseen everything, except the weather. We didn't have snow, just rain and cold.

If I'm one of the ones who finished, maybe it's because I had the temerity to start in the first place, and the luck to fall 5 times without serious injury. Also because I was able to change my Lifa in the parc de la Visitation interpretive center when I was on the verge of hypothermia. Now it's Wednesday the 23rd and I'm still sore all over. If we had those conditions again, I wouldn't do it. Five days later and I'm still looking after my aches and pains and various scrapes.

I'm extremely satisfied with having accomplished the Défi, and with having pushed to the limit of my ability. The organisation, the welcome, the signage, the volunteers, everything was perfect. A big thank-you to the organiser of the event, Robert Fortier, to all his volunteers and to the other participants, for having enabled me to live this unique experience. I know for certain we'll see each other next year.

Gilles Beaulieu