Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
What a wonderful accomplishment! I want to congratulate everyone who skated even 1 km in those horrendous conditions. It takes a lot of guts to attempt 128 km on inline skates. It takes even more to attempt the same in the conditions we faced on Saturday, 19 October 2002.
In completing the course, we accomplished something for which we can all truly be proud. I spent many years in the Canadian Army and we always said that what separated our work from that of our non-military counterparts was that we performed difficult jobs under incredibly difficult conditions... not unlike the Défi of 2002. I am sure that all who have completed several Défis will agree that they are most proud of their accomplishment this year.
Well, enough of that. My summary of the course.
Section 1 of the course went well, despite my fall on the first wooden bridge... Boy, those things get slick in the rain. At least I wasn't alone as someone had fallen in front of me and three more joined in immediately behind.
Section 2 was the one part of the course where the rain actually helped. I say that because the course was so rough and the hill in Ste Anne so difficult... but the rain made me ignore all that and just think about soldiering on. I did begin meeting skaters to chat with though, and I found that most comforting and it helped me to forget about the conditions.
Sections 3 and 4 were long... the middle of a course always is. The biggest difficulty was the places where the bike path went into the woods. The covering of leaves, branches and water made some of it almost unskateable. By the end of section 4, I was actually ahead of my projected time and all was going well.
Section 5. Need I say more. The rain made the already terrible bike path even worse. The stretches along the sidewalk were so slick that I could barely push. And that lovely 40 km/h headwind!! What more could you ask for after having already skated 100 km in the rain. The wind simply overpowered me. But, I carried on and saw it through to the end. I can tell you that seeing that finish line sure felt good.
I think I can sum up my success in one word: prepared. With the help of tips from this web sight, that of Roller-Montréal, and several others, my physical training had me well prepared for the rigors of skating 128 km and confident that I was able to complete the task. Next was selection of equipment. By wearing only specialty sports gear I never did get my upper body wet, and that kept me warm and able to continue. Lastly, my experience in the army helped see me through when fatigue was setting in.
I want to close with a word of encouragement and congratulations to all who did not finish. We all have our personal thresholds of endurance and we must respect them.
Thank-you to the organizers and to the volunteers. You contributed greatly to the success of the event.
See you all next year.