Report - Pierre Pauw



I would like to start by thanking the organizing committee, all the volunteers, and finally Rod Willmot for all his tips on training. This was the first time I did the Défi, I started inline skating in May of this year. I had played hockey in garage leagues for years but never roller skated. First time out I did what I thought was long, 9 kilometres; it took me almost an hour. I thought with a bit of practice and a bit of work I could do 20 kilometres!...

One morning I was reading the Gazette and came across an article and a picture of Susan Hayward talking about a Défi on the island of Montreal and how she did it for the first time. I got realy interested, so I took the plunge and signed up. I would bring my skates to work and go skating on my lunch hour, I would go to work skating (I live in St. Hubert and work right next to the Lachine Canal in Lasalle), about 20 kilometres. But I never really did more than 40 km at one time. The big day was getting closer and I did not feel that I was in good enough shape. But heck I'm in, I'll go! My goal was to start and see where I stop, hey if I finish, wow.

The morning of the event I got to Verdun and it started to rain. I figured it will rain for one hour and clear up -- it hasn't rained all summer why rain now? The start seemed good, I was rolling along pretty well, passed a lot of people, got to the first check at 7:15. It rained heavier and I was drenched but kept going, got to the second check at about 8:45, slowing but steady. Pierrefonds Blvd. Got splashed, splashed, splashed again and again. I didn't notice maybe it was the same car, anyway by the time I got to Gouin I was water-logged, but not too cold, so I kept going.

I got to the end of section 3 at 11:00. Now I was cold and sore, I had cramps in both my legs, I couldn't feel my feet. Sounds like a good place to stop I told myself, but the lady and the man who gave out hot chocolate convinced me to keep going. He lent me his chair and told me I had 2-thirds done, only 48km left. "Sit, take your time, it's not a contest," he said. I waited 10 minutes or so and continued. My tempo had slowed but still good, I got to the end of section 4 in about 1 1/2 hours, took my time, filled with water, got a bit more motivation from the volunteer and left.

The last section went reasonably well. The head winds were not too bad, the stopping at what seemed to be every traffic light was worse. At some point going through a park I met up with Mario #182; he told me he was going to stop; I told him no, we would cross the finish together. He was very sore, wet and tired, we stopped at a bus stop to shelter from the wind. I gave him a granola bar and some Gatorade. We talked for about 10 minutes, warmed our legs by rubbing them, and made on our way from that point on. Seems we had enough energy, if nothing happens to us we are home free. We got to Lafontaine Tunnel and before we knew it we were at Jacques-Cartier Bridge. We talked, we lauphed, and skated without really thinking about what we were doing.

Next thing we knew we were at Canadian Tire and I said, "Mario, from here you can see the roof of the Auditorium." He started going faster, I said "Remember we cross together," he grabbed my hand and we both sped up. We could hear horns, bells, whistles, people cheering.. Oh what a great feeling it is when you finally cross that line.............

Next year gold... For me and Mario.

Pierre Pauw