Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
Having completed the two previous editions of the Défi de l'Île de Montréal, I wanted to go after a third edition. The feeling of satisfaction after a marathon like that is very strong. I wanted to live that sensation once again, even though it always takes me several days to recuperate and walk normally after such an intense effort.
This year however Petrus (the god of weather in ancient Greece) played a trick on us...
I don't have to tell you that the weather was so bad even a dog wouldn't have gone out to pee. But not wanting to miss the Défi for any reason, at 4 in the morning I got suitably dressed (having checked out conditions beforehand at www.weatheroffice.com), before calling a taxi.
You should have seen the driver's face when I explained why I was getting in his car all ready, helmet on head and skates on my feet. Obviously he couldn't believe that it was possible to go 128 km on inline skates.
When I arrived at the starting area I met Charles Beaudoin, who gave me a transparent shower-cap to put over my helmet. This is a very effective trick for protecting oneself from rain and cold. He himself had put shower-caps on his skates to prevent water from getting in.
After the start I skated several kilometres with the lead pack, just to avoid falls and other tricky situations in the crowd behind. Gradually I eased up from that hellish pace to find my own cruising speed for getting through this adventure without suffering too much.
After about 2 hours, while I was skating alone along the road in Senneville, my left skate slipped into what I guess was a crack. Result: loss of balance and the inevitable fall. With my hands out front by reflex, the impact ended up on the left side of my chin. I got up immediately to keep on skating. When I touched my face the blood dripped down my fingers. After a while I got a look at the wound with the help of the side mirror on a parked car. I must say that it wasn't pretty, quite deep in fact. In that moment it was clear that I had to find a doctor. I stopped a car with two people in it who were going in the same direction, and asked if they could take me to the nearest place where I could call a taxi to take me to a clinic. Without hesitating they took me directly to the emergency room of the nearest hospital (Lakeshore Hospital in Pointe Claire). Once I was registered in the system I was second on the morning's priority list. After about 10 minutes a doctor was already sewing up my face, and a moment later I had 9 stitches in my chin to keep the wound closed.
So it was that my Défi 2002 adventure came to an end. Everything's going fine, in fact at no moment did I feel any pain, and I was astonished that such a deep wound could be so pain-free. I think that in future years, if weather conditions are anything like that I'll think twice before taking the start.
So, till next year my friends, but under the sun (Petrus willing). And congratulations to everyone who skated (whether they finished or not) on that day, Défi 2002.