Défi de L'Île de Montréal
128 km on inline skates
My name is Steven Davidovics and I was a first time participant in the Défi. I actually only first heard about it three weeks prior to the event, and tried desperately to prepare. I met an old friend, Leo Beinglas, who incidently at 52 years old beat lung cancer with a steady diet of good exercise and good food -- and quite possibly good luck. When he told me he roller-blades to work everyday form Montreal West to the Downtown core I was impressed. He also introduced me to the Défi, and I quickly jumped on the bandwagon, being someone who loved skating as well. I spent the last year mourning the death of my father who died suddenly and unexpectedly, and needed something like this Défi to help me get back on my feet emotionally.
At 46, and in relatively good shape, I started out like a kid in a candy store. The weather couldn't dampen my enthusiasm, and a long as my skates and traction were ok I was going. After 20K I was soaked through, but somehow my body temperature which usually goes very high was tempered by the cold and wet. I was drinking Gatorade, eating energy bars and a couple of bananas, and by some miracle managed to regulate my body temperature.
Leo had to stop after 70K, but I still felt well enough to continue. The next 20K I was on my own, and it was getting tough. I was blistering on my feet, I was cold, lonely and wet, not to mention tired and sore. But I said to myself, always thinking of my father and my friends who laughed when I told I was doing 128K, that I had to try and finish. I met up with the boyfriend of one of the skaters I'd met earlier, he even offered me a banana, and suggested I wait for his girlfriend who was approximately 5 minutes behind me. She had been skating with her brother, who subsequently whizzed by without her. He saw us as he was going by, and said his sister was coming up. He'd decided to make a sprint for the finish. The boyfriend said you can skate with her at a slower pace and he offered me encouragement and another banana and an Aero bar.
The last stage was hell. Every time I had to lift my skate I had to grunt. She laughed and smirked but went about her steady mission to finish. Her brother finished and even had enough energy to come back, meet us, and skate in the last hour with us as we barely made it. I really appreciate the human kindness that Carole Daoust and her boyfriend demonstrated, and of course her brother Michel, who would have finished among the leaders but spent most of the day with his sister who had a much slower pace
Thanks to all the dedicated volunteers who helped out, to you Rod for meeting me when I arrived making sure I was alright, and to Renaud Nicholas who I met in the changing room and gave me tips on how to take care of myself. It's the people, the love and caring that were the true winners on this very extraordinary day that I will never forget. Thank God.