Report - Patrice Bance



I have finally recovered from the "Hell of the East". It started with a dark, cold, rainy, windy, leafy morning, and finished with a bright, cold, gusty, sunny day. Just after the countdown the only thing I remember is seeing a lot of helmets and skaters passing by, yelling and criss-crossing in front of me.

It was so dark that some skaters had head lamps and the path was lit with flares. Twilight Zone!!! People were falling a lot so my only concern was to survive. The first 25 km were very curvy, causing a snake effect which as you all know, is always stop and go. I was not comfortable with that so I worked hard to make my way politely to third position in my peleton.

The group shrank to about eight to ten skaters, the road got wider, and the sun rose. It was fun - time to introduce ourselves. There were skaters from France, Illinois and different parts of Québec. I was suprised to discover most of them knew about "Patrice the guy from Vancouver". It was good friendship. We all shared the pull, showing off our double push or something similar. Nice scenery! I tried to enjoy the view but everyone was talking about the hill, the Hill, the HILL!!!

I started to worry. It turns out it wasn't much to worry about. On top of the hill we were two, yes only two. I turned around and some skaters had stopped. The "mountains" are much smaller around here. I slowed down and waited a bit so I could stay with the main group, but it never materialized again.

Thankfully we made contact with Robert, a sore but very happy skater.

We finished the Défi together with smiles and hurting bodies.

My suprise was to find out that my time was 6 hours 37 minutes and this is the 8th best time! Yahooouh!!!

It is a good way to clean the body and the mind... and to dirty your skates!

Patrice Bance