June 12th to 15th
I had a cycling event planned out since fall of last year. More than a cycling event, Le Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie is an event than has been created for charity purposes. Pierre Lavoie unfortunately lost 2 of his kids from a rare infantile sickness. From that point on, he and his team have been reinventing events for community awareness towards healthy lifestyle practices.
The event I was part of is called the 1000km. 200 teams of 5 people need to cover 1000km on bicycles (the pedal kind) over a few days. In order to register, you must gather 11 000$ as a team. This money is used towards research in rare infantile sicknesses. Most teams gather more and whatever you raise outstanding of the 11 000$ can be transferred as a donation to the schools of your choice. The money has to be spent towards sport equipment or other stuff that promote a healthy lifestyle. This year, we were able to give 8000$ each to 2 different schools. It makes a world of difference for them when you think about their yearly budget of around 400$ to purchase new equipment. Even though the 1000km is probably the most iconic event, Pierre and his team were able to involve more than 80% of all elementary schools in Quebec to exercise more this year. I truly believe they are changing the face of our community’s health at a much faster rate than any government initiative right now.
So the 1000km is a cool experience. The distance is broken down into various stages of about 100km. Some stage require 1 team member, some all of them. Most stages require 2 members. I cycled a bit more than 450km in three days. Stages run through the night as well and I got to experience it a few times. Quebecers are mostly supportive of this initiative and there were supporters almost everywhere along our route. You would arrive in a town at 3am under pouring rain and people would be out on the streets cheering as we arrived. It was quite a unique experience. Aside from the facts that it rained for 80% of the time and that I had not been on my bike for 3 weeks before it started, I truly enjoyed it. My teammates were awesome, our captain had everything organized and our driver (for the support RV) was quite smart at finding ways to sleep longer. I wish I could do it next year.
There was an open event on Saturday for another 4000 cyclists to join in. My brother Marc-Antoine and my sister Virginie completed the 135km under pouring rain. I was proud of them as it was the first cycling event they were part of. Conditions were nasty and they still managed to keep a smile on their face until the end. I really enjoyed my day with them.
Sun came out for the final 200km. We were all taking part of the final 25km up to the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.