I aimed at cycling past my limits at the 100 tours par amour cycling fundraiser held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The longer I spend sitting on my sofa writing this article, the less I feel like getting up. I feel intertwined with the fabric, slowly melting into it. With no energy left to spare, I look back on the events that happened on Saturday, Sept. 18. The opportunity to be a part of the fundraiser and the importance of raising awareness for food insecurity ultimately made strangers come together.
For Étienne Laprise and Gaspard Vié, organizers of the fundraiser 100 tours par amour, the day started at 5 a.m. at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The event did not have an official starting time for everyone else, so people were invited to come at their own convenience to show support or even participate in accomplishing their own personal milestone.
I only got into biking around two years ago, however I began to take it more seriously this summer. Usually, I would only do 30 to 40-kilometre days, but my goal was to test how far I could push myself.
My original objective was to accomplish 200 kilometres in a day. I figured that comparing my goal to both Laprise and Vié’s 436 kilometres was modest, especially for someone who just got into the sport. At 7:15 a.m., I arrived at the circuit and was ready for the challenge — or so I thought.
Upon arrival, the pure rush of adrenaline to begin the day was amazing. In unison, two lines of 20-plus bikers filled the lanes. I felt great throughout the first leg of my challenge, catching up with people I haven’t seen or spoken to since the pandemic. At the peak of the fundraiser, many people joined our convoy while others came in support for the cause. At one point there were well over 40 to 50 people biking all at once. With all the energy bouncing off of us, it felt exhilarating to participate in.
As each lap passed by, the encouragement from onlookers seeing what we were all accomplishing felt reassuring, especially when your thighs feel like they’ve been in a furnace for three hours. Zooming at speeds upwards of 43 kilometres per hour, the draft we created really helped, especially when facing the heavy wind or going uphill. The whole three-hour segment in the morning felt good. I had at that point completed 120 kilometres, and I felt that I could easily carry on to 200.
After our second break, I started to feel my legs get under me. I still felt that I could keep up, but I could tell I was losing strength at a slow pace. It was only 20 kilometres into our second leg when I felt something that I had never felt before. At the 140 mark my body crudely told me that I was out of energy.
With every hard push of my pedals attempting to stay with the convoy of bikes, the further I got. I officially couldn’t keep up with the rest of the group. I tried on a few occasions to latch onto the back of the convoy but to no avail. My legs had no more to give and I was exhausted beyond belief. I had 60 kilometres to complete to get to 200 and I was so dead-set on that number, if I had just left I would’ve kicked myself for not completing my goal.
Those last 60 kilometres were very tough, especially in a heavy caloric deficit, but I eventually got through to my goal at a slower pace. As for Laprise and Vié, they completed their 436 kilometres in under 13 hours, beating their time from last year.
My biggest regret is that I didn’t prepare properly, and I clearly underestimated the calories needed to complete bigger distances. This experience provided insight for how I should prepare for next year.
Photograph by Gabriel Guindi