A major challenge for cycling enthusiasts

Published on July 13 2017

Gatineau to Tremblant by bike: a major challenge for cycling enthusiasts

Are you a fan of endurance cycling? If so, you should definitely add the Gatineau–Tremblant Challenge to your event calendar for next year!

An energy buzz from the moment you arrive

I showed up on the grounds of the Casino du Lac-Leamy about 45 minutes before the start time. The minute I got out of my car, I could sense the positive energy in the air. The parking lot was jammed with cyclists, volunteers, and trailer trucks ready to carry everyone’s luggage.

Rwanda comes to the Outaouais

Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, recently arrived from Rwanda, was my companion on this cycling adventure. Affectionately nicknamed “Bona,” the national road racing champion had landed on Canadian soil a few days earlier in order to join my cycling team (LowestRates.ca) and participate in a few international races.

It was a perfect opportunity to introduce him to our beautiful little part of the country before he hit the road for a few weeks of gruelling races.

Oil the chain and off you go

Once we’d registered with the helpful volunteers, left our luggage at the designated spot, and attached orange identification ribbons to our handlebars, Bona and I were all set for the grand departure. Or so I thought …

The reluctant cyclist!

If there’s one thing I can’t stand when I’m cycling, it’s being COLD!

With a few minutes to spare before the start, I decided to go back to the trailer truck and add another layer. The team of smiling volunteers was very happy to oblige.

The luggage crew was so well organized that I barely had time to get off my bike before they handed me my bag. I do believe it took me longer to find it in my own room a few hours earlier.

Snug in an extra layer of wool, anxiety-free, I joined Bona just in time to receive the safety instructions from one of our guides.

The beautiful landscapes of the Petite-Nation

The Gatineau–Tremblant Challenge took us through a part of the Outaouais that deserves to be better known. The route had us pedalling through the charming, beautiful territory of the Petite-Nation.

No wonder Dany Turcotte and Judy Richards were smitten when they visited the area for the Radio-Canada show “La Petite Séduction.”*

People were proud to see the groups of cyclists rolling by. Some families had even made posters to support the event and cheer us on. Thank you, residents of the Petite-Nation, for your warm welcome. You can be sure I’ll be visiting your territory again in the next few months!

* “La Petite Séduction – Petite-Nation”: Radio show episode hosted by Dany Turcotte with special guest Judy Richards, broadcast by Radio-Canada in 2007.

Safety on the road

As previously mentioned, the event is supported by passionate and dedicated volunteers and partners. Those helpful folks are everywhere: at the start and finish lines, in the bike repair vehicles, and at the feeding stations.

Each and every volunteer I met greeted me with contagious joie de vivre.

I mustn’t forget to mention the brave souls who, sporting bright safety vests and brandishing flags, directed traffic at major intersections and kept us all on track. We even had an escort of Sûreté du Québec officers!

Capture

The Pierre-Lavoie Challenge

This challenge, now in its 7th year, is for a good cause: the Casino cycling team raises funds to help youth in the Outaouais lead an active lifestyle. Each year, the money raised is donated to the Pierre-Lavoie Challenge organizers and invested in a local school.

It’s a challenge well worth taking!

SEE YOU IN 2018!

I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone involved in organizing this challenge. Thanks to your hard work and dedication, Bona and I had a great time.

It’s a life experience that Bonaventure will never forget. And you could experience it too! How about it: can we sign you up for 2018?

 

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