The miles run, the time freezes

  • Photo Catherine Desautels, Challenge Kayak Desgagnés, Montreal-Quebec
    A total of 90 kayakers will arrive in Quebec city this evening, after a journey of 249 miles from Montreal. Incredible views to reward kayakers of their efforts, they can adapt to their level of fitness by choosing a boat solo or tandem, relay or not.

    Véronique Champagne

    Saturday, 12 August 2017 21:19

    Saturday, 12 August 2017 21:19

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    Thursday morning, 90 kayakers put their boats in the water at the parc de la Promenade Bellerive, Montréal. Sunday night, they accosteront to the bay of Beauport to Quebec, after a voyage of 249 km. Narrative of journey.

    “Go to port !” says one of the members of the security force platoon. “To the left “, translated it immediately, due to lack of consensus in the feedback.

    The enthusiasm seems to be the common denominator of all the kayakers together. Captains seasoned rub shoulders with neophytes like me.

    Photo Catherine Desautels, Challenge Kayak Desgagnés, Montreal-Quebec

    The atmosphere is the camaraderie and not competition. It is about all of them to live a long, very long walk on the waters. Some pagaieront in a spirit walks, without being intimidated by the distances. Other décortiqueront mileage, pause after pause, a victorious smile with each step, drawing more and more deeply into their reserves.

    Montreal to Sorel-Tracy…

    Before the first strokes of the paddle, the excitement. After the first strokes of the paddle, the regrets : in what boat am I embedded ? This is after the other strokes of the paddle that it replaces, when you stop to think about the next, and then to the following. When we focus on each pull – rotate, shoot, rotate, shoot – left-right or right-to-left, that time stops.

    It is a rare few Montrealers in the peloton. Those who return home at the end of course have the habit of the river. In daily life, they can feel its presence, its tides, its moods.

    Of Montreal, the opportunities to throw in the water are more rare. He’s not fool ourselves, the water is not yet very friendly to the east of the island. The riverbanks are concrete, the wastewater discharged, there was a lot of work to do to make the river regains his form of yesteryear. Between the kayakers, we exchange with optimism on the important project of ozonation of waters. Alongside the river is inseparable from awareness.

    Photo Catherine Desautels, Challenge Kayak Desgagnés, Montreal-Quebec

    We rebuilt his forces Verchères before returning to the water. Later, in the distance, the smoke of the plant of Rio Tinto in Sorel-Tracy is the anchor point to which we paddle. Drink water, take some breaks, relax the legs… actions simple, during an effort demanding on the body, but resting by his routine and mechanics.

    In the evening, the mood is festive. The children who join their parents will dance until the last, exhausted, the climax of coming to bed at curfew. At night, our body still feels the rolling of the water.

    … in Trois-Rivières

    At 7: 50 p.m., the kayaks are in the water. In the distance we see the opening of the lake Saint-Pierre. It will go almost a day on this giant river swamp, which will make us feel vulnerable. It has not passed through her door that a front wind surprises us. Waves of two feet pulling us out of our rhythm, contemplative. The river is the master at it. In a platoon, we move now more slowly, but at a steady pace.

    The supervisors shall consult with the radar for the forecast in the afternoon. It is not a question of encountering a storm while we paddle seven kilometres of the banks of the juggernaut. By chance, in the afternoon, the kayakers will grow on a lake ” oil ” without a tub. They will sum it up paddled more than 10 hours. A big day.

    … to Portneuf

    The night was wet. This are not just bad weather that stops and kayakers. We reconstructed the full energy in the tent, ready to attack the mileage of the day. Then, the announcement : we walk away to Batiscan bus in order to avoid a storm, with winds of near 80 km/h which would come to our meeting on the river. Safety first.

    In the afternoon, we found our boats with pleasure, a favorable wind, bringing us to forgive the differences in weather of the morning. In the rapids, we reached the same peak as intoxicating to 20 km/h.

    Today, Sunday, we are left with 64 km to go. The long road between Montreal and Quebec city. Fortunately, on the water, the time stops…


    The ride


    By the numbers

    • 90 kayakers
    • 249 km
    • 4 days
    • 8 steps
    • Average temperature of the river : 22 °C
    • Number of strokes of the paddle : 75 000
    • 3rd edition
    • Average speed : 8 km/h
    • Money collected for the Young musicians of the world : over 175 000 $
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