The Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie Loop invades the South Shore and the Quebec Bridge

Technically, La Boucle de Lévis, which touched several municipalities on the South Shore of Quebec on Saturday, was the sixth of 12 stages of the GDPL 1000 km. In addition to the 1,060 cyclists who make up the registered teams, nearly 5,000 others were added, forming a gigantic peloton.

So much so that cyclists were seen for more than 40 kilometers. Despite everything, no hitch or generalized dissatisfaction on the part of motorists, at least according to initial findings.

“We must thank the residents who find themselves at the end of the route because they are partitioned for four hours,” underlined Pierre Lavoie in broad strokes, after an ice bath near his tent. They are the ones who make the greatest sacrifices, but they are on the side of the road, they encourage us with their children. We didn’t get any rocks thrown at us!”

Pierre Lavoie praised the patience of those who live along the route. (Dominic Courchesne/Pierre Lavoie Grand Challenge)

The co-founder of the Grand Défi therefore indicated that La Boucle had its reason for being, even if the organization of this year’s event required significant mobilization from government and police authorities. The participants, divided into three waves, started directly on the Quebec Bridge. Cyclists set off for at least an hour, starting at 8 a.m.

“It’s a big challenge honestly, from a logistical point of view with the Ministry of Transport and the police,” admitted Pierre Lavoie. The Quebec Bridge was closed all day. In some cities, it’s not even possible to close a street for a march… If we want to organize big events, we have to be ready to get on board and accept the fact that there will be constraints.”

In light of what he was able to observe in the field, customers were satisfied. Moreover, it was the first time that Pierre Lavoie completed La Boucle in the company of his daughter Joly-Ann, aged 20.

“It’s a great comeback for La Boucle,” he chanted. We closed it down last year because we no longer had volunteers, due to post-COVID. We waited for the situation to recover and today (Saturday), we had 1000 volunteers on the course. Thousand! In addition to the 500 for the 1000 km.”

The Quebec Bridge became a huge cycle path for a day, Saturday, as part of La Boucle du Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie. (Grand Challenge Pierre Lavoie)

A guarantee, or almost

Unless there is a change of heart, those interested can already target mid-June in 2025 for a new edition of La Boucle. Visibly inside this new version of the 1000 km, which continues to prove itself, this weekend, on the campus of Laval University.

On the road, The Daily was able to observe a rather rolling and fairly flat course. Rough pavement in places, but the favorable wind on the way back made things interesting.

The route of more than 130 kilometers offered varied viewpoints to the participants.

The route of more than 130 kilometers offered varied viewpoints to the participants. (Grand Challenge Pierre Lavoie)

Compared to the 1000 km stages, which take place at a controlled speed, La Boucle offers autonomy which allows cyclists to let themselves go, at their own pace. With three refreshments, the segments are approximately 40 km long, which provides a moment of rest.

“The course was sublime, there were almost no falls, everyone was super cordial; the volunteers, the pointers, the police, greeted Pierre Lavoie. It’s memorable to leave on the Quebec Bridge. We knew it had never happened and it’s making a lot of noise!”

IN THE PLATOON

• Pierre Lavoie was a direct witness to a situation that could have gotten worse during La Boucle, but he put his two cents in to sort things out. A motorist wanted to return to the parking lot of his home, but the volunteer had to wait until the cyclists had all passed. Mr. Healthy Lifestyle stopped to let the driver pass between two downtimes in the peloton. “I told him he owed me one,” joked Pierre Lavoie…

• Friday evening’s stage, in Pont-Rouge, was done without Pierre Lavoie, who instead spent the evening fraternizing with certain teams on the Laval University site. Around a fire, “to talk about lots of things”. A glass of wine was even seen, according to legend…

• After La Boucle, the 1000 km cyclists resumed action shortly before dinner time, heading for the Ile d’Orléans. The Jacques-Cartier Valley would then offer a good challenge for the end of the day, with its 796 meters of elevation gain over 93 kilometers…

• Les Équerres, a classic for all cyclists in Quebec, will be the flagship stage on Sunday from 6:45 a.m., on this last day of the 1000 km. The final stage will be the same as the prologue on Friday morning, but in the opposite direction, passing the St. Lawrence River before going up towards Old Quebec…

The two founders of the Grand Défi, Pierre Lavoie and Germain Thibault.

The two founders of the Grand Défi, Pierre Lavoie and Germain Thibault. (Grand Challenge Pierre Lavoie)

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