A 24-hour bike race, for Quentin? Yes, I'm ready to join in because it’s for a good cause : autism.
At Puttelange-les-Lacs (Moselle department, France), I’m there for the starting signal at 3 p.m. I take the start at 15h under a lowering sky. I’m blind, but I’m confident, because my guides are there, as well as my dog, Florida. It’s a small circuit, only 661 metres, and you might think that it’s just going around in circles; however, because it’s in a village, with spectators, volunteers, and a welcoming host, all goes smoothly. The weather forecast for the night is a big storm and endless rain. My guides will change over every hour, and I just keep going on and on: they make jokes to try to make me forget my wet feet and the continuous downpour. I lose heart at one point, but then Quentin, on board an electric bike, came to encourage me. At 17, he still can’t talk, but he claps weakly with his little hands. It gives me a second lease of life! By daybreak, the sky is clearing up, and I get going again, with the encouragement of my team (and a good breakfast). are getting warmer, and do not forget to feed me, I reparts with the encouragement of my team. My 5 guides and my friends all do the last lap all together with me. An unforgettable picture! The screen shows the results: 161.28 km. I am proud to have succeeded, and I can scarcely believe it... Now all I have to do is recuperate. With a thought for autistic people, or people with other disabilities, who have a harder time of it.
After a well-deserved rest, I’m already dreaming of my next challenge: the Bourbon Trail on Reunion Island, a different kind of challenge, with technical difficulties and time limits. A 93 kilometre race with 5200 metres uphill: not for the faint-hearted!