Victoria Côté knows what it’s like to give it her all.
The Ecole Victor-Brodeur student recently cycled to the top of the Malahat and admits it was exhausting. It was one of the longest rides the 15-year-old had participated it until that point, cycling the 79 kilometres from Victoria to Nanaimo.
“I really had to give it my all to get to the top of the Malahat,” Côté said.
But cycling the Malahat was a small feat compared to her most recent challenge — cycling 300 kilometres in three days.
Côté was one of 13 students from Ecole Victor-Brodeur, who participated in La Grande Traversee, a national road cycling relay in which students ride more than 2,000 kilometres from Victoria to Bathurst, New Brunswick in 30 days. Côtéand 13 other students from Ecole Victor-Brodeur rode the leg from Kamloops to Penticton and back again over the weekend.
Prior to signing up for the relay, Côté didn’t have much experience on a bike. Her father had recently purchased one for her, but she didn’t ride it as much as she would have liked. When the opportunity to take part in the cycling relay came up, she jumped at the chance to participate.
Training began just before the Christmas holidays. Every Tuesday morning cyclists participated in stationary riding and Thursdays after school they rode 25 kilometres as a group. Côté, as well as other cyclists, also practiced on her own time, riding to and from school and around Royal Roads University.
The weeks of training, and cycling from Victoria to Nanaimo helped prepared Côté and the other riders for the relay, in which they cycled 100 kilometres a day.
Participating in La Grande Traverse was an experience she will never forget.
“The most difficult part was constantly having to remind myself to keep going and that I would be remember this activity years from now and I wanted to remember it as an activity that I gave it my all,” Côté said.
La Grande Traverse, which celebrated its fifth anniversary this year, is a cycling relay that allows students across Canada to achieve personal challenges, develop physical and mental perseverance and leadership skills.