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48h de vélo: When Jessica Locas Design pedals for a dream

It was in 2015 that the “48h de vélo” came into my life. While working as an industrial designer at Lumenpulse, I was looking for a sporting challenge to propose to my colleagues, just for fun! I came across information about the 48h de vélo challenge taking place in September on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and suggested the idea to my team. We enthusiastically put together a team of 6 Lumenpulse members: two designers, three sales representatives and one member of management. That year, we took part for the first time in the 48h de vélo, an event that will stay with us forever.

I left Lumenpulse in 2017, but I’ve had the opportunity to return several times to 48h to support this company, which has always warmly welcomed me. After a break of a few years, I’m back on the runway this year with my team of designers to represent my new company. I’m proud to see how hard my team is working for this cause. This proves that we share the same values and a strong team spirit.

For those new to the concept, the challenge is simple (at least in theory): pedal for 48 hours, from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime. The reason? Raise funds for the wonderful Make-a-Wish Canada Foundation, which makes dreams come true for seriously ill children.

Teams are made up of 6 cyclists. Everyone takes it in turns to take over every hour, ensuring a continuous presence on the track for the entire 48 hours. Each rider rides for a total of 8 hours, with 5-hour breaks between each session.

As far as logistics are concerned, everything is impeccably organized, offering a memorable experience to all cyclists who give their all. Each team has a living area to encourage the other members, as well as a rest area under a huge tent where they can pitch a tent to sleep. But sleep is a big word! The challenge takes place near Mirabel airport. Our tents literally vibrate to the sound of planes taking off at night. And in the common area, the sound of alarm clocks and zippers from neighboring tents is a constant reminder that sleep is almost a myth during these 48 hours. But who could really sleep with all that electrifying energy?

Food, drinks and snacks are provided for participants during the event. It’s quite a feat to feed 2850 hungry people at any time of the day or night. More than 300 volunteers are on hand to support us, and over $1 million in sponsorship has been provided by various companies.

Lack of sleep and long hours of pedaling are probably the most daunting challenges of the weekend. However, any fatigue is quickly forgotten, replaced by deep gratitude for the effort made. Together, we’ve pushed back our limits for a cause close to our hearts. We come away filled with love and gratitude.

In all, our team covered 986 km. It’s a collective adventure we’ll never forget. In the face of pain, we pedaled even harder, and every time the thought of giving up crossed our minds, we remembered why we were there.

I’d like to thank Céragres, and especially Sylvana and Lynda, for their tremendous commitment to this challenge. My thanks also go to the marketing department, which contributed financially.

This year, 2850 cyclists mobilized and raised over $3 million to make sick children’s dreams come true with the Make-A-Wish Canada Foundation. What moves me deeply is that this challenge has been going on for 15 years. Some of the children who saw their dreams come true thanks to this initiative are now cured and taking part in the challenge alongside us. It’s simply incredible!

On Saturday evening, at 8pm, some 32 hours before the start of the challenge, the track closes and all participants gather under the main tent. We attend a presentation by the leaders of the challenge and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and have the privilege of meeting children whose dreams have been fulfilled. Their emotionally-charged testimonials give us the energy we need to finish our race.

For the 2023 edition, I’m proud to announce that our team, made up of Sarah Bherer, Pascale Godin, Sarah Archambault, Lynda Drolet, Sylvana Herve and myself, Jessica Locas, succeeded in donating the impressive sum of $7060.55 to the Make-a-Wish Canada Foundation.

I think it’s a shame that Make-a-Wish’s 48-hour bike challenge doesn’t get more media coverage. Despite its 15 years of existence and the records broken every year in terms of participation and fundraising, it deserves more recognition. I invite anyone who is interested in the challenge or would like to take part to share this blog post. I’d be infinitely grateful.

Long live this cause and bravo to all the 48h cyclists!

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