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“My body was not my limit”: He crosses Europe by bicycle, a distance of 4,000 kilometers, despite Crohn’s disease

“My body was not my limit”: He crosses Europe by bicycle, a distance of 4,000 kilometers, despite Crohn’s disease

Vincent Nadon



Vincent Nadon took part in the Transcontinental Race in 2023. So he crossed Europe, from Belgium to Greece, by bike.

Photo courtesy of Vincent Nadon

35 years old – Montreal

The world of audio research and development

· Transcontinental race

Why ?

“After crossing Canada in 2018 to discover my country, the next step was to cross Europe in a transcontinental race that really piqued my curiosity.”

Four thousand kilometers by bike is the distance that Vincent Nadon covered last summer from the Belgian countryside near Brussels to the city of Thessaloniki in eastern Greece on the edge of the Aegean Sea. An out-of-the-ordinary adventure that allowed him to discover the hidden corners of the ancient continent for two weeks.

If some people do it with a backpack during their stay in hostels before they become adults, the 35-year-old Quebecois decided to do it with his shiny carbon bike in Quebec prepared by the manufacturer Panorama Cycles, from Granby. A company that makes bikes for those who prefer gravel, snow and trails rather than endless, perfect asphalt roads.

This is exactly the spirit of the transcontinental race. Every year, organizers choose a new route. With complete independence and inability to obtain assistance from third parties, participants are free to choose their route, but must pass through mandatory checkpoints. It is equipped with navigation tools and can travel on gravel, dirt or asphalt roads.

Despite the many crazy cycling events across Europe, the Transcontinental Cycling Race remains the continent's longest-running independent long-distance competition.

Shocks

During the 2023 edition last July, after passing through France, Switzerland and Italy, Nadon crossed the hinterlands of Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania. A true gift to explore countries he never knew.



Starting in Belgium, the 2023 Transcontinental Race route passed through France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Albania before arriving in Greece.

Screenshot of image LOSTDOT.CC

“I noticed sudden social and economic shocks,” he says of his journey from Western Europe to Eastern Europe. “I have witnessed all the poverty. In Bosnia and Albania we see that the value of money is completely different.

“When you're just passing through Switzerland, which is perfection, it's striking,” says the man who has observed it over hundreds of kilometers interspersed with small towns. I have seen the decline of capitalism towards communism.

training”

In early 2015, Nadon went into exile in Belgium to obtain his doctorate. This is where his life changed. First, he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease there. A serious inflammatory bowel disease forced him to change his lifestyle habits.

In order to better manage his stress and regulate the symptoms of the disease, he decided to ride a bike. Because when he arrived in Belgium, he was not used to discipline.

“I started riding and doing longer distances. I discovered the full scope of cycling. When I left, I would often ride more than 250 kilometers on my outings,” says the man who is now an audio research and development scientist.

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Bike touring type races really piqued his interest. So friends challenged him to transcontinental. But Nadon modified it.



Vincent Nadon took part in the Transcontinental Race in 2023. So he crossed Europe, from Belgium to Greece, by bike. Courtesy Paul Spethman

Courtesy Paul Spethman

He says, laughing: “Before setting off to discover the countries of Europe, I had to discover my country.” So in 2018 I decided to cross Canada. This was the first step. Then, I can make the transcontinental flight.

Makes sense, because more than 4,000 kilometers separate Montreal from Vancouver by bike. A “training” challenge worthy of what awaits on the other side of the Atlantic. So he benefited from the knowledge of coach Jacob DuPont.

Change course at 180

In his quest, his illness was a real motivation, because it forced him to maintain his fitness and implement his projects before it prevented him from doing so.

So the cyclist set high goals for the transcontinental journey, believing that he would be able to complete the journey in 10 to 12 days. However, this competition requires careful logistical preparation.

However, navigation glitches from day one slowed him down significantly since the modern software configuration he chose to guide him played bad tricks on him by making him ride on more difficult trails.

“Very quickly, I realized that I was in this race for a nomadic journey to see beautiful adventurous landscapes, rather than fighting against a timer. I moved from performance mode to meditative mode. However, I wanted to finish on time.”

“My body was not my limit,” concludes the man who covered the official distance of 3,822 kilometers to the finish line in 13 days and 14 hours. Rather, it is the things that cannot be measured, such as organization and management, that we must know how to do well.