They’ve been friends for all their lives, sharing adventures, hopes, and dreams, and now Guillaume Larivière-Durocher and Yanick Brunette are going to work together on a cause that is important to them. Helping with the fight against poverty.
Guillaume and Yanick are getting ready to challenge both their physical endurance and also their mental strength with a cycling trip from Quèbec City to Hawkesbury starting August 19. The physical challenge is that they plan to do the trip in four days with strong head winds pushing back against them every kilometre of the way.
The mental challenge is that they are not going the highway route, but will follow the back roads between Québec City and their final destination, including one stretch that will see them almost isolated for an entire day with no breaks in their travel and no supplies other than what they are carrying with them. Relying on no one but themselves and no other resources for the whole four days is a taste, they believe, of what people who endure poverty go through every day.
« This journey is in a way our way of illustrating certain obstacles that poverty can bring to a life journey, » said Guillaume, who sees how poverty and other social problems can affect people through his work now as a psychotherapist in Rockland. « The metaphor is that we do not see the obstacle, but we feel it (the headwind), the environmental instability that requires constant adaptation (changes in road elevation), having to live in social isolation (the day without supply points), and the difficulties that we experience without others having to experience them and that we must resolve (unforeseen problems). »
The two friends became cycling buddies as a result of Yanick’s passion for the Iron Man triathlon. Cycling is part of the triathlon challenge and, as a result, he has spent the past 10 years developing his cycling endurance skills.
« Last year we started cycling togehter, » said Guillaume, « around the backcountry. »
Their first big cycling adventure was a 200-kilometre round trip ride along the Prescott-Russell Trail and connections, from Hawkesbury to Ottawa and back. In one day.
« We did that for fun, » said Guillaume grinning, admitting that for him it proved a real physical challenge towards the end to just keep pedalling. Yanick noted that Guillaume may have been suffering some during the final kilometres but he refused to quit.
After their one-day ultra-marathon-length cycling trip, the two started thinking about their next cycling adventure. That’s when they decided on the four-day trip from Québec City to Hawkesbury. Guillaume suggested they combine their road trip adventure with some kind of public awareness project about poverty issues in the community.
« I thought it was a great idea, » said Yanick, who works in nutritional science and is studing the social causes that can affect public health. « I know that I wanted to do something that would have an impact locally. »
And so Project Vent de Face/Headwind was created. The duo got in touch with Groupe Action, a regional non-profit agency that provides support programs and aid for children and families in need.
Now, as part of their 550-kilometre trek, the two will provide travelog updates on their adventures through the Instagram and Facebook social media sites, and also publicize their GoFundMe campaign to raise money for Groupe Action. There is also a tips jar at the Le Petit Pain bakery on Main Street in downtown Hawkesbury for anyone who is not able to pledge a donation through the GoFundMe page.
« What we really want to do, at the end of all this, » said Guillaume, « is to help inspire people to do something. We were born here, we were raised here, and now, these days, it seems that the same (social) issues are still here. But if everybody did just a little something, it can all add up. It all starts with having a little compassion. »
Follow the adventures of Guillaume and Yanick at: https://www.instagram.com/ventdeface550/, or https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100094465470538, and through www.ventdeface.ca. The GoFundMe link is at https://www.gofundme.com/f/vent-de-face?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_location=DASHBOARD&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer, or through Groupe Action at https://www.groupeaction.ca/donations.html.