Our meeting with Jimmy Pelletier, paraplegic Olympic athlete, who is cycling across Canada to raise money for disabled people.
Crossing Canada from coast to coast in 67 days is a huge challenge. Doing it with a handcycle, that’s even more impressive. But that won’t stop Jimmy Pelletier, paraplegic Olympic athlete, who left Vancouver on May 7 on a journey that will take him to Halifax on July 10. Why is he doing it you may ask? Raising funds for two charities helping people with disabilities.
''I thrive on challenges and I love to give back to others. I’m in my comfort zone'', admits Jimmy Pelletier over the phone on the second morning of his journey, of which Germain Hôtels is a partner.
As he’ll cycle across Canada, Jimmy Pelletier will make pit stops in many of our hotels: Alt Calgary East Village, Alt Winnipeg, Alt+ Quartier DIX30 and will conclude his excursion at the Alt Halifax.
But before thinking about Halifax, there is much road ahead of him. ‘’Today (May 8) will be the hardest day, declares Jimmy Pelletier. On that day, he cycled for 114 kilometers reaching 2151 meters in altitude between Harrison Mills and Manning Park.
To prepare for this intense physical journey, Jimmy Pelletier, who participated at the Olympic Games in Torino in 2006, trained all winter long. ‘’As I’m a trained athlete, it wasn’t too hard getting back to it. I have good physical capacities.’’ Another part of his preparation, and a very significant one, is visualization.
''You visualize everything: before, during and after. I would look at the map and see which day was to be the most difficult'', explains Jimmy Pelletier. As he was embarking on what he considered the hardest day of his journey, he felt calm and very positive. ''It is going to be 26 degrees; we will be cycling near a lake with the mountains as our backdrop. You have to think about these things when the road gets tougher.''
What drives him so much? ''I’m always thinking about people with disabilities. When they see me, they feel inspired to push themselves harder. I’m doing it for them.''
It is to help them that Jimmy Pelletier wishes to collect $180 000 through his bike journey. After less than a week into his trip, almost half of this amount had already been collected. The athlete is confident he’ll reach his goal by the end of the journey.
What does Jimmy Pelletier plans to do when this is all over? ''I’ll relax!'', he concludes with a good laugh.