Lyne Bessette |  life is a gravel road

Lyne Bessette | life is a gravel road

(Sutton) The last time I saw Lyne Bessette was July 17, 2021. She was in the middle of Maple Street in Sutton and had just rescued a cyclist who had collided with a car.

Returning from a bike ride herself, she was one of the first people to arrive at the accident site. The then US congressman for Brome-Missisquoi had taken over operations. So-and-so, ask for help. Other, watch the traffic.

Bessette had pinned the head of the victim, a 27-year-old woman who had also lost part of her middle finger.

“I found the tip of his finger,” said a lady who came to help. Bessette asked that we wrap him in a towel and put him on ice. Rescuers arrived shortly after, followed by paramedics. We were able to talk for a few minutes, we went to my nearby chalet.

The one with drawn features, thin as a thread, had announced the day before, on social networks, that she would not run for a second term, which had caused a small stir in the region. She had cited personal reasons and a desire to finally take some time for herself. She had not said more in a brief interview granted to the voice of the east.

Ten months later, an old colleague asked me about him. Any. We have not seen him in winter on the slopes of Mount Sutton, where he is a member of the ski patrol, or on alpine hiking trails.

The idea of ​​reconnecting with her came to me after an interview with Geneviève Jeanson, her fallen former great rival (see screen 3). I wrote to offer you an interview/cycling tour.

She agreed on one condition: “I would like to do a 120-130 km tomorrow, so short and sweet for the interview, when you have everything you need, I’m off. How are you? »

“I felt a bit trapped in a cage”

On Tuesday, therefore, I was at the door of my chalet 15 minutes before the agreed time. Smiling, he mounted his new gravel bike, a beautiful used Parlee with big 42mm wide tires. She had regained weight and color compared to last time. At 47, she still looks like an Olympian.


Lyne Bessette in her big tire Parlee

We agreed to arrange the interview before leaving. First question: why not represent yourself?

“Often, you follow the course of things. You say to yourself: I’m going to represent myself, then something happens in your life and you realize that it’s not necessarily what you wanted. It was a wonderful life experience, I had a great mandate, with a great team and great bosses. I learned many things. But there were still so many others that he wanted to experience and wasn’t ready to get back on board. »

In 2019, she was approached by the Liberal Party of Canada to succeed outgoing MP Denis Paradis. She initially refused, following the advice of her friends, who “90%” advised her not to embark on this.

I went to a meeting and sprained my arm a bit. I told myself: in the worst case it will be four years, it can’t be that bad. It will be an experience of life. Learning politics is like going to university. I will have this in my luggage.

Lyne Bessette

The campaign was a first great challenge. Knock on doors, introduce yourself to people who sometimes resist politics. She was hot in discussions where she didn’t feel as experienced vis-à-vis her.

Bessette believes that her English “saved” her in an Anglophone driving of almost 20%. She beat her closest rival, Bloc candidate Monique Allard, by almost 2,300 votes (38.2% of the vote against 34.4%).

Most of his tenure was spent during the pandemic, although he did not say a single word during the interview. Like everyone else, he adapted by buying a bike-desk for video conferencing. During the phone sessions, she would run on a treadmill or cycle on a road simulator.

Looking back, he realizes that he probably would have been better off waiting a few years before embarking on a political career.

“I thought I was still young. I still like to move. It has been my life. There are athletes who move on. They ride bikes on weekends with their children. That’s right. I have never been there in my life and I don’t know if I ever will be. »

I still have this desire to push my limits. There are many challenges that I want to take on. In politics you have to be at 200%, morning, afternoon, evening and weekend. I did, but saw that it was not going in that direction. I felt a bit trapped in a cage.

Lyne Bessette

However, she is very proud of what she describes as her three main achievements: the $2 million grant for the new indoor velodrome at the Bromont National Cycling Center, the cleanup of lakes in the region, and the citizen mobilization for the high speed internet connection. , on the eve of being realized in cooperation with the Quebec government.

On the other hand, he had a bad experience of what he perceived as a negative environment. “At the federal level you are the last resource of the people after the municipal and the provincial. People don’t come to the supermarket to congratulate you on your career. When they approach you, it’s rarely positive. It is to tell you that everything is going wrong, it ends up affecting you on a day-to-day basis. »


Lyne Bessette in an interview with our journalist Simon Drouin

“As thin as in the Olympics”

On a personal level, she is going through an ordeal: her husband left her on her birthday, March 10, 2021. She practically disappeared without being heard from again, she says.

“I had no explanations, nothing. I had life plans with my husband and suddenly everything fell apart. It’s like 20 years of my life disappeared. »

Last winter, he went to western Canada to clear his head. She has been alpine hiking on the glaciers of British Columbia. She cleaned in a shelter.

I was as skinny as when I did the Olympics. I decided to have a change of scenery to restore my health. But it doesn’t happen overnight. I could have been in China, you suffer the same. Silently, I stick my head out of the water.

Lyne Bessette

To clear his head, he swallows the kilometers on a bike or running. He has some endurance events to prepare for the summer, including a five-day adventure race with Brazilian friends next month in British Columbia. On the menu: trekking, mountain biking, rappelling and 100 km of river rafting.

We sleep when we can. I’m having a bit of a problem with this, but I can’t wait to see how it goes. »

He will also do the Ultratrail Gaspesia 100 Trans-Percé (100km trail race in three days), the Buckland (130km gravel bike) and the Gravel Bikepacking Challenge, another 500km gravel bike race in the region. of Magog.


After the interview, Lyne Bessette and our reporter went riding.

Brief tour of the Municipalities

So I turned off the cash register and we drove away. She on hers big 42mm knobby tires, me on my 25mm road. With Lyne Bessette as a guide on the gravel roads, it’s no problem… or almost.

We left Sutton on Route 215, where we chanced upon his father Alfred. After a few miles we cut to a first dirt track, before coming to a dirt road that looked like a playground for ATVs, between Brome and Knowlton. We had to stop to go over a tree that had fallen during the storms last Saturday night.

We followed the bike path that skirts Lake Brome before stopping in the village of Foster, where he greeted friends who own the wonderful Virgin Hill Coffee roastery. After a cappuccino, we cross Highway 10 to skirt Lake Waterloo, still on a gravel track.

After going under the A10 again, we stopped at his younger brother’s house in Fulford to take Victor, an avid golden retriever out of Frisbee. We returned on dirt roads between Brome Lake and Bromont.

In Knowlton, Bessette volunteered to run on a forest trail she used as a child. She laughed when I got stuck in a swamp, a hair’s breadth away from being covered in mud and embarrassment.

How would he have seen me at Heating Alfred Bessette et Fils, his father’s business now owned by his brother? His mother, Johanne, still works there and had a good laugh at my misadventure. I got revenge with a flat tire that Bessette offered to fix.

On the way back, he showed me his house in Sutton, his pond, and his fifty-acre wood. He dropped me off at my house before finishing Maple’s climb. Mileage: 73.5 km. half hour? You will not know

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