The time: ungodly early. The place: 500 meters past the last chance to hit a porta-potty, poised on the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montréal, Québec. The scene: I’m jumping up and down, wringing my hands and trying to release a cramped calf muscle that has plagued me for the past two weeks. Everyone around me does variations on a theme of the same nervous dance, waiting for the countdown to start.

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