.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Avoiding the Car
By:  Megan McTavish   (2008/09/22)


Today is "leave your car at home day" in Gatineau. Karl and I rode our bikes to work for an easy recovery Monday. Riding to work is a great way of doing some easy training. It is about a 30 minute ride each direction. We can extend it to 90 minutes by riding around the loop in Gatineau park before heading in or on the way home. It is about a 40 minute ride from work to the weight room and that is a great warm up. I tend to use this mode of training quite a bit in the spring but this time of year I try to get "more specific" with my training. That basically means more rollerskiing and less cycling. So, this time of year I limit my "riding to work" to one day per week. At the same time, I like to get to work without my car if at all possible.

The other great commuting option that we have is rollerskiing to work. We are lucky enough to be located very close to bike paths that take us through Gatineau Park or along the Gatineau river and bring us pretty much to the door of our offices (I get right to the door, Karl walks one block). We tend to do this type of commuting once a week. It is about an hour and a half each way so you get a good 3 hour day in just by commuting.

Another option that I tried out the other week was the trail run/bus to work. The bus from Chelsea is not that great. It comes at 6:56am and 7:38am and that is all. With the walk to the bus stop and the bus ride itself, the trip takes a minimum of 45 minutes and sometimes up to an hour as compared with less than 20 minutes by car and 30 minutes by bike. I also like to do some training in the morning and then go to work for somewhere between 9 and 10 and work until 5 or 6. I noticed that the buses down by the Relais Plein Air come every 15 minutes and there are actually two different ones that will take me to work. Given that I would be starting closer to work, the ride is also shorter (about 20 minutes). From the trails right across the road from my house, I can run down to the Relais in about 1:15. It is a really nice run and when I’m done, I simply hop on the bus and shower at work. After work, I can take a different bus straight to the weight room and then run home from there. Another great day of training and no driving to work!

Doing these types of workouts cuts our driving down to 1-2 days per week. I sometimes get rides with other friends who come up to the park for an early morning rollerski on the bike paths (thanks Craig!) or want to take me home and go for a ski walk or trail run (Alicia, Steph and Tara!)

So, in the spirit of "leave your car at home day" and the fall specific training....those are my thoughts.

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