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XC Ottawa's @Home Training Camp
By:  Team XC Ottawa   (2008/10/28)


Shorter days, longer training hours, more intensity and dealing with inclement weather are what makes Fall the toughest time of the year for skiers. So with the final preparations for the season upon us the last thing we needed to do is make life any more difficult. Thus things like traveling, sleeping in strange beds and living in close quarters while missing the comforts of home were ruled out. That left us with but one option - organize a stay-at-home training camp. It's a training camp where you put in big hours at new and interesting locations, but at the end of the day you go home and sleep in your own bed.

The schedule for the camp was as follows..

  • Saturday AM: 2nd Annual Ste.-Cecile de Masham Rollerskiing Championships, Duathlon Format: 6km Classic, 6km Skate
  • Saturday lunch: Team meeting
  • Saturday PM: Trail Run w Poles
  • ..go home
  • Sunday AM: Skating Rollerski Intervals, 7 x 2mins, Zone 4
  • Sunday lunch: Trail Run at Nakkertok
  • Sunday PM: Physical labor at Nakkertok

Saturday's weather ranked fairly high on the misery index, and only got higher as the day went on. The warm up for the duathlon featured light drizzle, the race itself had showers and the cool down - downpours. Which, all in all, is a huge improvement on the previous version which could only be classified as a monsoon. Meer showers allowed for much tighter racing and in the end Karl and Alana eeked out victories.

With the @Home training camp behind us, we look forward to a relaxing week of low volume and regular intensity - Penguin intervals (see Workout of Death), sprints and rollerski intervals. Once that's finished we're heading off to our first on-snow camp of the season Nov 6-11th at Foret Montmorency. Below are a few comments from camp participants.

Megan was quoted as saying "The idea of an "at home training camp" really worked out well this weekend. The camp feel was definitely present but we all got to sleep in our own beds at night. The duathlon time trial was great and its fun to rollerski somewhere new." While running conditions weren't ideal with all that rain and the leaves making terrain slippery, luckily no injuries occurred, although there were many "Are you paying attention Megan?" comments during the runs.

Sheila says, "The highlight of the camp again this year was the second edition of the "St. Cecile de Masham Rollerskiing Championships." This is a pursuit race (classic/skate), where coach John gets a front row seat of the transition entertainment (getting our poles out of the brush, skis out of the mud, and watching our legs buckle in the odd transition from classic to skate rollerskis). The entertainment value was lower this year, as Megan learned her lesson last year and managed to stay out of the ditch! The course was complete with big puddles, leaves, speed bumps, and fun twists and turns."

Karl was impressed with everyone's toughness "On a pretty miserable Saturday we had the WHOLE team entered in the St. Cecile de Masham Rollerskiing Championships. Kind of sets a precedent..."

He also had a few choice comments about the rest of the camp. "On what turned out to be a pretty nice day on Sunday we provided Nakkertok with a lot of man/woman power following a near drowning in lactic acid experience while rollerskiing ( 7 x 2 minutes) with some fairly serious distance work tacked on the end.

Congratulations to the rest of you for successfully turning a big pile of wood into sawdust with a machine that I know has many rules of engagement with which "failure to comply may result in severe injury or death". Justin can consider himself a fully qualified "Minister of Death" for any organic material susceptible to a brush saw. Zoe wins the most stylish award for the afternoon.

Adele summed up the camp as follows..

That was quite a...dramatic...end to a very big week for me. It was actually the 3rd biggest week I've ever done, and unlike in the summer and on the glacier, I had school to manage too. So overall I was happy with it, although starting the week off sore from the race didn't help. But that said, I was very impressed with my time trial and intervals on Sunday, despite the big volume during the week. Today, being Monday, my rest day, I feel good although just generally sore and tired. My 8.5 hrs of class today doesn't really help. I really liked the time trial course and it was fun to train somewhere different. I really felt like it was a true race simulation and I got pretty pumped for the season which starts SO SOON!!! I discovered that my focus on classic skiing this summer and fall really paid off. But in the meantime, I've fogotten what I used to love so much about skate skiing! The second half of the duathlon was definitely not as good as the first half. As for my wet clothes, I just got time to do laundry today. My poor roommate! The room smelt so bad all day yesterday that she left the window open all day and went to buy air freshener! So now everything is pretty much clean and dry, except the boots, which I don't think will ever dry...The 4 hrs spent with the wood chipper were considerably more enjoyable than they would have been if we had got the forcasted "rain, heavy at times" on sunday.


While it was a hard week, and an even harder weekend, I'm glad I did it all. Saturday was slightly miserable though, and my stuff won't be dry for a few days yet (mainly ski boots). The time-trial was the highlight of the weekend for me. It felt like I was actually skiing again, despite the driving rain and leaf-covered roads. Apart from my deathly heavy aluminum poles, my race went well. The run afterwards was fun, if a bit wet and muddy. I got my first glimpse of the caves at the far end of Lac Phillipe and it was good to get out on some trails that I hadn't run before. The next day, bright and early again, we pounded out intervals on a hill new to roller-skiing for me, and finished the workout with a long loop on the parkways (the absence of traffic was nice). The afternoon had more physical labour than I've done all summer packed into four hours. While none of us lost anything dear to us in the chipper, we all had thoughts of what other things would look like coming out of the machine. All in all, a good weekend!

Justin (Minister Kill Brush) ..

Here are my impressions of the weekend. I feel tired after a week with high volume of high intensity and regular z1 training. After the time trial and the rest of the weekend felt like the end of the racing season where you feel you can still go pretty fast but you also feel the accumulation of racing. A general tiredness from doing a lot. TT course was a pretty amazing rollerski duathlon course that we had all to ourselves. The hills we pretty tough as they were mostly between two techniques. Super fast striding next to you or real slow double pole kick. For the skate, it made for really tough one skate with partially locked hip flexors on the way out. I have a clothes and boot drying system with a fan so all my stuff was dry overnight. I still have all my fingers but while shredding away about 1km of trail side I was left with a new found skill for mass destruction and appreciation for those who do this full time all the time. 4 hours of weed wacking makes for lonesome work with a heavy machine after this kind of week.

There's nothing like a dry cabin, even without chairs, after a morning of training in the rain.

One of the few times it was possible to take a picture Saturday - at the end of day skiing out to the cars!

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