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

Hello Everyone!
By:  Matthias Purdon   (2009/07/19)

 Hello everyone. I have recently moved to Ladysmith on Vancouver Island to teach sailing for the summer. Ladysmith is a small town on the east coast of the island just south of Nanaimo. Vancouver Island is incredibly beautiful and I have been having a great time checking out the area. A great aspect of being in shape is that you can cover a lot of ground on your own power. Exploring your new geographies is not only an adventure, it is a great way to get ready for ski season. I have done several of these adventure/training sessions and they have all been fun and new in their own way. Keep these workouts in mind when you go traveling this summer…. I have a couple of suggestions to get the ball rolling on your very own adventure/training session. 1) Mine for local knowledge- this means ask everyone where interesting things are. 2) Be ambitious- a two and a half hour run in a new area is going to feel different than at home, tell that little voice in your head telling you to turn back to be quiet. 3) Enjoy the scenery- check things out more thoroughly; don’t tie yourself to the trail if you don’t want to. 4) If you find a good place to swim, go swimming. 5) It is a good thing if your workout is longer than expected.


Mt.Tzouhalem, Duncan Vancouver Island

Mt.Tzouhalem is a small mountain just outside of Duncan which is 25 km south west along the shore from Ladysmith. I was told that this mountain had some of the best mountain biking in Canada and so last weekend I packed up my backpack and headed down for the weekend. “Best mountain bike trails” is a phrase that brings excitement but also some fear as what makes mountain bike trails “good” can also make them pretty crazy to ride. The ride up to the top of the mountain was defiantly insane; it was about 40 minutes of straight climbing before reaching the top most of which was in the granny gear.

The trails which weaved their way down from the top where nothing short of incredible, tight fast single track, steeps, ladders, jumps, and rutted corners until your head was spinning. I found my light cross country hard tail race bike was defiantly adequate for the job although I will admit I wasn’t doing any of the 15 foot drops they had set up! Having a light bike goes a long way not only for the climb up (some people drive their truck up with their downhill bikes), but also gives you an advantage accelerating out of corners and up little rises on the trail. I passed a group of riders who where all kitted out with downhill equipment as they walked up a short climb after a ladder; they probably noticed me smiling broadly. Another great aspect of this trip was staying with my friend Isaac who is from Owen Sound lives with his family in Duncan. We spent Saturday night celebrating Isaacs’s birthday and on Sunday we hung out along the Cowichian River before doing some more mountain biking and riding home. A very nice weekend indeed! Thanks so much for having me and Happy Birthday!


rest at Halsam valley

Lady Smith Main, Logging road

The other evening I did a 2.5 hour run up a logging road behind Ladysmith to see if I could find “the diamond” a canyon out in the hills. I ended up getting pretty close but I had to turn back as it was getting dark (I will post some photos when I find it). The road was not very exciting but kind of cool for someone from Ontario. Seeing the cut lots at different stages of regeneration, and somehow running slowly uphill for over 10km straight, was enlightening.

Holland Trail

The Holland trail is a new trail built right behind Ladysmith that follows the Holland creek up to the water reservoir up in the hills. The trail is really nice, there are some beautiful swimming spots (cold!) and a very serene looking waterfall (see below). The cold water is great for cooling off after interval sessions. I have done one continuous interval session up a logging road at the end of the trail and it felt really good to go swimming after. The cold water is good for preventing lower leg injuries by decreasing swelling and encouraging healing of small tears in muscles, and strained tendons, and joints.


Hope you enjoy the photos. Enjoy Summer!

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