There are many great cities and towns in Canada that boast strong ski communities, with excellent training facilities. Then again, there are many other towns that have no skiers, and many people who give you strange looks when you mention “cross-country” skiing. Belleville, a small city 70km west of Kingston, most definitely falls in the latter category, and it so happens that I’m working and training there for the summer.
How exactly does one put in the required hours of good-quality training in a town that barely sees snow during the winter? That was the question flitting around in my head as I began my summer job in Belleville. That, and of course “What am/was I thinking!?” I’m happy to say that after spending well over a month in Belleville, I’ve found the answers to those questions.
The biggest hurdle to overcome was the lack of rollerski-able roads. A quick search of the roads outside of town allowed me to locate a nice-sized hill for ski striding intervals and sprints. The occasional trip to Ottawa for a weekend has allowed me to get in some rollerskiing, while the rest of the time I get in my ski-specific hours through ski-striding.
Since I can’t rollerski as much as I’d like, strength has become a centre focus of my training this summer. Strength has always been one of my weaknesses, so I am hoping the extra time will allow me to bring my strength up to scratch (and not horribly fail at the team bench-press competition in the fall).
Belleville is situated very close to Prince Edward County, a region well known for its beautiful scenery and gorgeous biking. I’d never been a fan of biking, but after a few weeks in Belleville, I caved in and bought my first road bike (or joined the dark side, as I like to say). While I’ll never share the same passion for biking as some of my teammates, I have managed to enjoy some rides in Prince Edward County, and am looking forward to finding new places to explore on my bike.
Overall, training in a new and unfamiliar place has taught me to make the best of what I have and how to overcome the disadvantages associated with it. I’m looking forward to training in Belleville for the rest of the summer and excited to see how it will help my ski season!
A road entering Prince Edward County
Nice view of Quinte Bay
The view from the Bay Bridge heading into Belleville.
Some swans relaxing in the bay.