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The 5 Best Things about XC Ottawa
By:  Lee Hawkings   (2013/05/13)

I am sad to be leaving XC Ottawa this year, along with several other team members. The last four years of training and racing with the team have been some of the best ski experiences of my life, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to join the team. As a farewell of sorts, I want to highlight some of the unique qualities and strengths of XC Ottawa that I have experienced. This may be interesting to those considering joining our team, supporting our team, or simply knowing what we are about.

1. Everybody LOVES skiing

Our team is unique in Canada as an independent adult racing team. A majority of us go to school or work full time, therefore skiing is our fun activity. The money and time invested into training as much as we do means there is pressure to perform. As we all know, skiing is not a simple case of training more and skiing faster, and when things go wrong it can be very hard to stay upbeat. While we have expectations for ourselves to perform, it can be easier to deal with failures as we have things going on in our lives, external to skiing. We don’t have all our eggs in the racing basket and this allows some pressure to be lifted. I found it makes skiing a much more enjoyable experience overall.

2. The athletes run the team

From training camps to race organization, everything we do is self-organized. While this means a bit more work by everybody, it helps us cut team costs, do things that we want to do, and be very flexible throughout the years. My time on the team has taught me a lot about how a ski team works and how to organize a trip. I think this is invaluable experience, and I hope to apply this in the future by volunteer coaching the next generation of skiers.

3. Fun and varied training

As a result of being an athlete run organization, we have the power to organize our own training activities. This is great, as we do not always end up doing the same workouts week after week. We ski in many parts of the Gatineau Park and at Nakkertok on a regular basis. If there is something new we want to try in our workouts, we just have to suggest it and it can be incorporated into the next session.

4. Flexibility

With many team members, all at different stages of our lives and with different goals and focuses, we have a unique ability to adapt to different situations. To me, the best example of this was our ability to successfully race in so many different types of races over the past season. Members of our team participated on the NorAm circuit, the OUA circuit, at the Quebec World Cup, at the Gatineau Loppet, at Quebec Cups, Ontario Cups, the Oka Loppet, US Supertour races… you name it, we were probably there. This type of flexibility is not possible with a more structured team like a National Training Centre, and it is a huge strength of our team to be able to compete at so many different events and levels. To me, this flexibility and variation is part of what make it so enjoyable. What we offer as a team can take you wherever you want to go in your ski-racing career!

5. Fantastic volunteers and Supporters

Obviously a team like ours would not be possible without the tremendous support we receive from the Ottawa ski community. Our coaching and waxing is done exclusively by volunteers and we are forever grateful for their help. We also receive a lot of support from local and international businesses that help us with both funding and equipment.

Thanks to XCZone.tv for the great pictures!

From the team:
Thanks to Lee for a great 4 years!  We have really enjoyed being teammates with you and wish you lots of luck back in the Yukon.

Interesting Reading. . .
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