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

2006 XCOttawa Season Summary
By:  Team XCOttawa.ca   (2006/04/13)


This year was a very good one for the X-C Ottawa racing team. (Highlights in point form) Moral was always high and many great results were seen from our athletes. The new members were integrated quickly and were very soon made at home in the team. We began our training in May and went all the way through the year until after the Nationals (we are still training right now!). Some training highlights before the racing season started include the OWL training camp, the Duntroon training camp with members of Exel Racing Team, and the first on snow skiing, for most of us, in Foret Montmorency. The long penguin intervals were eagerly looked forward to each week (not really!) and they ensured that we were in shape for the races to start.

To kickoff the racing season, a handful of the team headed out west for the World Cup Qualification Races in Canmore. It was very exciting that Karl qualified for the World Cups and was able to race against some of the best skiers in the world. Back in Ottawa, we organized two XC-Ottawa time trials at Nakkertok and both were huge successes. Other early races were the first O-cup in Hardwood, Haliburton OU Qualifier, and Coupe Skinouk; each that had XC_Ottawa racers on the podium.

The Eastern Canadians were held in Ottawa this year at Nakkertok and it was great to be racing on a course close to home. The races went very smoothly and all the trail work, barn building and trial “time trials” paid off in preparation for the big event. Two weeks after Easterns, five of our university racers went to the OUA Championships representing Carleton University. They were able to bring home silver as a team and Ed and Eva were recognized as OUA all-stars. Tom and PO (the two sprint specialists on the team) went to the Quebec Sprint Championships. Tom came away with the victory and he also surprised many (not us of course!) with his big win at the Keski sprints. Shelia, Wayne, Craig and Andrew also participated in the Keskinada but they did the long 50km event. Wayne and Sheila both had spectacular results (Sheila 4th and Wayne 9th) with former XC-Ottawa athlete David Zylberberg taking the win. While the majority of XC-Ottawa skiers were demonstrating their talent in Canada, Karl and Megan were taking on Europeans! The highlight of their trip was racing in the infamous Marcialonga, which was a great racing opportunity for both of them.

Lastly, the team headed up to Thunder Bay to cap off the season with the National Championships. Everyone raced well and the Finnish pancakes at Lappe were definitely a highlight! Tom had a great sprint race, finishing ahead of such people as Olympian Sean Crooks in the quarterfinal heats only to fall in the semis (but still managing to come an impressive 10th). Gavin and Ed both led the Carleton team to a silver medal in the University Relay and Linnea and Eva took the girls team to a bronze. All in all the season was a success with high points as well as the odd low point! Here are some individual comments from team members.



1. Favourite Workout: Classic striding/herringbone intervals up Khyber Pass from Shilly Shally to the very top.

2. Highlight: My racing year was pretty low on highlights, but having strong performances in skate parts of pursuits/ duathlons (Val Cartier, Easterns) was what I was happiest with.

3. Lesson: The most important thing I learned from the season is that they're not kidding when they say it's tough to take a full course-load and ski fast!

4. Improvement: I'm trying to improve my classic stride, strength, and training consistency/mental strength.

5. Which Fellow Team member do you enjoy beating most: My bro!



1) Favourite Workout: Penguin intervals, 4-6 minutes long zone 4.

2) Highlight: Unfortunately there weren't many good races this season at big events. The racing highlight would be Team Relay at Nationals.

3) Lesson: I learned that 650hours is just too much for me now with a job. Last time I did this much was 6 years ago, back when I was young and recovered faster. Recovery and resting is something I have to work on.

4) Improvement: Strength and speed are the things I will work on over the summer. In the fall and winter I'll work on being fresh, rested and snappy for all workouts.

5) Which Fellow Team member do you enjoy beating most: I’m going to change the question to “when do you enjoy beating fellow teammates most?”. When there’s a team time trial with lots of advance trash talk and club relay positions are on the line ( guess who won..)



1. Favourite workout: Long easy skiing, classic or skate, on a nice sunny weekend morning.

2. Highlight: Getting to race in the World Cup, racing at the Marcialonga

3.Lesson: That traveling during the racing season can be both fun and tiring at the same time.

4. Improvement: To be generally stronger and to ski with faster tempo, particularly in skating

5. Which Fellow Team member do you enjoy beating most: I like beating Megan


1. Favourite Workout: Skiing at the glacier in September or skiing at Sunshine in October. Both had beautiful scenery and nice warm temperatures. It’s also great to get to ski so early!

2. Highlight: The 10km classic race in Canmore was definitely my best race of the year. I was 12th Canadian with everyone there. My goal was to be top 14 so that I could race the World Cup but it turned out I didn't have enough FIS points anyway! Another highlight was the Marcialonga in Italy. It was 71 km and took me 4:27. It was super fun! I didn't know I could push myself so hard for such a long time!

3. Lesson: Sometimes you can't do everything! It was a bit much to expect to be feeling fresh for Nationals after traveling around Europe for 6 weeks and doing two long loppets. Also, driving across Canada in the middle of the season should be avoided!

4. Improvement: I want to keep working on my skating (which has suffered the last couple of years) and try to race well more consistently.

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: Karl....but it never happens:(


1. Favourite Workout: I did some classic rollerski interval workouts on blacks lake hill while the sun was coming up. that was pretty awesome - although i think it contributed to a late kick in classic this year.

2. Highlight: 3 highlights- Winning the quebec sprint championship, 10th in the sprint at nationals, and the 2nd XC-Ottawa time trial- the classic one- because i won the race that I helped organize, and 160 kids showed up!!

3. Lesson: I should focus specifically on sprinting, because I don't have the time to do an endurance-quality base, and that I can be confident in leaving a race to the final sprint - which really adds to my options on a racecourse.

4. Improvement: I'd like to focus a bit on leg strength, but mostly try and increase my lactic acid threshold over a 3-minute range.

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: my brother. I should stress that this is friendly- I want him to be #2 in every race


1. Favourite Workout:

- Dryland = penguin intervals, I hate them, but they get you fit.

- Skiing = time trials, anywhere esp. Nakkertok

2. Highlight: Learning to ski classical better and actually doing so in a race at Nationals

3. Lesson:

- Bend my knees more.

- Relaxing whilst skiing fast.

- FIS points are hard to come by

4. Improvements:

- aerobic and anaerobic threshold. I need to get a lot fitter

- classic technique as per usual

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: Karl, because you know you are going fast. Hang on a second, I don't think I ever beat Karl.


1) Favourite Workout: I think one of my favorite workouts this season were the workouts we did at Nakkertok, it was great preparation for Nationals. I also really enjoyed the challenging speed workouts on Penguin in the fall, they were painful, but they really got be ready for the season.

2) Highlight: I had a couple of races that I was really happy with. The first one was a surprisingly good result in the sprints at Valcartier, I placed 18th. I was also really happy with the 5km classic race at Easterns, I was 17th senior women and 6th university women. I was also part of the university relay team. We had a great race and placed third in the OUA championships.

3) Lesson: I had a few injuries and illnesses that held me back a little this season and I think one of the lessons I learned this year was to really pay attention to detail and to listen to your body. I think one of the reasons I kept getting sick was because I was not listening to my body. I also learned to be a little more patient with myself (I still have a lot of work to do yet!). I also learned that the "little things" really do make a difference like stretching, drinking and eating properly before, during and after workouts.

4) Improvements: Of course I always have goals on improving my technique, however I would also really like to focus increasing my tempo and continue to focus on things that I seem to neglect like improving my mindset, continuing to force myself to stretch after workouts, tracking my heart rate and once again continuing to eat and drink, before, during and after workouts.


1. Favourite Workout: I really enjoyed the intensity of the continuous intervals at Mooneys Bay in the summer and early fall. Sprints and time trials on snow are also a favourite. (Basically I like doing anything hard!)

2. Highlight: Winning my first two races in skiing. Even though they weren’t very big (OU Qualifier and Coupe Skinouk), it’s always fun to be the fastest on a given day. The 50km at nationals was a very memorable experience and I was happy the way I was able to pace myself through the majority of it.

3. Lesson: This year I learned the hard way how frustrating it can be to get sick in the middle of the season. I also learned how important the choice of skis can be in a race.

4. Improvements: I would really like to improve my sprinting abilities and top speed. To do this I know I will need a lot of work on my technique, balance and power.

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: Wayne, it’s pretty sweet to beat an Olympian. He also loves to trash talk me so the incentive is always there!


1. Favourite Workout: Hill bounding up Penguin hill in the Gatineau Park.

2. Highlight: The highlight would be early season in Silverstar. After all the dryland training it was such a great feeling to suddenly be in a winter wonderland with great snow, amazing trails, and racing among the nation's best skiers... quite a drastic contrast to life in Ottawa in November! I had one of my better races there too, finishing 8th in the pursuit.

3. Lessons: I need to figure out skis for warm conditions.

4. Improvements: Strength and speed

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: Ah - such a "guy" question!

I can't say I enjoy beating women on the team - and if for some reason I'm faster than Megan in a classic race I worry she's got bad skis or not having a good race! But maybe I would enjoy beating a guy more - not possible on skis, so I can only do this in summer triathlons by beating Wayne... but that might be a bigger challenge this summer since he's been working on his swimming!


1. Favourite Workout: Time trials and races.

2. Highlight: My best race was probably the 15km skate race at Nationals. Keskinada was also a very good race.

3. Lesson: I'm too old to learn! You can't teach an old dog new tricks. Actually I learned I can't race every weekend without getting tired.

4. Improvement: I need to keep working on my speed, since I seem to be losing it.

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: That would be Gavin, if I did, since he's the only guy on the team I didn't beat this year.

P-O :

1.Favourite workout : Any long classic ski!!!

2.Highlight : I wouldn’t say that there’s a highlight perfromence wise for this year… But the trip out west was really fun and I learned quite a bit. I did have a pretty good classic race in canmore.

3.Lessons : I’ve learned that I have to organize my training, school and work a bit differently…

4.Improvements : Hills

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most: That would be Tom… Even though it didn’t happen. He’s sprinting really well right now and would like to be able to keep up.


1. What was your favourite workout of the season (location and type):

I might by crazy, but I think my favourite workouts were the penguin intervals. It always feels good to finish a particularly hard workout…

2. What was the highlight of your racing year:

My favourite race was probably the mass start skate race at nationals where I was skiing in a group with Megan and Sheila.

3. What is the most important thing you learned from the season:

I’ve learned a couple big things. One is that the best way to improve technique is to think about it every step (assuming of course that what you are trying to do is actually helping…). Another big thing is to not get intimidated, even if you’re skiing with people who are usually faster than you or if there are two giant uphills at the end of the race…

4. What specifically are you planning to try and improve on for next year:

Double poling… again.

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most?!

In general the person who I like beating the most is whoever I can see ahead of me or can hear behind me…


1. What was your favorite workout of the season (location and type):

Defiantly the long slow distance workouts on Sundays with a couple random sprints here and there. I LOVE being up in the park epically on a sunny day and just being able to ski for a few hours - and the sprints bring a competitive edge.

2. What was the highlight of your racing year:

Probably the 5km classic races at Nakkertok for Easterns and Skinouk for one of the NCD races. I love the double pole courses so both suited me! Also the 10 km skate at Nakkertok for Easterns even though it wasn't one of my better races, but honestly, what can go wrong skiing in 3/4 length spandex, +10, a cool zebra bandanna and sunshine!!!

3. What is the most important thing you learned from the season:

The most important thing I've learned this season isn't necessarily ski specific, it has been to find a balance between skiing, school, social life and other activities. I know I know, everyone says athletes are the best at doing this, but I still think a lot of athletes, even though they have a goal and strong drive, still sometimes wonder if they are missing out on a lot of the university experience. I had a hard time at the beginning of the year finding motivation for the season, I ended up sacrificing practices thus sacrificing performance, but I was rewarded in many other areas of my life. In the end I really enjoying the practices I was able to attend, getting out for a ski when I wasn’t spending hours in the library, and no longer really feeling that nagging obligation to ‘train’. Overall I feel skiing has officially become a long term part of my lifestyle and really that’s what it’s all about – having fun and loving the sport.

4. What specifically are you planning to try and improve on for next year:

Next year I think I’m just going to focus on the university circuit – I feel that I can do 100 times better at the OUA championships than I did this year, AND it’s in Ottawa…. Pressures on Lakehead!!

5. Which fellow team member do you enjoy beating the most?!

What kind of questions is this?? Really Gavin aren’t we supposed to be a TEAM? And with all these managing groups courses I’m taking I have it drilled in my head that teams are supposed to work together and try to beat other TEAMS. So that said I love beating Lakehead, even though they killed us this year…  grrrrr

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