August 2 to 9 were the dates of the NADC Ottawa-Gatineau training camp at the Madawaska Kanu Centre (MKC) near Barry's Bay in Ontario. Three XC Ottawa members successfully kept their heads above water for the entire week! ( well, with the exception of when trying to learn how to roll kayaks) These were Megan McTavish, Tom McCarthy, and Karl Saidla.
The same could not be said for the infamous coach of the NADC, Pavol "pinball" Skvaridlo, who appeared on numerous occasions to be flying through a real-life arcade game of rushing water and hard (ouch!) rocks. To his credit, he emerged from his ordeal with only light scrapes and a slightly bruised ego. In his words " I am no so good on a water, yaah!"
One person who IS good on water is Claudia Van Wijk, who, along with her husband Dirk, own and operate MKC along with OWL Rafting. Participants in the training camp were able to learn a few whitewater skills from a World Championship medallist and 10 time Canadian Champion! (Claudia). Our whitewater skills now include whitewater swimming (see attached pictures) which is extremely useful for those who are "no so good on a water, yaah".
Apart from whitewater paddling, activities of the training camp included running and horsefly killing (these two activities are intimately linked), road cycling, volleyball, rollerskiing, and of course, scootering. One major highlight was the conquering of the Algonquin Highland Backpacking trail. This is a 35k wilderness hiking trail, recommended to be completed by hikers in two to three days. Dirk said he did it in one day when he was 17, so the challenge was on. To make a long story short, we made it, but it sure took a long time ( roughly six hours). This led to chafing of body parts that can not be discussed in this column, but if you are really interested, please call Tom McCarthy at home.
The food at MKC was something to write home about. ( Most of us prefer to cry to mothers over the phone when we are at training camps, however). We had delicious meals every day for a week, which at least breaks my record for a string of delicious meals by about six and a half days (Not counting when I lived at home and my mother did all the cooking, of course).
Our accommodation (tents) was also excellent, as Pavol this time wisely chose not to erect his Octoberfest sized, multi-roomed, Costco purchased, deathtrap (most likely cause of death would be drowning) that was used by a few poor members of the team at our last training camp in Lake Placid.
A big thank you to the NADC Ottawa-Gatineau for organizing the camp, as well as to Claudia, Dirk, and everyone at MKC for providing such a great venue for a training camp. For more info about MKC and Owl rafting, please visit www.owl-mkc.ca.