XCOttawa.ca's first training camp of the year was short, but this did not prevent it from being sweet. Thanks to the terrific support of OWL Rafting and the Madawaska Kanu Centre we had a very productive and fun-filled training camp over the scorching St. Jean Baptiste day weekend.
Friday brought the second heat wave for the Ottawa area this season. The sun made the pavement sticky and the air was so thick you could practically take a bite out of it. We were thankful many times over that we were not trying to train in Ottawa itself, as the heat and pollution of the city would have only made things worse. We also would not have had the option of swimming in the cool waters of the Ottawa River immediately following every training session.
We discovered that the rumours about OWL being a great training location were most certainly true. There are a few things one looks for in a great spot for a dryland training camp: Excellent food that you do not have to cook yourself, nice trails for running, good roads for rollerskiing, water for swimming and a great atmosphere come to mind. OWL has it all! Quiet, rolling, scenic and well-paved roads as well as a vast network of trails were accessible right from our tents. The beach was 30 metres away and the food about 50 metres away. They even lent us one of their video cameras for technique work.
The highlight of the weekend was probably the long distance workout on Sunday. We rollerskied from OWL to the put-in area for OWL raft tours. Host Chris Mamen then took us through about 3 hours of rafting. This was followed by about an hour and a half run back to OWL. It is always great to do something with a special flavour once in a while. The particular flavour turned out to be Ottawa River water as we all tasted it following a spectacular highspeed unloading of our raft in the last section of rapids!
A huge thanks to everyone at OWL, but especially to Dirk and Claudia Van Wijk, Linnea Rudachyk and Chris Mamen!