Sometimes, unlike in a ski race, it is useful to take a look behind you when you are trying to figure out where you want to go. Five years have elapsed since the first season of racing for XC Ottawa. Things have certainly changed to some degree, but we still exist! This was by no means a foregone conclusion when we started setting things up in the spring of 2001.
The impetus for the creation of XC Ottawa was largely that a significant number of senior category racers that wanted to do some relatively goal-oriented training and racing found themselves all living in Ottawa. At that time, despite the number of excellent clubs and programs for junior aged skiers, there wasn't really a viable option for those people over 20 who were still itching for vigorous training and racing.
The summer of 2001 was hot and sweaty. Those of us still with XC Ottawa from those days remember endless meetings trying to hammer out how it was all going to work. Of course, we were also training, working, and studying.
The going during the first two years was not always what you would call smooth sailing. Sometimes people argued, sometimes people got emotional, sometimes people didn't show up to practices and sometimes people quit the team.
Some things, however, we did very consistently. Training was one of those things, and racing another. We always scheduled workouts and we kept going to races. We were not always successful or pleased with the way things went. We have, however, managed some success along the way:
- A silver National Championship relay medal.
- One win and multiple top 5 finishes at the Keskinada.
- Multiple top 10 and the odd top 5 result at the National Championships.
- Two Carleton University Female Athlete of the Year winners.
- Skiers at World Cups and World University Games.
- Numerous Canada Cup Medals.
- Countless other performances we can be very satisfied with.
Racing, however, while the first priority of our team, was not and is not our only goal. XC Ottawa was also created with the goal of promoting the sport of cross-country skiing and the associated healthy lifestyle of its participants. To that end, XC Ottawa has involved itself in numerous activities beyond strictly training and racing over the last five years. Examples of this include organizing open time trials, clearing local ski trails, providing free cross country ski lessons, helping out at various training sessions and camps, and assisting with local road closures for rollerskiing.
Overall, we are perhaps best known for our website, www.xcottawa.ca, which serves many purposes. Under the sure guidance of the site's one man developer and administrator, Craig Storey, it has become not only a free resource for all kinds of ski related information for the skiing public, but also a terrific tool to provide much needed exposure for our many excellent sponsors and supporters.
While we can be pleased with our progress so far, an organization that strives to be dynamic and thriving cannot afford to sit and idle like a dirty old taxi. In the next article I will attempt to articulate what types of goals we have for the future, as well as at least some explanation of how we plan to get there.