This weekend xcottawa was lucky enough to make their way up to Foret Montmorency Thursday night for an on snow training camp. This is the second year I have been lucky enough to cheat the system and get on snow before anything looks remotely promising in Ottawa. I had been anticipating this trip for about two months and no need to ask whyÖ snoooooow! Itís like a fairyland, half an hour past Quebec where there isnít even a centimeter of snow you suddenly hit it, white everywhere! The weather was great, partly snowy partly beautiful sunshine, we had tons of snow, were able to use our race skis and probably got about 11-12 hours of skiing in over the three days we were there. The place itself is great, they have a large wax room in the basement, unlimited all you can eat breakfast, lunch and diner (and trust me I ate my fair share) and large meeting rooms with comfy chairs and fireplaces. Not that we spent much time inside!
Enough about the place itself, onto the workout: Sunday morning we ran a 7.5 km skate time trial where the prize for third place was to write a lovely article for the website about our weekend getaway. Inevitably I came third so I thought Iíd work on my time management skills (and Wayne already wrote a lovely summary of the trip) and bring forth to you Time Trial: the Workout of the Week. So here it is:
After a long two days of 9-10 hours total of skiing John thought it would be a great idea to have a time trial Sunday morning before our departure. I, muscularly feeling the 9-10 hours of skiing we had completed was feeling a little tired and cynical about doing a 7Ĺ Km race. However, I put a smile on my face, pulled on my brand new xcottawa tights, grabbed my skis and headed out for the 45 min warm up. Well those new tights must have brought some magic to me because suddenly I was feeling great and ready to take on the other 3 ladies on the team.
It was a mass start boys and girls together and as mass starts typically go, we started out pretty quickly. Most of the terrain was fairly flat or rolling so there was a lot of one skate, free skate and double poling in the icy tracks. The snow was quite icy and very fast, Shelia commented on how she felt like Bambi on ice. I guess it just takes a little longer than most of us expect to make the transition from rollerskiing to real skiing! The halfway point was at the top of a long uphill. It was perfect timing, I was getting pretty tired from the climb so it was great to turn around and fly down the hill. The way back was pretty much all gradual downhill, so I battled slipping and sliding all over the track and tried to keep a steady tempo and good technique. Overall it ended up being a ton of fun and I think most of us were happy with our results.
Time trials are a great way to get yourself ready for race season. In my opinion if you get 3-4 or so time trials in during preseason (nov, dec), the more you are prepared for the actual race season. Iíve noticed a trend in my skiing pattern of the past few years, I tend to feel quite tired/ not warmed up properly not nearly as focused in my first few races of the season. By mid January my warm up routine starts to come back to me and I feel my tempo and mental focus increase during races. (This also depends on when you choose to peak during the year). But generally, in past years where Iíve done a few xcountry races, rollerski time trial and on snow team time trials, Iím a little more prepared for the first races of the season.
Overall if we miraculously have a large snow dump in the next few weeks and you get a chance to put some long slow distance hours in, I strongly suggest getting a few people together that you know enter a pre-organized time trial, (Nakkertok does these every Christmas and we plan a few as well) or organize one for yourself. They feel great and get you pumped and ready for the race season ahead.