Great Winter Day in Ottawa

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Greetings humble readers! Well, as you can see by the date stamp, it’s been a couple of weeks since I last wrote a post. Don’t assume that means that you haven’t all been in my thoughts, or that I haven’t been doing anything interesting. Quite the opposite! There’s big news on the Steve front of Specifically, I’ve accepted and started a new job since I last posted! As a result, there was a flurry of activity on my end, but a distinct lack of time to write all about it. Rest assured, I haven’t given up on my scribing duties, just had a slight lapse. Anyway, here I am, in time to write a little story about some training I did about two weeks ago. As you are aware, Adventure Racing doesn’t sleep in winter, and as such, I was trying to get in some cross-country ski training before my next winter race. Conditions were pretty much perfect, and I was supposed to meet with a team-mate of mine to do about a 20km loop in Gatineau Park. Read on for this gripping story πŸ˜‰ If you’d like to see some pictures head over to Flickr for the folder of pics I took.

The troubles for me started somewhere around 3:30am that morning. You see, I had to get up super-early in order to drive Jody and Alix to the airport for them to catch their flight to Cancun. Yup, they were heading out for a week of fun in the sun, while the rest of us suckers chilled out in Canada. Well, not exactly. You see, I was actually slated to head to the airport myself around 5:30pm to catch a flight to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic! Since I was changing jobs, I opted to take a week of vacation between the two jobs in order to recharge my energy levels. I booked the trip at the absolute last minute, allowing me to get a pretty good deal. Of course the next problem of the day was that I still had to pack my bags and all my stuff, which would happen some time between skiing and getting to the airport πŸ™‚ The full story about my trip to Puerto Plata will have to wait for another posting, hopefully in the very short term.

After dropping Jody off, I headed back home for a quick couple hours of sleep before going out to the park. I gave myself only about an hour after waking up. What I hadn’t counted on was a) the fact that it was snowing a bit and b) the fact that P7 was further than I anticipated and c) my lack of remembering that the main road through the park is a ski trail in winter πŸ™‚ How does all that have any relevance? Well, let’s just say that I sure as heck didn’t make it in time to meet up with Anne-Marie at 9am! Sadly, I didn’t get to the parking lot until 9:25am. My reasons were pretty reasonable though, given that while driving there, I went off the road (narrowly avoiding a head-on collision)! It was nothing major, and luckily the car just came to rest in the snow, but it did slow me down and delay the arrival. Then, there was the issue of taking much longer to drive to P7. I was pretty embarassed to not be there on time, since I usually show up on time for stuff like that. I’d even called Anne-Marie to reconfirm in the morning. Unfortunately, once I was on the road, there was no way to get a hold of her, since she didn’t have a cell phone. Oops.

At any rate, I showed up, and poked around to see if there were any signs of Anne-Marie in the parking lot. I wasn’t sure what car to look for, so that didn’t turn up any signs. Next, I asked the parking lot attendant (who didn’t seem to want to leave the comfort of his little hut) if he’d noticed a girl who looked like she was waiting for someone. He said nope, he hadn’t noticed anyone. I thought maybe that meant Anne-Marie hadn’t shown up yet. However, my time was a bit limited, so I got my skis ready, paid my $9 trail fee, and hit the trail, hoping to see Anne-Marie somewhere on the way.

Well, that never happened, but I did have a great ski on a near-perfect day. I made my way along the Heart of the Network trail. This is a trail that wends its way from P7 to several of the winter huts, to Champlain Lookout, and back again. All in all it was a good training day. I got to set my own pace, and do a little bit of practicing of my technique. The summary: well, I’m still not much better at skiing than I was last year. I guess that comes from not practicing. That weekend was the same weekend as the Canadian Ski Marathon, so the trails were pretty clear, which made me all the happier to be there. Anywho, that about summarizes my little ski trip the morning before I headed down to the Dominican. I figured to get the whole experience of going to a hot place, I should remind myself why I was going there in the first place πŸ™‚

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