Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Winter cross-training

Plastic Fantastique: my excellent MSR snowshoes

I'm not one of those suicidal and slush-covered winter cyclists (I'd be a dry winter cyclist, but this year there's too much slush, every time the roads dry the forecast calls for more snow, which is rapidly transformed to slush, which is nasty stuff for the bicycle.

So to winter cross-train outdoors, I turn to snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Both of these are uphill activities, and Montreal is blessed with that lovely little mountain in the middle of the city.

After-work cardio doesn't get better than going up to the top of the mountain!

My favorite snowshoe hike goes up the east side of the parc mont royal, under the escarpment, up the big couloir to the mini plateau below the escarpment trail, then to the summit (possibly also to the chalet mont royal), then descend via the Mont Royal cemetery (crosses the road above the canyon).

My favorite ski route is the complete bottom to top trail, with the two mini loops (1-below east side of hill, 2-little loop below chalet mont royal.

This ski trail is exceptionally great - a long steady uphill for 30-60 minutes, then a steady descent (lots of poling to work the cycling triceps!). The trail goes from the plateau at Rachel street, all the way west to the Montreal general hospital, then back east to the summit, then all the way back down. (Woohoo!)

The trail grooming / track set is a bit poor sometimes, but all in all this trail is a jewel, and uses the mountan topography to the fullest possible.

Both of these activities work out the important cycling muscles of the legs, and using the ski poles, it's a great upper body workout). best of all, both of these can be done day or night!


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