winter training, Mont Royal, and the famous 256 step staircase
Mont Royal offers many possibilities for winter cross-training, but one of the best is laps on the staircase between Olmstead Road (above the Peel street entrance) and the Mont Royal Chalet/Kondiaronk Belvedere.
We were there last night and saw ten times as many people on these stairs as we saw on the whole rest of our trip through the park (a x-c club was training there). We caught their fever and did three laps. Next time: ten laps! Our up time was 1:53, which did include a ten-breath recovery pause in the middle. Our style was run two steps quick, run two steps slow, walk two steps, walk one step, until it is evident that is is pause time, take the ten breath recovery pause, and then go up as quickly (which last night wasn't quick at all) to the top.
Doing a few laps here every week will turn your heart and lungs into world class cycling assets, and your legs will be ready for hills (this is a very good thing). Not recommended for anyone with a weak heart!
Visiting beautiful Mont Royal in winter will improve your mental health too.
Just remember that when you go down the stairs, always go down one step at a time. Always!