Last weekend I was out canoeing and it occurred to me that while quite a few cross-country skiers do some canoeing or kayaking during the summer, little has been written about its benefits.
Paddling of any kind is a great upper body workout, with cardiovascular benefits as well. Like other cross-training activities, it also can provide a welcome diversion from all the rollerskiing and running that we typically do. Finally, it is a good way to get out and see some wilderness and beautiful scenery. Around here, an many other areas as well, there are many places that you would never get to unless you had a canoe because roads and trails won’t take you there.
We made it to the lake and quickly started paddling. The ice had only cleared a few days earlier, so we decided that we should stay close to shore and play things extremely safe, for falling in this cold water would be certainly dangerous. It became apparent pretty quickly that this was one of the windiest days of the year. The waves were high, and canoe bounced around quite a bit, but not enough that it was particularly worrisome. At least not until we decided to cut across a small bay at the far end of the lake.
Here we found ourselves in the miserable predicament of having waves travelling perpendicular to the direction that we wanted to go. As you might know, canoes are very tippy when exposed to waves from the side. I suggested that we get on our knees as this would be much more stable, forgetting that Megan's knee would not allow this.
The thought of tumbling into the ice-cold water entered my mind with increasing frequency and intensity during this little episode. Needless to say, we were both pretty happy when we made it through this section.
About an hour of paddling later, and we were back at shore. The day had turned into more of an adventure than anticipated. These types of training days do help to make training less monotonous, and are, I think, a great aspect of cross-country ski training.