by Saltwire Network Nova Scotia, Colin Hodd, February 24, 2021 (original article)
Lynden Doyon has been skiing since he was three years old. The first outing he remembers was in Cape Breton, skiing a mountain on Christmas Eve with his father Kris and Daniel Murray, who is now his coach with the Nova Scotia provincial cross-country ski team.
At 13, the Madeline Symonds Middle School student is only in his second year with the provincial squad. But he’s been training for this spot for much longer, starting out by joining group practices at the Martock ski resort in Windsor.
“I think that’s really where I got to know most of the people that were on the team,” says Doyon. “I started practicing roller skiing and skiing with the group when I was not on it, like Grade 5 and 6.”
Doyon officially made the team in Grade 7. Sometimes the transition to the next level in a sport can be jarring – new teammates, new coaches, new places. For Doyon, these things remained mostly the same. All that changed was his workload. And it is a workload.
If you, like me, are struggling to get off the couch for even one or two workouts a week, you might want to continue to sit down for this, because provincial team members do six workouts a week.
Outside of time trials, workouts have been all Doyon and his teammates have been able to do as races have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. They’ve been getting out on skis as much as possible, but erratic snowfall has made that a challenge.
“Difficult might be the right word,” he says. “In these last weeks, we’ve had these snowfalls, lots of snow and then it rains right after the weekend. I think we had a week where we had all snow, but it’s really just been back to like fall training.”
Doyon is hoping to use this time to put in extra work that will pay off next season and hope that perhaps a race or two might happen at the end of the season.
The motivation is train hard this winter, because we won’t be able to compete at that level, and next year will be the real year,” he says. “The goal is Canada Games, nationals, make it to those, and then just do well at both events.”
For a skier like Doyon, the appeal of live races is twofold – competition and novelty.
“In the competition level, you could see your improvements or your losses or where you could make or lose time on the course,” says Doyon, who especially misses the Maritime Cup races.
“They’re always fun because you get to go outside the province and race against new people, there’s different places to ski. The classic race last year at Maritime Cup must have been one of the most memorable. That was a hard race.”
Doyon placed fourth in that race, a 7.5K classic ski, his favourite discipline. It says something about his approach that he considers the 7.5K race to be his favourite, but also the most difficult race for him. Last season he pushed himself to complete a 20K race in Kouchibouguac, N.B. He looks for the push and pull among teammates, like Cohen Norman, that drives success, and has been working to identify and correct weaknesses in his own execution.
“Cohen, he’s been challenging me and always trying to get me faster,” says Doyon. “The last couple years my balance would be a very big issue. I felt this year I really worked on the balance and now I can really skate ski with good technique.”
Doyon’s father enjoys watching his son compete but believes that kids’ sport should still be driven by enjoyment of the activity.
“I feel like it’s more important that they’re out and having fun,” says the elder Doyon. “Whether they win or lose, is it contributing to them wanting to do it again? And do it again next year, or do it again 15 years from now.”Kris Doyon | Alumni, Nova Scotia Cross-Country Ski Team
Lynden still loves to be out on the trail, eager to introduce other people to his sport.
“It’s nice connecting and teaching people. If you’re out on the trail skiing, they’ll ask you how you do this or something. I think that’s what’s nice about it. You can help other people.”
Lynden powering down on the trail (left, photo – Ken Lane). The asphalt is a little less forgiving than the snow when you take a tumble (far right, photo – Daniel Murray).