Team Z – Triathletes “Art of Racing in the Rain”

“A dog who is prepared will be reincarnated in his next life as a human.  That which you manifest is before you.”

This according to Enzo – the main character of the book “The Art of Racing in the Rain”.  In the book, Enzo (who is a dog) believes in the Mongolian legend that a dog who is prepared will be reincarnated in his next life as a human.  He also constantly repeats the mantra “that which you manifest is before you.”

Yes – great book.  Yes – Sad Book.  But, if we step back for a minute and learn from Enzo (who spent his life learning from humans)…I think you can apply his lessons learned to our own abilities to be ready to race in the rain.

This email is edited – it was written specifically for an A race “almost like Md” which did execute on cold and rainy day.   So it may  not flow perfectly b/c I’m deleting comments related to that day specifically – and that race.   But…should you find yourself facing the opportunity to race in less than ideal conditions – this email may be a great resource for you.

===============================================================

Race Day Cold and or Wet???

Get busy “TRI”ing….or get busy Crying.   And since we are one huge family and we are going to be there to support each other, smile from sun up to sun down – and crush our races this weekend…we might as well do everything we can to be prepared and support each other. That includes bringing our positive outlook and energy – and leaving the negative at home!   Here are some of my suggestions to help you deal with the less than ideal (but thankfully way better than racing today or yesterday) race conditions.

  1. Accept the fact that it will be wet, and overcast. If you want to pout about it, lets do it NOW.  Ok, feel better?  We can’t worry about what we can’t control….we all know that.  So let’s move on to B.
  2. Having accepted that it is going to be raining, I have made a conscious decision to be positive from this point forward. I will wake up pumped.  I will wake up smiling.  I will wake up ready to CRUSH this day and not let the weather make me do otherwise.
  3. I will accomplish this by following in Enzo’s footsteps. I will consider my individual concerns for the weather, and build a plan to defeat them.  I will accept that this is an AWESOME opportunity to learn how to race in less than ideal conditions – and leverage what I learn for the future and to help my teammates.

Veterans – Feel free to add suggestions that have worked for you in the past…..and the rest of you can pick and choose from the suggestions below.  Some of you will think I’m nuts – and you don’t need any of this in 60’s and rain.  Some of us (and you know who you are) will jump all over some of these ideas.

Coach Ed’s favorite tricks for racing in the chilly air and wet weather.  Remember that wind and wet are your enemy – you must defeat them.  If you can beat the wind and rain (and keep your head, hands, and feet warm and dry)….then when you race your body warmth will do the job and you will rock your day.  Even if the time it takes to “be prepared” makes your transitions slow as hell.   I may not go to the lengths below for the sprint – but for the longer 1/2 bike leg if I’m not good in the rain and cooler air – I’d try some of this.

  1. Trash Bags. Big ones.  Several of them.  All pre-labeled with tape and my name.  Anything I bring with me to the race (transition bag, dry clothes, post race clothes, whatever) is inside a trash bag.  OR – line your transition bag with the trash bag – and fill it.  KEEP YOUR GEAR DRY.  Use a simple trash bag – and you are now no longer worried about the fact that it is raining.  And remember – we will NOT put your bags under our tents.  Our tents are for people, not gear.  Trash bag on the tarp – and you are set.
  1. Pre Race. Wear rain gear to the race. If you don’t have a good rain jacket and rain pants – go to REI (or other) and buy some tonight/today.  Being late to the venue tonight is preferable to not being prepared for tomorrow.  Or borrow some from your friends.  You will use these for years.
  • Link: http://www.rei.com/search?search=rain+pants&origin=Google_Apparel&sortby=Price+%28Ascending%29&hist=search%2Crain+pants&version=V5
  1. Pre Race – Dress extra warm – so your body does not waste energy trying to generate heat. Ski Hat, Gloves, BOOTS, and thick socks.  Get into your wetsuits as soon as you are comfortable, and put the boots and hat/etc back on until the last second.
  1. Getting in the water in weather like this is, most times, easier than getting in the water than on a sunny/hot day. The water will likely feel good to you, compared to standing outside.  Always did for me.
  1. Setting up your transition – put your bike shoes/socks/gear in a plastic grocery bag, or several – loosely tied to keep gear dry. Do the same for your run gear. Add an extra pair of dry socks to your run bag.  Even though you may be wet as soon as you start running – the psychology of putting on dry shoes and socks is amazing.  Even just “knowing that they are there” while you are on the bike is a huge bonus.
  1. On the bike – now, you all know I am a sissy and I H-A-T-E being cold. Some of you out there will love racing in the wind/rain/60 degree temps and not need anything.  Me? I’m a total sissy – especially on the long course races.  I want to be comfortable on that bike so I can focus on the “right things” and not how much I need to “embrace the suck”.  So here is what I would do…and it may take me longer in T1 than most.  But I will race like a monster and psychologically stay in the race through the bike and onto the run.  The lost time in T1 pays me back in spades for mental prep.
  1. Duct Tape my shoes. Shoes are made to let air pass through. I would duct tape all of the air vents (and holes on the bottom of the shoe) on Friday night.  This will help to keep water out.  And again – psychology.  There is also rain covers/booties – things you can buy.  But Duct tape can help should you not own those items.
  1. Dry towel comes out of grocery bag (already folded in 4’s or 8’s). I stand on this to put on my dry socks.  I will not start the race with wet feet (head game for me).  One foot in dry sock, then that same foot into ANOTHER grocery bag (yes, my foot with sock gets put into a dry grocery bag).  I would then slide a rubber band around my ankle (not super tight, just enough to keep the water from running down into my shoe).  I would have “pre-cut” the bag so that there is only minimal material left flapping above the rubber band.  (in the winter, you can tuck this into your pants).  Repeat for other foot.  I suggest you try this out tonight in your hotel or at home and make sure you are comfortable with it.  You have to flex your foot – make sure there is enough play in the bag that you can cycle comfortably without pulling the bag through the rubber band.  Make sure that rubber band is big enough that it does not cut off your circulation!  That would be bad – and make your feet fall asleep (and get cold) You can also buy (if you want) rain shoe covers (booties).  Just make sure they are truly water proof.
  1. I still race in shorts – legs are not usually an issue for me, but….you could actually by rain pants for riding if you want. They make them. Performance would be the place to go.  Tri shorts under the rain pants.
  1. Dry off with your towel before you put on your race tops….put your towels back in your trash bags/grocery bags for after the race -should you need them again.
  1. Upper body would have a thin under armor or something under my race top (I want to wear my colors – but you can skip this if you don’t care). Then I would wear a cheap riding rain coat.  Or just the race top and a rain coat may be enough (you will generate heat).  You want to protect yourself from the wet – AND but not JUST the wind.  If your wind breaker is not water proof (not resistant – PROOF) – then it won’t do the job.
  1. Hands – you’ll laugh – but remember I’m a sissy. Thin running gloves (super thin, cotton, tech fiber – whatever.  Even the liner to your ski gloves if you have them).  Covered by….yes…surgical rubber gloves.   You can buy rain gloves…but hey.  Hands are dry, warm, and protected from the wind.
  1. They make rain covers for your helmet.  Again – wind, water – keep the heat in.  Cheap alternative? Swim cap stretched over your helmet.  Rode an entire winter with this one time.  If you can’t do either of these – at least a balaclava or something to help keep the heat under your helmet.
  1. On the run – normally easier to stay warm on the run. But if I was worried I’d keep my gloves on (with rubber gloves or water proof gloves). I’d have my balaclava on – even though it would get wet it will help keep the warmth in.  I may or may not use the rain coat on the run – game time call after getting off the bike.

I know that some of this may seem like overkill.  Especially to some of you eskimos out there. IF so, ignore it.  But I have a really hard time keeping my hands, feet, and head warm. I learned over the years that I race for fun.  Yes – I try to go fast, but that NEVER happens if I’m not having fun.  My hands and feet are critical.  The rain coat is a no brainer.  And the head/helmet covers are too easy to ignore.   Don’t try anything you are not comfortable with – if you are worried about any ‘gimmick’ above – it is not worth doing b/c it will just play with your head.

Other suggestions are welcome.  You can also make fun of me too…. but….RIGHT NOW DO THIS….

  1. Accept the fact that it will be wet, and overcast. If you want to pout about it, lets do it NOW.  Ok, feel better?  We can’t worry about what we can’t control….we all know that.  So let’s move on to B.
  2. Having accepted that it is going to be raining, I make a conscious decision to be positive from this point forward. I will wake up pumped.  I will wake up smiling.  I will wake up ready to CRUSH this day and not let the weather make me do otherwise.
  3. I will accomplish this by following in Enzo’s footsteps. I will consider my individual concerns, and build a plan to defeat them.  I will accept that this is an AWESOME opportunity to learn how to race in less than ideal conditions – and leverage what I learn for the future and to help my teammates.

“A triathlete who is prepared will be reincarnated in his next life as triathlon coach who does not like to be wet and cold.  That which you manifest is before you.”

z