central park race report – and notes on the cold

March 9th dawned cold and clear.  I had been worried that the rain the previous day had led to severe icing, but fortunately the roads had for the most part dried.  I couldn’t sleep and awoke at 4:30.  the disruption from changing to summer time wasn’t helpful either.
It was about 25F, windchill of 20F or below.  I have a good supply of technical clothing, so I decked myself out in what I thought would be appropriate
  • thick wicking shirt (Giordana long sleeve jersey)
  • Pertex (like Gore Tex) jacket
  • shortsleeve jersey (for pockets and looks
  • beanie hat (Garneau hat with windtex front)
  • ear warmer headband (Garneau windtex)
  • zipp shorts
  • Pearl Izumi windblocker fleece lined tights
  • neoprene fleece lined booties
  • double layer coolmax socks (WrightSock)
  • toe warmer chemical heat packs
  • Chiba magic comfortemp gloves

Getting to the start and check in, there were reports of ice on the hill at the north end of the park.  And it was cold out there.  I didn’t have enough insulation to stay warm out there and was shivering uncontrollably in the starting grid.  I suffer from Raynaud’s syndrme, so my hands freeze quite easily.  The chiba magic gloves weren’t enough and my hands were frozen and numb, and all the while the officials debated to shorten the couirse to avoid the ice.

The race started and I was in fair position.  My frozen hands made it impossible to use the brakes or shifters, or really hold on to the bars… so that made it hard to race effectively.  Coming through the decreasing road-width turn on the park traverse, I fell off the back of the pack.  Without a proper warmup, my legs refused to respond with enough power to bridge and I couldn’t catch up.  In the morning sun, I saw Peter and Julie’s building and then the 72nd street ramp.  Field discretion prevailed, and I bailed the race.

I’m a little disappointed in that poor planning led to the abandonment of the first race of the season.  I would have preferred a pack finish or anything to a DNF, but frostnip/frostbite is no laughing matter, and to keep going would have been an exercise in futility and humiliation.

P.S. my hands still hurt.


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