By Bill Plock
With rain and cold forecast to bestow my first race of the season, the Barking Dog Duathlon, I’m actually very excited about battling my competitors and the weather. Think back to all the events of your life, I bet many of the most memorable ones are due in part to something weather related.
In the folklore of the greatest games in NFL history, many people cite the “Ice Bowl” played between the Dallas Cowboys (with former Bronco coach Dan Reeves as a Cowboy running back) and the Green Bay Packers on December 31, 1967. Why is it so revered? With the average wind-chill temperature of minus 48 degrees, it is one of the coldest games ever. Yes the game was good too, but the weather made it epic.
Now, I’m not proposing Saturday’s Barking Dog will be anywhere near that adverse, but at a predicted 42 degree starting temperature with possible rain, the weather will be a factor. But it might make it EPIC too. I kidded with race director Darrin Eisman about the sloppy conditions and he said, “As long as you’re biking and running, who cares, right?!”
I would agree. Of course this quote comes from the man who puts on the Chilly Cheeks duathlon series in the winter no matter how much snow is on the ground—which is a lot of fun.
Somehow the weather generally adds to the camaraderie and thinking through the strategy of what to wear both during and after the race makes it more interesting. I know I can think back to just a couple of weeks when I did a training ride in freezing rain and contracted some mild hypothermic symptoms. I’ll never forget how hard I had to concentrate on that ride to keep my bike in a straight line. I could not feel my feet or my hands but knew they were working and trusted my strength as I focused on the road barely being able to see cars or other obstructions.
That ride somehow caused a bit of a paradigm shift in me and left me thinking of all my foes to my success as an athlete, a dad, a friend and a person. Maybe the weather is meant to bring us into focus so we can perform at our best. It takes away the distractions and shuts our bodies down so they function in their most primary state. Perhaps it’s this honing of emotions and thoughts that make ordinary events, extraordinary when coupled with inclement weather.
Embrace it I say, go against the wind, drive off the rain and let yourself have the best race ever.