Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Snow White

Winter is hard upon us in Southern Ontario, and I'm in the thick of it.
Yes, I do this every day

Sometimes they wait a while to plow the cul-de-sac (actually it's more of a knee-bend).  The OEM tires on the Townie were wide, which was terrible in the snow.  They sank a deep groove, which made for a lot of work getting through.  Narrow tires cut down through the snow, so it's less effort.  My snow tires are kind of half-way between the wide and narrow.  I went to the bike store with the page in Cycling Magazine Canada, and they phoned Continental to ask about my first choice.  Those were out of stock for an anticipated three months.  I took the Schwalbe as the alternate.  They have a knobby tread which works well going uphill through slush, and studs for the ice.  They aren't very good in loose pack such as it gets when the road hasn't been plowed and cars have made a few tracks.  

Cul-de-sac isn't plowed until later in the day

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Hypothermic One Half - Race Report

Sunday Feb 3 was the Sarnia Hypothermic Half Marathon.  I still can't get over them holding this.  The winter has too many bad possibilities for race day.  The Wednesday before the race was rainy.  Rain would have been absolutely horrid for race day.  I have a nice waterproof jacket, but my shoes can't cope with that and would have been extremely cold.  Fortunately, there was some snow on Friday and Saturday as temperatures dropped.  Wind and snow I can handle.

Run to the Blue Water Bridge

I worked the night shift to Saturday morning, got a couple hours sleep, then drove to Sarnia for dinner with Mom.  That's why I signed up for this.  It lets me mix a run with the trip.  There aren't a lot of scheduled runs in Sarnia.  All I found was the Bridge Run and this.  My brother was down from Markham, so we had dinner us three which was great.  

The day -10 C, and overcast.  It was light cloud cover, so the sun regularly peeked down on us, but was mostly covered, and not providing a lot of heat.  There was no wind.  We started at the Holiday Inn, where they had rented the ballroom for the runners as a staging area indoors.  Perhaps 20 or so walkers got a half-hour head start, then the 130 of us runners headed off.  I was overdressed in my balaclava and ninja suit with the lobster-claw mitts.  With only a light breeze off the lake, I could have gone in just the toque.  

There were 4 water stations, but not convenient for my regimen of Gu energy gels, so I carried my own water under my jacket.  That had worked okay during my training runs.  The first kilometre took us under the Blue Water Bridge.  There's two bridges, but they still call it just "the bridge", as if it's one bridge with 2 spans.  That's where I'm running in June.  The roads were perfectly dry.  We were invited to use sidewalks if we wanted, but they had an inch of crunchy snow.  

Early on, we were routed onto a trail at Canatara Park, which had some icy patches, but was mostly thin crunchy snow.  Major intersections had police control for us, but at the busiest, at Murphy Road, they held us back for traffic anyhow.  Water at the water stations was really cold, go figure.  I had a Gu and a bottle of water (8 oz) at 5k, and another at 10k.  That bottle had ice in it.  My training had all been warmer than race day. Still, I was never cold.  My feet were dry and warm enough, and the lobster claws did well for my hands.  I only needed to ball my hands into fists a couple times to bring them back from numbness, and that was after taking the mitts off to handle the water and Gu.  I counted up the packets after, and they all made it into the pouch with the tear-off lids.  None were left behind on the course.  I lost my handkerchief early on, however.  The ninja suit doesn't have pockets, so I tried using a bottle section of my hydration belt, but it was lost.

I finished in just under 2 hours, the same as in September in Milton.  Here's wishing thank you to all the volunteers for standing out in the cold so long to wait for me.