Fall has arrived and for most athletes this is the time for the final big race of the season. All of the training and focus will be dialed in for these events. One thing that can change during the cooler months is unpredictable weather that can cause unforeseen circumstances and DNF’s when un-prepared for these ultra endurance events.
Personally, I have seen weather temperatures that were not even close to normal in many events for the months of September and October:
- Normal hot days and warm nights in Mexico plummet – shocking temperatures dipping into the low 40’s at night and rain.
- Pouring rain, driving wind and temperatures 20-30 degrees below normal in Southern Europe
- Freezing temperatures and rain – 32F at night for races in the eastern part of the US.
- Multi – Day events – temperatures dropping significantly as the seasons are changing from summer to fall.
- Way to many DNF’s from athletes capable of finishing but unprepared to deal with the extreme rain and cold for hours and hours.
For you key event of the year, I always recommend over packing your race gear. Weather may become a factor, but with some simple preparation with your packing, you will have a greater chance to get to the finish line. For example, last year many ultra triathletes were competing in Italy from 10-30 days, and several of the DNF’s were based upon not having the right clothing, and swim gear for the changing conditions. When the race started, the temperatures were sunny and warm and by the 3rd week we all faced 10 hours of rain and cold per day and dropping water temperatures each morning for the swim. We all watched as the athletes continued to drop out of the race, as they were un-prepared for the weather.
Cold, wet weather will crush your energy if your core temperature drops, and will get worse as you slow down while creating less energy. Staying warm is imperative during those hours when your pace is significantly reduced as the result of fatigue.
Mandatory items to take even though you don’t think they will be needed:
- Booties to wear over cycling shoes – make sure you test them and they are easy to get on with wet conditions
- Winter riding jacket and pants
- Cold weather gloves
- Waterproof jacket
- A neoprene swim cap and booties
- Cycling cap (could include a winter weather cap)
- Multiple running Jackets for cold weather and rain
- Running gloves and warm hat
- Wool anything is good
- Warm Compression sleeves, legs, arms and several vests
Over-prepare when packing for your final big event of the season and no DNF because of the weather!