How Cold Is Too Cold?

How Cold Is Too Cold?

How cold is too cold for a race?  I don’t know the answer to that yet, because as soon as I start believing that I’ve reached my limit, something happens that pushes me farther.

I did get hypothermia once at the Savageman 70 race back in 2013.  It was bad.  I had to be pulled off the bike course.  On a good note, the staff at Garrett County Hospital were very nice.

The coldest water I’ve swum in was 52 degrees (and choppy).  That was White Lake Half in ???: I forget the year, but it was after the Savageman DNF.

There was a race here in Wilmington, NC a couple of years ago in mid March.  The transition area had a patch of ice.  (anecdotal, second hand info, but reasonable).

Havasu Triathlon

The most recent blog posts on this site were counting down the days to the Havasu Triathlon.  In one particular post, I made “predictions” of the weather conditions for race day.   I wasn’t there, so I didn’t experience the conditions myself.  However, the race director sent me an email.  The entire body of the message went something like this:

Swim was cancelled.  Water temp was 54, air temp in the 40s with a 15 mph north wind.

First of all, I want to thank Mr. Grinder for sending that information, because being a race director on the day or two after a race must be a hectic time.

Second of all… HOLY CRAP!  Those conditions are pretty rough.  From a race director’s point of view, I can understand why the swim was canceled.  Even though I’ve swum colder water, that combination of air temperature and wind temperature would have turned everyone blue.   It also explains why the swim times were so strange in the results (see yesterday’s post).

Is It Worth It?

As an athlete, would you race in those conditions?

Me too.

See you at the hospital

Stay to the right, pass on the left and keep on smiling

5 thoughts on “How Cold Is Too Cold?”

  1. hahaha….Too funny. The situation that is, not you having to buy a new copy. Perhaps a local library could help you out.

  2. LG – I have really enjoyed your blog and Youtube content from the shadows for a while. I particularly enjoy your thoughts and musings on what makes people do crazy things like triathlon. I wonder if you have read Endure by Alex Hutchinson?

    He explores the evolving science of human endurance limits (Vo2 max, lactate threshold, etc) and details various anecdotal stories that align with the science discussed. It really is a interesting and relatively quick read.

    I would love to hear your thoughts after reading it should you have the time and inclination to read the book and share thoughts.

    1. Thanks, Kieran. One of my coworkers suggested I read “Endure” about 6 months ago. I haven’t read it yet, but I intend to do just that. In fact, now that you’ve brought up the subject, I am going to order the book as soon as I finish writing this post. Thanks for the “kick in the pants.”

      1. LG – I can’t wait. I assume you have dropped all other responsibilities and obligations to read the book and formulate your thoughts on it. 🙂

      2. Kieran – I did buy the book and I did receive it. I even read Malcom Gladwell’s forward. Then I put it down and now I have no idea where I put it. I’m going to have to buy a new copy. Had I dropped all other responsibilities I never would have put down the book in the first place. Lesson learned. 🙂

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