Snow: March 22, 1998
In the first runbike duathlon of the season, which was on the 2nd or 3rd day of spring, Chris Weiland and I battled against a heavy snow. I was cheating on Doug Brown and Roger Price with Chris. I was missing the masters team half-marathon at the balmy shore in favor of the NY Triathlon Clubs duathlon in 5 inches of snow, steadily coming from our arrival in New York City until we left with our mainly Chris awards.
On the way up the Turnpike, at 6:15 a.m., we checked the weather on the radio, as we had been doing all week, and,as athletes do, especially when a race involves biking at high speed again, as pertains especially to Chris. The previous days reports were for clearing by race day morning, but now were for 15 inches on race morning. It was getting worse as we drove north. It only stopped briefly while we were in the Lincoln Tunnel. The streets of Manhattan were completely snow-covered.
I tried to ride my bike from the car to the park but gave up after the front wheel repeatedly slid out from under me. It turned out that the park director wanted to cancel the race, but the Commissioner of Parks, a past friend of the race series, let it go on and a surprising number of competitors were stupidly willing. Meanwhile, kids were sledding and dogs were romping in the increasingly deep snow.
The race was shortened to a run-bike. I took my glasses off a quarter mile into the run, but I couldnt see because of the driving snow in our faces. I got successfully on my bike and out onto the roadway. I rode the brakes the whole way except up the hill, and all sorts of racers called out, "Passing on the left the right the left the right!" as I moved gingerly in and out of the "rough." Up with Chris, guys on even skinny tires were reportedly speeding. At 50, I wanted to finish with no broken bones and race another day. People were falling in front of me.
Chris got first in the fat tire category, and all the way down the Turnpike, he complained he couldnt find room in my van for his large plaque, while any space could contain my small award.
I suggested a long run that afternoon on the snowless canal towpath, since I didnt race hard after the 2.5 mile run. We ran longer than ever before on a training run. It was lengthened when I convinced Chris to turn around and bring back a dog who had followed Chopin, RVRR mascot, part way up the towpath. His cigar-smoking owner was thankful because he was making little progress toward us. Later Chris spotted enemy aircraft, two competent runners, and muttered "They didnt do what we did today," after which we sped up a little. Then we saw girls and sped up more, clocking by my watch a 7:03 by Rutgers Prep.
By the end of Johnson Park and some 1718 miles later, losing control of my mind and bodily functions, and dropping to 9+ minute miles I said the non-club words, "I have to walk." Chris conceded and we walked the 1/2 mile home. Chris insisted this was doing us some good, washing out the lactic acid.
Should I have gone to the shore that Sunday?
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