Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beargrease Part 5: Cold Weather Tips

The race we attended was the second coldest Beargrease race ever. The low the night before was 17 below; the high was 3. Then there were the windchills. Cold is bearable IF you're prepared. Here are some cold weather tips I learned from my experience:

Dress in layers. You'll need more layers than you think. I had a snowmobile suit, and under that I wore long johns, fleece pants, a turtleneck, pullover sweater and fleece jacket. Fleece is my friend. On my feet I had two pairs of wool socks, chemical foot warmers and good waterproof boots. On my hands I had wool glove liners, plus Thinsulate mittens and chemical hand warmers. Some people like the mittens that you can flip open when you want to use your camera. On my head I had a ski mask, neck warmer, scarf, fleece lined cap and ear muffs. Even so I got cold from time to time and had to step into the warming tent or get close to the fire.

Stay hydrated. You don't think about drinking water when you're cold, but it's just as important, if not more important, to stay hydrated in the cold as it is in the heat. Keep a water bottle with you. At the race, they gave away free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.

Protect your skin. The first day I put on a moisturizer with sunscreen. It wasn't enough. The second day I put on regular sunscreen and Aquaphor, a petroleum based product similar to Vaseline. It felt weird putting something that greasy on my face, but I needed it.

Expect problems with your camera. Digital cameras do not operate well in the cold. Take extra batteries and keep them with a chemical hand warmer or in a pocket close to your skin. Keep your camera in an inside pocket close to your skin and/or with a chemical hand warmer, and only get your camera out when you need to use it. My lens cap kept getting stuck closed, and I'd have to warm it up with a hand warmer, take a few shots, and then put it back in my pocket. Some of my videos have dark shadows where the lens didn't come open all the way. You may want to bring along a disposable camera or team up with a friend, to make sure you don't miss any good shots.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips. Glad it's not that cold here in Nebraska.