But first, let me say how AWESOME it is that we had such a great turnout this weekend despite the crappy weather! That's called DEDICATION and DETERMINATION. Or I guess you could just call it Crazy. But whatever it is, it is one of my favorite things about this team!
But really... paddling in the cold and rain isn't that bad IF you're prepared. There's also the benefit of building mental toughness in addition to physical strength/conditioning, which can easily be the difference between earning a gold medal or going home empty handed. [Flashback to Tempe 2012 mixed finals in gale-force winds... we all credit that victory to the stormy practices we suffered through earlier in the season.]
So how can you make winter paddling a more pleasant experience? PREPARATION!
Many of people sport parkas when they are not on the water. They provide protection from the rain and wind, and they also make fantastic changing rooms for peeling off wet clothes after practice. No parka? That's OK too, but do bring a jacket that is rain-proof and wind-proof to shield you from the cold. Some folks also wear rain boots on the water to keep their feet warm. Hats, beanies and gloves also make a big difference, and it is highly recommended to stay away from cotton on the really cold and wet days.
It is essential to bring a towel and dry clothes to change into immediately after getting off the water. A full change of clothing is the best (including your knickers!), but a dry shirt and dry pants are the bare minimum to stay comfortable.
Hopefully these tips will help you stay comfortable through the wet and cold season. Don't let a few drops of water (or hail) prevent you from reaching your goals. We all get splashed during practice anyway, so think of the rain as an early cleansing rinse! Besides, the "adventures" on the water make for fantastic memories.... (remember that time we sprinted from one bridge to the next to find shelter?).