Yep. Yes, it was raining, and yes, some guys had on skin-tight rain jackets (see-thru). But this guy, even standing still the jacket was 5x too big for him. There are some other photos of him in b&w that really do the Marshmallow Man comparison justice.
If you do decide to race. One thing that helped me a lot is wearing a cycling cap under the helmet. It keeps a lot of water from my face and eyes. Without it when it starts to pour the water gets in to my eyes and I can't see ****.
I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
Stay calm and bring a towel.
Do not overdress. And if you have the skills, put on layers that you can discard as needed.
Race hard and you'll never know it's 45 and rain.
Castelli Gabba jersey up top. Helmet cover (helps with aero as well), fleece lined neoprene socks, plus all the other feet stuff suggested.
Facts are stubborn and inconvenient things
I like my feet as dry and as warm as possible. This is what I do:
Wear wool socks
Put shoes on as normal. Adjust them slightly looser than normal.
Wrap shoes tightly in Saran Wrap from your toes to up around your ankle. 2 or 3 layers.
Put on normal/winter shoe covers.
Use blade to cut away Saran Wrap from around the cleats
Very effective for a few hours.
Spring Bib Knickers, the one's insulated so riding in New England is comfortable down to 35F.... Personally I despise long tights, I prefer embrocation to suit the weather conditions... under my jersey I will often use a high collared rash vest ( it's what we wore under our wetsuits in surfing, it cross trains extremely well ) Then a vest and definitely arm warmers... Shoe wise I'll wear my Pearl Izumi covers, impermeable and stretchy, but feet are going to get wet. It's just that water needs an escape route... ( other option would be fenders ... Just kidding.. ) full fingered gloves but light, just enough to keep finger tips warm... Under that helmet wear a cap or anything that will keep your head warm. If your head feet and fingers stay warm, you'll be fine.... I have worn this in rainy Vermont races...
If still in doubt check out what the Pro's are wearing on a rainy LBL or Tour of Flanders when it rains... if they can be out there for 6 hours then our 3 hour races and 1 hour crits are easy... Races in crappy weather were always the races I had the most fun in... KSR, Jiminy Peak, Planning on doing the Battenkill race next year... Looks like Fun...
Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!
I am just starting out road racing, but seriously, a cold rain was far more of a problem when my focus was randonneuring - my first 200k brevet, the highest temperature was 3 degrees C, and it was pouring rain. This is far worse because (a) you are on the bike a lot longer (b) intensity is also lower, because you are on the bike longer.
The goal is not staying dry, the goal is staying warm. To me, the secret is wool and neoprene. Virtually everything in contact with my skin is merino wool - base layer, Ibex bibs, wool socks, hat, arm warmers. Wool keeps insulating even when damp. Neoprene shoe covers, neoprene gloves. Neoprene does not breath, so it will be damp, but it works also for that reason. The layer of sweat that forms under the neoprene is warm, and that heat does not leak out that well, so you stay warm, but damp. In a proper downpour, a waterproof shell probably needs to go on top, I have used one that is pretty form-fitting, with pit zips for some venting.
Also, I have a Gabba on the way.
Garbage bags and duct tape.
I am in same situation as OP. I'm sitting in full gear at home now and have just decided not to race the Berlin Velothon that starts in 45 minutes - the rain is pouring down outside. It's an amateur race, I'm an amateur. What's more, I'm an adult, so I can choose myself what to do and not! It was actually good to realize I don't "have to". I've never ridden my Caad in the rain before and I will not start now. Others would make other decisions but this feels good for me.
I raced the first race of a 5 race handicap series in conditions like this a few weeks ago. 6°C, 20-40km/h winds and showers and even a few proper downpours but only short ones. I raced because I was feeling good and was handicapped well. The weather report also saw a number of people not turn up. It seemed that the cold conditions froze the brains of the enduro(skinny climber type) road riders because they allowed myself and some other track sprinter types to stay in the bunch for the finish. There were a few shortish climbs within a few miles of the finish and no climber attacks!!?? I ended up with a 4th. For the record, I raced in a wool tee baselayer, bib shorts & jersey, wind vest, spring level armwarmers, full booties, knee warmers and full finger gloves. I produce a lot of heat though.