US Pro Cycling Challenge: How wx affects cycling races

Posted by Joel Gratz & filed under Events.

The US Pro Cycling Challenge is coming up in just a few days, and what seemed like a distant vision just a few months ago is now creating buzz across Colorado and the cycling community. This is a big race not just because it will have full TV coverage on Versus and NBC, but because of the people involved. Yes the top three finishers of this year’s Tour de France will be in Colorado: Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, and Frank Schleck.

Weather is a big part of cycling. Past Tour de France races have been won (and lost) because of weather, and as recently as May the first stage of the Tour of California was snowed-out. So what will the weather throw at the 2011 US Pro Cycling Challenge? Here’s my initial forecast, and I’ll have more detailed forecasts for each stage coming up.

  • The #1 weather concern will be midday and afternoon thunderstorms.
    • Thursday, Friday, and Saturday could be the stormiest days.
    • Independence Pass on Wednesday (about 3pm) also could be stormy.
    • Forecasts for t-storms are best within 24-36hrs. Check back each day for an update!
  • The #2 weather issue will be winds. Although I don’t foresee any consistent, strong winds, even a moderate headwind or crosswind can change the dynamic of the race. Plus, mountains & valleys can create their own wind without the need for a big storm to sweep through.


This computer model shows the forecasted rain amounts (from thunderstorms) each day. While most of the thunderstorm activity will be south of the main race route, Wednesday afternoon could pose the first thunderstorm threat as the races roll over Independence Pass.


Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s forecast graphics appear less detailed, which is because the model does not forecast a high degree of detail more than 7 days in advance.

Tomorrow I’ll have another update on the forecast and some nuggets of information about lightning to keep you safe.

2 Responses to “US Pro Cycling Challenge: How wx affects cycling races”

    • Joel Gratz

      All of ‘em! Will be covering the race and the weather for the entire week.