Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The 10 Day Forecast

Stu takes us through his thoughts on preparing for the weather come race day:

I admit it. I scour the internet to find the weather forecast before big races. In the past I could only find a 7 day forecast, but recently, there are even web pages that give the 10 and even 14 day forecast. During my last big race, I kept a record of race day forecast to see just how accurate (or inaccurate) it really was. Take a look at the notes I made:

10 Days out:
High: 83 Analysis: Ahhh, perfect race conditions.
Low: 63
Sunny
0% Chance of precipitation.

9 Days out:
High: 82 Analysis: Looks like there will be no worries on race day.
Low: 63
Sunny
0% Chance of precipitation.

8 Days out:
High: 85 Analysis: Ok. Getting a bit warm. Windy? Where did that come from? And 10% chance of rain? I thought there was a 0% chance of rain? Don’t panic, this is still perfect.
Low: 64
Partly Cloudy with moderate winds.
10% Chance of precipitation.

7 Days out:
High: 80 Analysis: Rain? 40% chance? Wind? Come on, I like the 10 day forecast much better. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry. Still 7 days out, things can change.
Low: 62
Cloudy with wind, possibility of scattered rain.
40% Chance of precipitation.

6 Days out:
High: 78 Anaylsis: Ok, this is not funny. Wind and rain? This is really crazy. Who paid the person that made the forecast 10 days out? This is driving me crazy.
Low: 59
Cloudy with wind and rain showers.
60% Chance of precipitation.

5 Days out:
High: 72 Analysis: Ok. It’s going to rain on race day. I better get my gear ready. This is a pain, but since I know it is going to rain, I can be ready.
Low: 55
Clouds, rain and wind.
80% Chance of precipitation.

4 Days out:
High: 68 Analysis: This is not funny.  It was going to be 85 and sunny, now it’s going to rain all day? But why the 60 percent chance of rain, just yesterday it was 80% chance.
Low: 55
Clouds and rain.
60% Chance of precipitation.

3 Days out:
High: 65 Analysis: Ok, getting colder. What? Only a chance of rain? And what are rain showers? Is that the same as rain?
Low: 52
Clouds and chance of rain showers.
50% Chance of precipitation.

2 Days out:
High: 62 Analysis: So now just rain and no rain showers? Do meteorologists make this up to give me a headache?
Low: 55
Partly sunny with chance of rain
40% Chance of precipitation.

Day before race:
High: 63 Analysis: Now what? Where did the wind come from? It was 5 days out when I last heard of that. So now what? I have wind, clouds and those rain showers.
Low: 55
Partly cloudy with wind and rain showers


Race day:
As I woke it was a cool crisp 53 degrees. Not a bit of wind anywhere. As the sun came up, I looked for clouds. Nothing. Perfectly sunny. After the swim, still no clouds, and still in the mid 50s. During the bike I was waiting for the rain showers and wind, but nothing. What the heck? When is anything from the forecast from the last 10 days going to show up? I was ready, I was prepared.

After the bike, it was still sunny, no wind, and about 70 degrees. No thanks to the 10 day forecast, I was prepared for the worst, but race day proved to be perfect conditions. The run brought mid 70s with 5 mph winds. Were those the “winds” being talking about?

After crossing the finish line, I laughed when I thought about how much I worried about the forecast. Wind? None. Rain? None. Rain Showers? None. So what is the moral of the story? Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, but most of all, enjoy the ride and never tip your local meteorologist that write the 10 day forecast.