Skip to main content

The weather window

(Note: I started this blog entry nearly two months ago. One thing that makes it ok that I waited to actually finish it, is that well, what I was trying to say is pretty much true for me.)

As I approach two decades of living in the Bay Area, I've seen enough of the change of the seasons to have a working, rough idea of what each season means, and sort of when to expect it to arrive. The transition from summer to fall to winter here is nothing like what I knew back east, and there can be years when you never know if is truly fall or if the fall season happened overnight, and within less than 24 hours summer has morphed into winter. Winter living within the California version of a Mediterranean climate of course means not drastically colder temperatures but still colder temps. More obviously though, there is a greater possibility of rain. Rain is something a Bay Area local just does not think about from sometime in May until sometime late in October. After October of course, rain could show up any time, any day.

Each October I find I need to reacquaint myself with the online sources of weather knowledge. This year, that need came earlier than I anticipated and only partway through October I found forecast rain threatening a long planned bike ride. My adaptation? Fit the rides in where I can. As a result, I've taken to planning more lunch time rides in anticipation of a too wet weekend. Several SF Randonneurs from my club work nearby so I can find riding partners at least half the time when I leave work behind for a slightly longer than one hour trip physically no more than eight miles away, but mentally many leagues away.

In the image above, you can see the Percent Chance of Precipitation spike in the afternoon on that Thursday. On that ride that day I could see the weather changing to the west over the Pacific, and I did manage to get home before the rain began. The lunch time route is barely more than 15 miles, but does include some nice climbing on relatively quiet roads, once it clears the more inhabited areas. Emeryville, where I work is something less than 100' above sea level (probably much closer to 1' than to 100' above sea level). The ride takes me and my companions to roughly 1200'. In October, the more exposed sections of the climb are often hot. Now, in December, those same areas are always chilly. Once the main climbing is over, there is a short run along the ridge line and then a E-Ticket ride down Claremont back to reality. In late November, we had an early cold snap and that descent was often wicked cold. Regular rain now falls and we are more than willing to accept cold instead of rain on the rides.

Now it is late December with a long spell of forecast and actual rain just beginning. I'm still looking for the gaps in the weather, and with luck, another Thursday escape from work at lunch time will have to tide me over for what is expected to be a wet holiday weekend.

Stay dry friends!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Cycling mileage spreadsheet (using google docs)

Several years back I was looking for a good way to keep track of my annual cycling mileage and a little Googling resulted in finding this website and it's link to a downloadabe Excel spreadsheet for keeping track of cycling mileage. Mark Pankin, who created that Excel doc annually updates the document and makes it available to the public. I think the document is great and I've used it for several years. One issue I did have with it though was gaining access to the document remotely. I kept it on my computer at home but sometimes I wanted to update it when I was not at home or just pull data from it, again when I wasn't at home. I had had some email exchanges with Mark to ask about certain features of his document and this led to a discussion about porting the document over to Google Docs. Mark was not a Google Docs user but he didn't mind at all if I created a document using his Excel spreadsheet as a model. While there is some ability to import and export Excel format

The fourth time is a charm? PBP 2019 part 1

"I'm cured!". This was a posting I made within hours of having finished Paris, Brest, Paris 2015, hinting that it would be my last PBP. BS was officially called within seconds of that post hitting the interwebs, and this was not the first time that I was wrong (nor I suspect the last time I will be wrong). It is impossible to separate my experiences of riding PBP 2019 from any of those of past editions and the reader will have to forgive those moments of personal context that will follow below. Chartres Cathedral For the number of roadblocks I faced during the four year run-up to PBP 2019, as things transpired I led a somewhat charmed life once landing in France this past August. On the day before my flight, I received an email from Ed Felker inviting me to join Mary and him on a shake down ride out to Chartres. I had heard Craig Robertson describe the sight of the cathedral up on it's hill as he and Lori Cherry approached by bike from the west on a pre-PBP

The fourth time is a charm?, PBP 2019 part 4

Just one left to fill Unlike the fog that descended on the landscape overnight on Monday, the fog forming on Thursday morning was mental. But the chill was real. One downside to leaving Mortagne is that so much of the early terrain is down hill, and the coldest part of night was taking hold on that terrain for both the 84 hour riders and many if not most of the 90 hour riders. In the dark, it seemed that so few riders had gotten on the road, but as the kilometers clicked off the frequency of passing riders increased and packs were again forming, and as the sky lightened there was again a steady stream of red tail lights ahead. Foggy headed and chilled by early morning air that was nudging 40F, many riders reacted with indecision when navigational decisions were to be made and a simple left turn on the route that wasn't within a village caught 95% of the riders and large groups would have to navigate a u-turn amid the chaotic scene. At long last, the undulating landscape smo