It’s been tough over the past few days to determine what the weather is going to look like on Sunday, and there are still some discrepancies among the forecasting models. Columbia County is on the northern edge of a rainy system that’s been stuck in the NY Metro area and the Hudson Valley, and it’s not clear when or whether it will affect our event. Here’s what we think we can safely assume at this point:
- It will rain on Saturday (both models predict 100% probability). That may have some impact on our ability to mark the course, especially with painted arrows on the roads.
- Regardless of what weather conditions we get on Sunday, Saturday’s rain will also have an impact on at least parts of the off-road sections on Sunday. The off-road sections can be a mix of gravelly and grassy jeep trails, grassy fields, and dirt trails. The grassy areas can be slick, the fields can puddle up, and the dirt trails can get muddy. With one possible exception, the mud on dirt trails doesn’t tend to get deep, but much of it is clay and can be slick. The exception that those of you who have ridden with us previously is at the 3rd stream crossing and the ensuing uphill tractor path. Many walk parts of that even on a dry course.
- It appears that we’ll have at least some rain showers on Sunday, especially in the morning, and possibile a thunderstorm at some point, but most of the day will be cloudy and fairly warm.
Based on this, we can make some recommendations:
- Those of you riding CX or gravel bikes should mount all-purpose tires, not file-treads.
- If you’re riding clipless pedals, use mountain bike pedals and shoes. Chances are good that you’ll find several off-road spots where the prudent thing is to walk.
- Plan on going a bit slower overall than you would in a drier year. There are trade-offs, e.g., some dirt roads may be better packed because of the wet, others may be slick or soft. On the off-road sections things like wet grass will likely slow you down a bit, one more reason to enjoy the scenery!
- There is one steel-decked bridge as you cross the Kinderhook Creek at about mile 18; these can be very slippery on bike tires, so use caution and consider walking across, it’s only a few yards.
- If we do get a period of heavier rain than a light shower, your visibility and that of those driving cars is reduced. Remember that all the roads on this course are open to traffic, and ride with extra caution.
- Consider packing a cycling-specific rain jacket in case you need it, some small plastic bags to protect your cuesheet, phone, money, cycling computer, etc., from the elements should you need them.
- Consider packing a small brush in your kit bag. If things do get muddy they can come in very handy for cleaning chains, cassettes,derailleur pulleys, etc. in the middle of a trail.
The bottom line is that it pays to be prepared, and we’ll all have a great day out there. While we’re optimistic that the ride will be in good conditions, there is at least some chance of a storm at some point in the day. And if you do feel that you need it, as always we have to formal opt-out routes at each of the two large aid stations that, while not parts of the official course, will get you back to the finish quickly and easily on paved roads, and we also have roving support that can help you out anywhere on the roads.