What makes a ride epic? Persevering through foul weather can certainly make a ride epic. But sometime we seek epicness in a ride’s distance or remoteness or don’t want the added challenge of miserable weather.
After all, who likes riding into a headwind? I was once on a tour from Seattle to San Francisco–headed North to South because that’s the direction that guarantees favorable winds–when an unusual storm brought winds from the southwest for about three days straight. A few hours into the second day of stiff headwinds, somewhere around Port Orford, OR, I stopped in a cafe and began researching a detour inland where I hoped the winds would be less punishing.
The detour would have strung together a mishmash of forest roads for about an 60-mile crossing of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The gamble seemed too great, so I took my lumps and continued down the coast in the wind which eventually also brought rain.
My headwind avoidance strategy used to entail gathering weather reports for multiple towns or points along a possible route and then modifying routes and adjusting start times accordingly. But at the end of Day 1 of the 2018 Rocky Mountain Cyclists Haute Randonée Six Pack, riders gathered at the local pub and unsurprisingly the topic of what to expect for Day 2 came up. Where would the headwinds be? What would the temperatures be like? Would there be thundershowers over Tennessee Pass? That, of course, would depend on what time you reached Tennessee Pass.
A fellow cyclist pulled out their smartphone and pulled up a game-changing app called Epic Ride Weather.
Let’s say I’m in Eugene, OR on my tour down to San Francisco and I want to know what the weather will be like on my route tomorrow. Epic Ride Weather accesses a route I have created or a ride I have done, allows me to input a start time and an average speed, and in seconds produces a comprehensive analysis of the weather conditions at each point along my route. Cloud cover, chance of precipitation, temperature, wind speed and direction. It’s all there.
Advanced features include a slider tool that allows you to shorten a long route to see weather for a selected segment. This is particularly valuable if your route is a multi-day tour. For Day 2, for example, load the whole route then use the slider to change your start point to your current location. You can also use the slider to change the end point of a route. You can also have Epic Ride Weather reverse a route in case you want to see if the weather will be better for a clockwise or counterclockwise loop of your route.
Precipitation and temperature are useful, but I usually have a sense of these before opening Epic Ride Weather. Where the app shines is the wind data and the directional arrows overlayed on a map of your route.
Just like you would scout out a climb on a new route to prepare mentally for the start of the climb, to file away data on the length and gradient of the climb, or to make a mental note about where the crux of the climb comes, Epic Ride Weather gives you exactly what you need to prepare mentally for challenging weather on your ride.
Epic Ride Weather can be used to help you be better prepared for the weather you’ll encounter, or to re-reoute, reschedule, or cancel a ride altogether if the weather simply looks too epic.