It’s been a tough winter for cyclists, and perhaps no one knows that better than Southwest resident Kristin Clark.
Clark has made a business of forecasting hyper-local weather and trail conditions for bike races. Before mountain bike races, for example, she watches for any chance of lighting and checks rainfall amounts to see if trails will be soggy or dry and dusty.
She provided “Cyclecasts” for the Fatbike Frozen 40 race in Maple Grove, where February snow and slick trails made riding difficult for more than 100 cyclists.
“These were very tough racing conditions,” she said.
She also did cyclecasts for the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout in Ironton, Minn. Due to cold temperatures, the race mileage was reduced. The course changed as well, after 40 mile-per-hour winds undid the work of hundreds of snowshoers who had packed down the trails.
Clark comes from a family of meteorologists. Her mother and father have done the weather for the same television station in Pennsylvania for more than 20 years.
Aside from 2WheelWeather, Clark works as an on-air meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, and writes a weekly weather blog for Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists. She also provides forecasts for cyclist youth in Minnesota through the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.
“I love to get young girls and boys excited about science,” she said.
In the future, Clark plans to install weather stations and sensors along races, so bikers can see the air temperature, humidity and ground temperature at a glance.
“Farmers do that all the time, they have weather stats out in the middle of a field,” she said. “This is the same idea.”
Clark’s latest weather post at press time: “Here’s an eyebrow-raiser…the last time we had a Saturday/Sunday with highs (both days) in the 40s or warmer was November 16th & 17th…”