8 Days to Havasu
Arizona weather may not be what you think it is.
But then again, I could be wrong.
Everyone jokes about the heat,
“… sure it’s hot here. But it’s a DRY heat.” 🌵
I grew up in Tucson, spent a summer in Yuma, a few summers in Mesa and Gilbert, traveled all over the state and I have yet to find one area of the state that is so hot that I would take that joke seriously. In fact, Flagstaff can be damn cold in the Winter. For today’s countdown, I’m going to talk about what I expect the weather to be like on race day in Lake Havasu City.
Why should you listen to me talk about the weather? My credentials are pretty darn thin and I’ve never lived in Lake Havasu City (but I have been there). I’m going to tell you anyway, because I have DATA: not a lot of data, but enough to get an idea of what to expect. If you are a resident of Lake Havasu City (can I just say LHC?), you might find this blog post completely useless. In fact, no matter where you call home you might draw the same conclusion, but on we go with my predictions.
A little note about the data… I downloaded historical data for the area from the years 2000 through 2018. Data from 2005 is missing for some reason (Maybe there was no weather that year). So, I have 18 data points, one for 9am March 16 of each year. I told you it wasn’t much data.
Have a look at the following plot.
The March 16, 9am temperatures in Lake Havasu City range from 50F to 78.1F. There are only six years where the temperature was above 70F and if humidity is low, 70F can feel pretty good. We’ll get to humidity later. Also, I’m not going to predict an actual temperature. Instead, I’m going to prepare for a cool morning swim and a chilly ride on the first part of the bike. I don’t think I’ll wear arm warmers. The run will be comfortable to hot.
The plot above shows both wind speed and wind direction. The text of the wind direction label is sized according to the wind speed. For example, in the year 2000, the wind came from the North at a speed over 20mph so the word North is much bigger than a wind that moved at a slower speed. I can’t read the wind directions when the wind speed was 0, but that’s ok. IT DOESN’T MATTER ANYWAY (yes, I’m yelling). A quick visual summary of the plot tells me to prepare for a mild wind from the North which means we could have a head wind on the first half of the bike.
Normally, I wouldn’t care about humidity for a sprint or Olympic distance race, but the data was there so…
What the plot tells me is that we are likely to have clear skies which means I will bring a brand new bottle of SPF50 sunscreen with me. Humidity will be quite low, so I’ll plan on taking more water than I usually would and take electrolytes too.
I’ll tell you right now that I don’t plan on beating anyone other than my own ghosts. However, I do feel pretty good right now about the weather conditions that we may have on race day. My statistics training does force me to consider the possibility of 50 degrees with a 20mph headwind in heavy rain. And being trained in statistics, I will give that scenario a very small probability.