Monday, October 17, 2011

Weather for USDAA Nationals 2012 in Colorado

I thought I'd keep a week's long journal of the weather we had this past week since it's the same week as USDAA Nationals next year to give people an idea of what the weather is like.

In general the weather is incredibly nice this time of year.  A snapshot of a day in October is sunny, blue skies, 70's, low humidity.  It's a fairly dry month as far as snow/rain goes, more or less tied with Sept. as the 6th driest month.  However Oct. 15 is the average day for our first snowfall.  Denver is not desert like Scottsdale, it's semi-arid so while we do enjoy low humidity most days, we also have occasional snow or rain in October.  USDAA is definitely playing a game of Russian Roulette with the weather.  Now I'm not complaining, I've long wished we could have more outdoor trials in October.  If it does snow or rain it's only likely to do so for a day or even half a day.  Multiple days of bad weather are possible but not likely.  It's only rained once so far this month and maybe once or twice last month but it's not at impossibility that the rare bad day of weather could come during Nationals.  And after a week of perfect weather today is cloudy and damp, 53 degrees and 49% humidity in Commerce City at 2:00 p.m.  I didn't check the temps/humidity this morning but it wasn't a pleasant day to be hanging around outside.  On the other hand the sun is coming out as I type.  Bad weather doesn't typically last all that long here.

One thing to bear in mind when reading these temperatures is that sun, wind and humidity levels have a big effect on comfort.  If the sun is shining and humidity is down in the 20's and winds are calm then it can feel up to 10 degrees warmer than it actually is.  When I go home to Chicago I always have to remember to dress for 5-10 degrees colder than what the temperature is or I'm too cold.  Another thing to keep in mind is that we are having a La Nina weather pattern this year so in general it's been warmer and drier than usual (though not this past week).  Who knows what next year brings?  If Nationals had been here this year the conditions would have been perfect all week except maybe even too hot on Saturday, let's hope for the same in 2012.

Weather conditions for Commerce City, October 10-16, 2011

Oct. 10, Monday

7:00 a.m.:  39 degrees, sun coming up, clear, light

8:45 a.m.:  sporadic patches of frost on ground in shady places, no frost in sunny places

9:15 a.m.:  47 degrees, sunny, clear

10:00 a.m.:  51 degrees, sunny, clear

12:30 p.m.:  60 degrees, sunny, clear

2:00 p.m.:  63 degrees, sunny, clear, 23% humidity (compare to Scottsdale, 84 degrees/13%

4:00 p.m.:  64 degrees, sunny, clear, 21% humidity

5:00 p.m.:  65 degrees, sunny, clear, 21% humidity

7:00 p.m.:  51 degrees, dark, 54% humidity

Oct. 11, Tuesday

7:00 a.m.:  55 degrees, cloudy, 34% humidity, light

Was at the agility training field at 7:30 a.m. for a practice session.  Started out in cotton/poly running pants and a t-shirt under a medium weight long sleeved technical running top under a fleece pullover.  Also had a fleece hat.  Gradually peeled off the layers and was down to a t-shirt by around 8:45 a.m., maybe earlier.  Dogs were hot by the end of practice.

9:00 a.m.:  55 degrees, 40% humidity, clear

10:30 a.m.:  61 degrees, 27% humidity, winds 10 mph gusting to 19 mph, clear

Noon:  65 degrees, 28% humidity, winds 5-10 mph, clear

1:30 p.m.:  67 degrees, 24% humidity, partly cloudy

Out walking dogs at 3:30 p.m. in shorts and t-shirt, warm in sun, cool when sun went behind clouds, slight wind

4:00 p.m.:  68 degrees, 24% humidity, partly cloudy

6:35 p.m.:  62 degrees, 30% humidity, cloudy, 14 mph winds, starting to get dark

7:00 p.m.:  61 degrees, 30% humidity, winds 10-15 mph, dark

Oct. 12, Wednesday

7:15 a.m.:  48 degrees, 48% humidity, sunny, clear, light

8:05 a.m.:  47 degrees, 46% humidity, sunny, clear

8:30 a.m., running with dogs, lycra tights with medium weight long sleeved running top, sunny and
                 clear, breezy, feels warm in sun, good in shade, no frost on ground.

1:00 p.m.:  61 degrees, 23% humidity, sunny, clear blue skies, glorious day (compare to Scottsdale,
                   91 degrees, 17% humidity)

2:25 pm.m:  65 degrees, 20% humidity, sunny, clear

4:05 p.m.:  67 degrees, 17% humidity, sunny, clear

6:25 p.m.:  59 degrees, 28% humidity, clear

6:40 p.m.:  Getting dark

Oct. 13, Thursday

6:45 a.m.:  38 degrees, 68% humidity, clear (mostly light by 6:50 a.m.)

7:25 a.m.:  40 degrees, 59% humidity, sunny, clear

8:05 a.m.:  42 degrees, 58% humidity, sunny, clear

8:35 a.m.:  44 degrees, 55% humidity, sunny, clear

9:05 a.m.:  51 degrees, 40% humidity, sunny clear

10:25 a.m.:  60 degrees, 23% humidity, sunny, clear

12:45 p.m.:  74 degrees, 13% humidity, sunny, clear (compare to Scottsdale, AZ at 93 degrees,
                     10% humidity)

2:45 p.m.:  76 degrees, 12% humidity, sunny, clear, 21 mph winds

6:05 p.m.:  67 degrees, 23% humidity, sunny, clear

Oct. 14, Friday

7:05 a.m.:  39 degrees, 68% humidity, sunny, partly cloudy

7:45 a.m.:  38 degrees, 73% humidity, sunny, partly cloudy

8:25 a.m.:  43 degrees, 63% humidity, sunny, clear

9:05 a.m.:  47 degrees, 49% humidity, sunny, clear

9:45 a.m.:  53 degrees, 39% humidity, sunny, clear

10:45 a.m.:  57 degrees, 32% humidity, sunny, clear

11:45 a.m.:  62 degrees, 29% humidity, sunny, clear

12:45 p.m.:  66 degrees, 26% humidity, sunny, clear

2:05 p.m.:  69 degrees, 23% humidity, sunny, clear (compare to Scottsdale at 93 degrees, 12%

4:05 p.m.:  71 degrees, 23% humidity, sunny, clear

5:25 p.m.:  67 degrees, 27% humidity, sunny, clear

6:05 p.m.:  63 degrees, 33% humidity, sunny, clear

7:25 p.m.:  57 degrees, 43% humidity, dark

Oct. 15, Saturday

5:25 p.m.:  79 degrees, 11% humidity, sunny, clear

I was at a trial all day (indoors) so only one measurement but at about 2:00 or so I noticed it was pretty freakin' hot outside.  Too hot for Oct., probably 80's, probably record breaking heat, and where I was was probably a few degrees cooler than Commerce City.

Oct. 16, Sunday

I was at the trial again today but was outside a lot throughout the day and it was gorgeous, typical blue skies, probably got up to the 70's, sunny, similar to the past week.


  1. Wow, so basically at or near freezing in the morning when we'd be up walking courses. Brrrr! The rest sounds completely manageable--this year, anyway!

  2. Oh no, it was never near freezing. Looks like the coldest was 38-39 degrees but most mornings were in the 40's-50's. I didn't even wear gloves when I was walking my dogs around during the 7:00 a.m. hour before my trial. Again unless it's cloudy, windy and damp the temps. feel warmer than they sound. Definitely hat and fleece pullover weather for walk-thrus but not the bitter cold of winter. Unless it snows, then all bets are off.

  3. I won't be going to nationals anyway but wouldn't the altitude make a difference as to how well/fast people who live at lower altitudes can run? I went to a wedding in Boulder once and two people fainted during the wedding from altitude sickness. They had just arrived that day from other states with (presumably) lower altitudes. And what about the dogs flying in? Won't they feel the change in altitude, too?

  4. I was going to do a whole post about altitude closer to Nat's. but maybe I'll do one sooner. In short Commerce City is at 5164' and while people may find themselves short of breath or maybe light headed after lying down and getting up too quickly or going up a flight of stairs it shouldn't be too big of a factor. Maybe this will be a small factor for the folks who are stressing over 100's of a second. Also could be a problem for people with pre-existing health conditions or poor general health.

    Was the wedding in Boulder or the foothills above Boulder? Boulder is at 5430' and altitude sickness below 6000' is extremely rare if you can even have it at all. Typically it's more like 7000'-8000' where you start seeing altitude sickness. In the 21 years I've lived here I've never heard of anyone visiting Boulder who's gotten true altitude sickness or even passed out. Could be any number of reasons why those people fainted, without knowing the specific details it's hard to say (ie were they dehydrated,hypoglycemic, health problems, poor ventilation in the room, stood up too quickly after sitting for a long time etc.).

    The other thing about altitude sickness is that the way you manage it is to move the person to a lower elevation. So if the people came to after fainting and were o.k. without being moved to a lower elevation then it likely wasn't altitude sickness.

  5. Oh, well, "near freezing" definition: "Anything in the 30s." I *am* from California. ;-)

    So how are the aspens this week? Getting some gorgeous shots like yours would be a big draw for me to head out that way.

  6. I haven't been up in the high country this past week but I have been looking at other people's photos. Looks like there are still some leaves at around 8000' but the higher country has snow on the trails. Here's a link to someone's blog who was hiking up in Aspen at the Maroon Bells last weekend. I'd come before Nat's., peak aspen viewing is typically third week of Sept. to 1st week of Oct. I'll totally play tour guide if you come. Leaves in town (Denver/Boulder) are hitting their peak right now.

  7. Heck, thinking about it if you come without a dog you're welcome to stay in my spare bedroom if you don't mind sleeping on an Aerobed (air mattress bed). I have no room for dogs though, my house is very small and it's already a stretch for the 3 I have. I would have to talk my husband down from a ledge.

  8. Thanks, that's a great offer. I'll add this to my list of decisions to make--if I could do aspens and USDAA nationals as a visitor in the same week, I'd definitely do it. But 3 weeks apart, obviously not one trip. I wouldn't bring the dogs--will have no one to compete at nationals level with.

  9. Yeah, I don't how long you were thinking of coming for but the weekend and few days before Nat's., say Oct. 6-10, would put you near the end of the peak leaves. It's a hard thing to pin down exactly and it varies year to year depending on conditions (this year started late due to unseasonable warm temps.) but in general I'd say in that time period that there would still be leaves places, say 8000' and below, but the highest elevations would be bare.

    Jonny was biking in the mountains over this past weekend and said there were still leaves up there (8000'-9000') but they were definitely past their peak.

  10. I just realized I'm coming in from the airport next week and the site is right on my way home. If I'm not too tired I'll check it out as well as the surrounding areas. Stay tuned.

  11. OK! Looks like you need to be the official site for useful colorado info. :-)

  12. Well, that's it! They've moved the dates to the end of September Soooooo wow, looks like a good plan to come to colorado!