Regional Discussion Area > Colorado

Weather in May

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cyclebum:
Will be touring west to east thru central CO in early May. Looking for advice about what to expect from the weather. Odds of severe conditions? I know our route takes us over Monarch. Couple of older guys, like 60+.

Wally:
This is a very tricky question - in May, in the mountains, anything can happen weather-wise. Generally speaking, you'll be looking at highs in the 50's or maybe low 60's. It will probably be be below freezing at night, at altitude.  You are a little early in the season. There will definitely be snow on the ground as you go over the pass, but the roads will be clear.

It sounds like you'll be coming across US 50, perhaps from Gunnison to Salida - can you provide some details about your route, and we'll do our best to give better guidance.

We all ride our bikes in the mountains in May. We hope for the best, and bring lots of layers of clothing.

At least, in my case, I do after I learn: my worst cycling experience ever was a return down Berthoud Pass. I rode from Idaho Springs to the top, and when I turned around, the weather decided to greet me with a windy rain-snow mix. I have never been so cold, nor so happy to finally make it down to the small coffee shop in Empire, where I huddled next to the stove for an hour, trying to see if my extremities were still attached. After that experience, I always bring appropriate rain gear, a hat, something to cover my feet (baggies work), and maybe a fleece vest. That day, I did not. 

Wally

cyclebum:
Thanks for the info. Route is Grand Junction to Pueblo. Your report is encouraging. I won't hold you responsible for any surprises on the down side and will give you credit for the upside. We're a little early to avoid uncomfortable highs in Death Valley and thru Kansas. For us, reasonable cold is easier to deal with than unreasonable hot. We will have all the needed layers, including booties my wife has lovingly sewn for me.

Wally:
Excellent - my thought, then, is that you will be fine, as long as you aren't planning on camping at the top of Monarch Pass. If you go from Gunnison to Salida (66 miles or so), you should have a nice ride. Do check the weather before you leave Gunnison, though, just in case there was a snowstorm. This would be unusual, but it could happen.

Have a great trip!

p.s.: In case it is super-cold at the top, you can enjoy the public hot springs in Salida. For $11, you can't beat it! Details are here: http://salidapool.com/

northboundtrain:
I rode over Monarch Pass last May east to west.  A little snow and some really vicious wind -- blowing the wrong direction.  In May you can bet on wind, but it does generally blow west to east.  Most dangerous thing is a big cross wind and a narrow shoulder.  Just something to be aware of, though not much you can do to prepare for in advance.  You could have beautiful sunny weather or a blizzard. 

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