The 10 Most Extreme Weather Bike Rides Recorded | PedalChef

Key Takeaways

  • Extreme weather amplifies challenges in cycling events.
  • Cyclists often face unexpected adversities during rides.
  • Tales of determination emerge from harsh ride conditions.

Bike rides can push us to our limits, especially when the weather turns extreme.

Have you ever pedaled through a storm or defied scorching temperatures?

Some cyclists really have, turning ordinary bike rides into legends of endurance and willpower.

Extreme weather bike rides challenge the toughest cyclists and provide incredible tales of human determination.

Imagine tackling icy mountain passes or braving relentless storms, all while pushing through physical boundaries.

Trust me, you're in for a ride that not only tests the mettle of athletes but also showcases the awe-inspiring power of nature.

You will learn about events where only the grittiest cyclists dared to continue, and where the weather played a merciless co-competitor.

These are stories of not just races, but battles against the elements, complete with frozen gears and wind-battered spirits.



The 1988 Giro d'Italia, Stage 14 (Passo di Gavia, Italy)

You might've heard some wild tales from the world of cycling, but nothing quite compares to the drama of the Giro d'Italia's 1988 stage 14.

Ever been caught in the snow during a leisurely ride?

Imagine facing that, but during one of the most challenging competitions in the world.

This isn't your typical bike ride to the store; it's one for the books!

The riders set out from Chiesa in Valmalenco, headed toward Bormio, not knowing they'd become part of a story told for years to come.

The route spanned 120km, with the menacing Passo di Gavia waiting in the midst—and mother nature had no intention of making it easy.

Picture heavy snowfall, icy winds, and a temperature gauge that's given up and gone home!

Let's talk numbers, because they bring this epic tale to life:

  • 3,579 kilometers: The total distance covered in the 1988 Giro
  • An average speed of 36.79 km/hr: Speedy, given the conditions
  • 180 starters: A brave crowd
  • 125 classified finishers: Not everyone could stand the heat, or should we say, the lack thereof?

On May 5, with an individual time trial, the race began, eventually concluding on June 12 in Vittorio Veneto.

The hero of the hour?

Erik Breukink, who claimed victory in stage 14, while Andrew Hampsten not only survived the freezing ordeal but also went on to win the overall race, treating the 7-Eleven team to its sweetest victory.

Remember, this bitter stage wasn't just a test of physical stamina but also of mental grit.

Riders encountered what seemed like an endless whiteout, turning the race into both a battle against rivals and the elements.

Talk about the ultimate showdown between man and nature, right?

No doubt, the images from that day continue to symbolize resilience and fortitude in the face of outright extreme conditions.

Paris-Roubaix 1980 (France)

Have you ever tried cycling through a quagmire?

Well, the participants of the 1980 Paris-Roubaix might as well have.

Dubbed the "The Hell of the North," riders faced more than just their rivals—with torrential rain adding a slick and treacherous sheen to cobblestones that challenge even the best.

Imagine peddling furiously on what's essentially a slippery slide of mud.

That year, on April 13th, the unforgiving weather transformed the race into one of the most extreme rides ever recorded.

  • Winner: Francesco Moser
  • Runner Up: Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle
  • Third Place: Dietrich Thurau

Have you ever wondered what it takes to triumph in such conditions?

Moser had the grit to glide across those cobblestones, claiming his victory with not just skill but an undeniable resilience that sets legends apart.

And speaking of legends, can you believe that Dietrich Thurau, the third-placer, was actually part of a team named Puch-Sem-Campagnolo?

It sounds like a wizard's spell, but it was pure athletic magic that day!

Starting in Compiègne and ending in Roubaix, the race required not only physical prowess but also mental fortitude.

Just picture wearing the leader's jersey through most of the race, soaked to the bone and caked in mud—now that's endurance!

Despite the hearty challenge posed by nature, the Paris-Roubaix of 1980 remains etched in history, a testament to the rugged spirit of the race and its riders.

Tour de France 1996, Stage 16 (Hautacam, France)

Ever imagined cycling through thick fog and bone-chilling rain?

Well, the riders of the 1996 Tour de France didn't have to imagine—on Stage 16, they lived it!

Picture this: a grueling 199 km ride, with a brutal climb to Hautacam, amidst downright frigid temperatures.

Remember Bjarne Riis?

He certainly didn't let the weather dampen his spirits.

He pushed through the elements to claim victory on that notorious stage, right before Richard Virenque and Laurent Dufaux.

That day, Riis didn't just climb Hautacam; he also climbed up the leaderboard, sitting proudly atop the General Classification (GC).

Rider Standings for Stage 16:

  1. Bjarne Riis - 4h56'16"
  2. Richard Virenque - +49"
  3. Laurent Dufaux

Stage Profile:

  • Length: 199km
  • Finish: Hautacam
  • Weather: Cold rain, fog

The stage is etched in history partly due to the epic weather, which transformed a race into a tale of endurance unlike any other.

Fancy trying a ride in those conditions?

I'd bet you'd want to pack extra thermal gear!

As a cycling fan, you know that the Tour is as much about beating the other riders as it is about overcoming the elements.

The '96 Stage 16 is a testament to the resilience of those cyclists, facing down some of the most extreme weather ever recorded in the race's history.

Can you feel the goosebumps just thinking about it?

Tour of Flanders 1985 (Belgium)

Ever wondered what it's like to cycle through a storm?

Imagine pedaling in the 1985 Tour of Flanders, where only the toughest could endure.

Belgian Eric Vanderaerden emerged victorious amid freezing temperatures, but let me tell you, it wasn't just the competition that was chilling.

  • Date: April 7, 1985
  • Weather: Freezing with snow and icy roads
  • Finishers: Only 24 out of 173 riders crossed the finish line

Riders battled against more than each other, facing a treacherous cocktail of snow and ice, with cobblestone paths turning into slippery nightmares.

Can you envisage the challenge of the infamous Koppenberg climb, where even the strongest had to push their bikes uphill?

Now that's an extreme weather ride!

Want some quick stats?

The course stretched over a brutal battlefield with Vanderaerden sealing the deal with an average speed of 39.605 km/h.

Sounds fast?

It's even more impressive when you consider the stormy conditions!

Let's not forget, this race carved its name into the annals of cycling history.

It's not just a test of physical prowess but of mental grit.

Next time you're out in a bit of drizzle, just remember the heroes of Flanders '85 and perhaps, your ride won't seem so bad after all!

Tour de Suisse 2015, Stage 5 (Rettenbachferner, Austria)

Ever imagined what it's like to race a bike in freezing temperatures and snow?

Well, the riders at the Tour de Suisse 2015's fifth stage didn't have to imagine.

This stage took them on an epic climb to Rettenbachferner in Austria, pushing their limits amidst some seriously extreme weather.

Date & Location:

  • Stage: 5
  • Date: June 2015
  • Country: Austria
  • Climb: Rettenbachferner

Weather Conditions:

  • Snow: Yes
  • Temperature: Freezing

Can you believe cyclists actually raced in snow?

Not only that, but they climbed to an altitude where the air was biting and thin.

It's no surprise that some of these hardy souls ended up being treated for hypothermia.

It really tells you something about the grit required!

Rider Challenges:

  • Treatment for hypothermia
  • Snowy and icy roads
  • Reduced visibility

Don't you wonder what goes through a rider's mind when they're pedaling in a snowstorm?

It's the kind of weather that makes most of us want to curl up with a hot drink, not tackle an alpine ascent.

These athletes are made of tough stuff.

And here's a shout out to their support teams, who braced the cold to keep their riders going.

This stage was definitely not for the faint of heart or the underprepared.

So next time you're out on a chilly ride, think of the 2015 Tour de Suisse.

Just remember to layer up, okay?

And maybe skip the snowstorm.

Tour de France 2019, Stage 19 (Val Thorens, France)

Have you ever fancied cycling through a hailstorm?

Participants in the 2019 Tour de France didn't have to imagine; they lived it during Stage 19.

The stage, notorious for its extreme weather, took riders on a journey they're not likely to forget.

Originally planned for 126.5 km, from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes, nature had other plans.

Mother Nature threw a wrench into the works with a hailstorm and landslides in the French Alps, elements that certainly raised the stakes.

This chaos led officials to cut the stage short, not an everyday occurrence in the world of professional cycling.

  • Col de l'Iseran: Doing its part in testing the riders, this notorious mountain pass was the highest point of the 2019 Tour and the setting for the beginning of the end of Stage 19.
  • GC standings: Reflecting the conditions, these were based on timegaps at Col de l'Iseran.

Riders pushed through as unexpected ice pelted down, but safety comes first - the race was halted.

Can you imagine cycling up a mountain and then nature says, "nope!"?

That's exactly what happened when the peloton was met with a blanket of hail.

Imagine their surprise!

Interestingly, Egan Bernal took the yellow jersey home that day, leading in the General Classification with an impressive ride over the Iseran.

No small feat considering he'd been pedaling against the elements!

Who would've thought your bike ride could turn into a battle against hail?

For those in the 2019 Tour de France, it was just another day at the office, albeit a chilling one!

Remember, when you're out on your next ride, you likely won't face down an Alpine hailstorm, but hey, isn't it thrilling to think you could?

Milan-San Remo 2013 (Italy)

Can you imagine pedaling through a snowstorm?

That's exactly what the participants of the 2013 Milan-San Remo race did.

Dubbed the "Snowmageddon," the 104th edition of this classic cycling event was a battle against extreme weather.

The race day, set on March 17, usually marks the arrival of spring, but instead, cyclists faced freezing rain and snow.

The conditions were so severe that organizers had to shorten the distance to 246 kilometers (152.9 miles) from the typical 298 kilometers.

Here's how it went down:

  • Mother Nature's Curveball: Instead of blooming flowers, riders were greeted with a blanket of white.
  • Mid-Race Pause: Safety first, right? A mid-race transfer had cyclists hopping into team buses to avoid the risky roads covered in snow.
  • Persistence Pays Off: Despite the cranked up notch on the weather dial, the cyclists geared back up to finish what they started.
  • The Winner's Circle: Against all odds, Gerald Ciolek triumphed, etching his name in one of the most memorable races.

Notable Numbers:

  • 4th Race: of the 2013 UCI World Tour season
  • 135 Riders: braved the weather right to the finish line

Can you believe they rode through all that and still kept their spirits up?

Next time you're out cycling and a bit of rain starts to fall, just think about the heroes of the 2013 Milan-San Remo.

What a ride!

Tour de Yorkshire 2015 (UK)

Ever wondered what it’s like to cycle in some fierce English weather?

Let me take you back to the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire in 2015, where cyclists faced more than just their competitors.

Picture yourself on your bike, pushing against gale-force winds and being pelted by heavy rain.

Sound intense?

That's because it was!

Race Details:

  • Start: Bridlington, May 1
  • Finish: Leeds, May 3
  • Organisers: Welcome to Yorkshire & Amaury Sport Organisation

The Tour de Yorkshire kicked off on May 1st in Bridlington and spanned over three days, concluding in Leeds.

Did you know that these folks at Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organisation also organised the Yorkshire stages of the Tour de France the previous year?

Challenges on the Track:

  • Harsh weather conditions
  • Hilly terrain
  • Test of endurance and skill

The route itself was a test, with its rolling hills adding to the drama.

Now add in some serious weather!

Riders contended with conditions that turned mere pedaling into a Herculean effort.

Notable Moments:

  • Stage 1: Scarborough victory by Nordhaug
  • Stage 2: Hofland triumphs in Selby

Despite the weather playing havoc, the athletes showcased incredible perseverance.

Have you ever fought through a storm while exercising?

Well, these riders did just that, turning each stage into a memorable battle against nature.

With such a remarkable start for the event, the Tour de Yorkshire strongly established itself, blending the beauty of Northern England with the sheer tenacity of cycling.

Ready to take on the challenge yourself next year?

Tour of California 2011, Stage 1 (Lake Tahoe, USA)

Ever imagined what it's like to pedal in a snowstorm?

Well, the riders at the 2011 Tour of California didn't have to wonder for long—that's exactly what happened during Stage 1 at Lake Tahoe.

The peloton was all geared up to face a demanding 191 km ride, but Mother Nature had other plans!

Initially set to connect South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe-Northstar at Tahoe Resort over an 80 km distance, the stage was notably dubbed 'The Winter Ride.' Despite the best efforts, the organizers faced an uphill battle against the weather.

Let's break it down by the numbers:

  • Original distance: 191 km
  • Shortened route: 80 km
  • Cancelled: Due to severe weather

Now, imagine you're there, the air is crisp, and you're surrounded by a flurry of snow.

Sounds extreme, right?

Some might think it's the ultimate adrenaline surge, but safety comes first, and this time, the risk was too high.

If you were spectating, you'd be bundled up like a burrito!

Why was it cancelled?

  • Snowfall and cold temperatures
  • Unsafe riding conditions

Remember, the Amgen Tour of California was a prestigious event, part of the UCI America Tour, attracting elite cyclists from around the world.

But, when faced with the unpredictability of high-altitude weather, what can you do?

The organizers prioritized the wellbeing of the riders and fans, leading to a collective sigh of relief and an unfortunate hitch in this frosty endeavor.

So, while riders didn't get to compete that day, they lived to ride another—a testament to the unpredictable nature of outdoor sports!

Tour de France 1998, Stage 15 (Col de la Madeleine, France)

Have you ever thought about cycling through a storm?

Well, the riders of the 1998 Tour de France didn't have to imagine; they lived it during Stage 15!

This was no ordinary stage—it was a climb over the Col de la Madeleine, known for its challenging ascents and breathtaking views.

But on that day, mother nature added her twist with heavy rain and bone-chilling cold.

How did the cyclists fare?

It was a true test of grit and determination.

Marco Pantani, with his trademark bandana and earrings, emerged as the hero of the day, displaying exceptional climbing abilities.

Despite the adverse weather, Pantani fought his way through to claim victory at the peak.

Here’s a quick glimpse of what happened:

  • Winner: Marco Pantani (Mercatone Uno)
  • Runner-up: Rodolfo Massi (Casino - AG2R)
  • Third Place: Fernando Escartín

And just imagine descending those slippery roads, trying not to slide off your bike—the stuff of legends!

Seems like the stuff of nightmares?

Maybe, but for these athletes, it was just another day at the office.

The point standings for the climb at Col de la Croix de Fer, which likely had the riders’ legs screaming for mercy, were as follows:

# Rider Team Points
1 MASSI Rodolfo Casino - AG2R 40
2 JALABERT Laurent O.N.C.E. - Deutsche Bank 35
3 PANTANI Marco Mercatone Uno 30

Remember, Marco Pantani didn't just conquer Stage 15; he went on to win the whole shebang!

This stage was pivotal for his overall general classification victory.

Can you believe the grit these riders showcased amidst such extreme weather?

That's the spirit of the Tour de France—pushing through no matter what.

Mind over mountain, right?