How to Make the Most of Late Season Races

August 28, 2014
Sarah Shull racing in the 2013 Winter Park Gravity Series.  Trail: Cruel and Unusual.

Sarah Shull racing in the 2013 Winter Park Gravity Series. Trail: Cruel and Unusual.

At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.  As the racing season seems to be getting longer and longer, what are the ways to maintain motivation and also – capture added gains towards next year’s goals?

Fortunately, there a variety of options at your disposal!  The post, How to Use a Late Season Race for Motivation, suggest selecting late season races that are fun and also promote fitness.  By keeping it fresh, trying something new, and also, targeting some fitness goals, it can inspire you to lay down some of your best training in your season.

What about adding some skill training?  During peak training periods, bike skills and technique is often overlooked.  Why not consider improving your skills?  The video: Five key skills to improve your bike handling offers great visuals and the post, Body Position on the MTB, dials in where you need to be on the bike to ride your best.  Experimenting late season avoids the risk of injury during peak races but also can offer a new challenge – like learning how to do a track stand.

Finally, show some bike love!  That’s right! Your bike has been training and racing with you all season long! Give your bike a break – replace worn out bike parts.  Maybe even experiment with different or new cycling accessories. Try out a new wheelset or reward yourself with new bike parts and components.  After all, your bike has helped you reach your goals all season long.

Ultimately, late season races should be fun. If you love what you are doing and are having fun with it, then you are setting yourself up for more good stuff to come in the following season!


What You Need to Know to Prep for Cyclocross Season

August 21, 2014

image credit: www.mountainflyermagazine.comIt’s nearly that time of year again – cyclocross season!  Cyclocross is a wonderful way for road cyclists and mountain bikers to extend their competitive seasons and get a head-start on training for next season. The intensity of cyclocross racing provides a training stimulus that’s very difficult to replicate with standard interval training during the fall and winter, especially as the temperatures fall and athletes turn primarily to indoor cycling.

As the season approaches, what do you need to know?  The best approach is a comprehensive one.  Meaning, now is the time to begin planning your season  using goals, monthly progressions, and setting a weekly schedule. For those athletes who want to focus their efforts and manage their time, a good plan is to structure your cyclocross training week.

But what does that look like?  While training time, heart rate and power zones vary, a typical training week usually includes a variety of focused activity. As an example, the post, Preparing for Cyclocross Season, shares more on what you need to include in your training plan.

- Transitioning – this generally takes 4 – 6 weeks so you’ll want to account for that.
– Running – running can be an important part of the race. Incorporating running into your training activity is essential, especially if you aren’t comfortable with it.
– Race Specificity – focus on race intensity and include workouts and drills to prepare yourself for the cyclocross season.
– Bike Handling/Cornering – consider practicing starts, dismounts, remounts, shouldering, cornering, and riding through different conditions, as in, mud and sand. All play an important factor is racing efficiently.
– Equipment choices matter – dial in the best bike parts and and tire choice.  While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts is important, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure.

With a little pre-planning, your 2014 cyclocross season can be very rewarding.  Sure, cyclocross races are very high intensity and extremely demanding; yet, cyclocross as a sport is meant to be fun, otherwise, there wouldn’t be beer handoffs, money pits, crowds heckling the pros, or pros heckling the crowd!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re gearing up for some cowbell cheer!


Will Stage 7 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge Determine the KOM? 

August 14, 2014

2014 US Pro ChallengeJust days away from the start of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, Colorado sports enthusiasts and cycling fans around the world wait with anticipation of yet another phenomenal pro race.  With stunning Colorado backdrops, high adrenaline , high altitude thrills of pro cycling, what’s more to like? Anticipation.  Watching the race unfold as leaders compete for different classification wins is thrilling. Yet, here in Golden, Colorado, we anticipate our very own Lookout Mountain may be the deciding factor in the KOM race.

The 2014 USA Pro Challenge takes place August 18-24 and will test riders’ strength and endurance over a 550-mile course.   The final stage, Stage 7, while titled Boulder – Denver, Golden is where the real racing will happen.  A a breakaway will stick or be caught by the time the riders complete what locals call the Lariat Loop. The climb up Lookout mountain is short and steep and possibly the decider in the KOM race.  The post, On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge – Golden, shares details on what you need to know about the stage and Lookout Mountain.

STAGE 7 : 78 miles  Stage Map PDF   Stage Profile PDF
Boulder – Golden – Lookout Mountain – circuits in Denver
Race Begins: Approximately 12:30 p.m.
Race Ends: Approximately 3:50 p.m.
State Highways Impacted: SH 93, US 40, SH 391 (Kipling Street), SH 121 (Wadsworth), SH 95 (Sheridan), I-25.  (Route and Street Closure information)
Lookout Mountain Closure Friday – Sunday
Lookout Mountain will be closed to all vehicle traffic between white pillars and Buffalo Bill’s entrance. 3:00pm Friday 8/22/14 through 2:00pm Sunday 8/24/14.

About the climb of Lookout Mountain
Length: 5.1 miles
Total elevation: 1,438 ft
Average Grade: 5.3% (7%) (steeper in the corners)
Lookout Mountain climb is called Pillar to Post for the landmarks at the start and finish.

This final stage can be a make it or break it for the KOM race.  The climb up and the descent down the treacherous Lookout Mountain provides an intense challenge on the tour’s final day.  Where’s the best place to watch the pro cyclist on Lookout Mountain? Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop for details on what to do near Golden and the best local places to ride in Golden. Need help before the race? Visit us at BikeParts.com


8 Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Bike Parts, Bicycles, and Bike Components

August 7, 2014
Shimano XT front derailleur

Shimano XT front derailleur

When most walk into our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado, they are confronted by a dazzling display of road bikes, mountain bikes, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel.  It’s enough to make your head spin!

On the flip side, it’s the many questions that are asked of our staff and mechanic’s that make our heads spin!  And, we’re happy about that!  Obviously, we love answering questions and talking about the latest and greatest.  But, general questions usually center around road bike or mountain bike?  Tubeless or not? Full suspension or hard tail?  26”, 27 1/2” or 29” wheel?  You get the picture.  Those are great shop questions that we help answer for our customers.

Yet, there are more sophisticated questions asked.  Ones that take a little more time to explain. Answering those questions, we find the following posts to help explain in further detail.

1.  Technical FAQ: Tire widths, pressures, and more
2.  What Happens When the Six Million Dollar Man (bike) Crashes?
3.  Bike Inspections: A Guide for Injury Free, Enjoyable Spring Cycling  
4.  GoingTubeless? How to use Stans NoTubes 
5.  Bike weight and the myth of ‘fast’ bikes
6.  Ask a Mechanic: Which spare parts should I have on hand?
7.  The Quickest Way To Get Faster? Get a Bike Fit! 
8;  Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know 

Asking good questions about your bike and bike parts leads to having the right bike and gear that not only gets you on the bike, but keeps you riding.  Ride on!


3 of the Best Race Strategies for The Leadville 100 MTB Race

July 31, 2014

photo credit: http://bit.ly/1mJZeVM

The legendary Leadville 100 mountain bike race starts and finishes in the heart of Leadville at 10,200’. With more than 90 percent dirt or double track dirt roads, steep climbs, serious descents and a seven-mile climb to the 50-mile turnaround at 12,600’, there is approximately 14,000’ elevation gain. That makes for a long and grueling day on the bike!  Yet, there are tricks and strategies  to make the Leadville 100 one of your best 100 mile mountain bike races.

The post, Top 10 Tips For Your Best 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race, suggest one very important strategy.  That is, do your homework. By this, we mean, read the entire race website to learn the logistics. Get the start location, day and time right. Learn the course profile.  You may consider taping key mile targets or heart rate goals to your top tube to keep your mind focused as the miles go by.  Also, determine how many aid stations and what services such as drop bags are at your disposal. Line up the details of where and when you will leave your drop bag and be reunited with it.  Basically, the support your provide for yourself in advance of the race by doing your homework enables you during the race to have your focus 100% in the game and not distracted with worrying about other elements.

Fuel right.  By fueling right, we mean, balance your nutritional needs leading up to the race as well as the day of the race.  But bike nutrition requires focused effort.  Guidelines for fueling a 100 mile mountain bike race are: every hour take in 60-90 grams carbohydrates, 18-24 oz. fluid, 400-700 mg sodium and 100-300 mg potassium. Frequently consume, in small amounts, any combination of water, sports drinks, gels, fruit, energy bars and electrolyte capsules to achieve these targets.  If you don’t think you can stay on track with your program, consider setting an audible alarm on your watch for nutrition and drinking reminders.

Game On! Leading up to and during your race, it’s critical to maintain a positive and upbeat mindset that is in alignment with your goals.  Your thoughts, emotions, and race behaviors are components of your mental state, so take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals.  If you find yourself slipping into the pain cave with negative self talk, have a mantra ready to repeat and get yourself back in the game. In times of suffering, it’s easy to compare your racing and fitness to others.  Here is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. Know your plan and race your plan.

When it’s all said and done, congratulate yourself on your race experience. Most athletes love the Leadville 100 MTB race and do it every year.  So what’s next?  Use this experience to launch towards a better result in upcoming events.  Evaluate your results based on your goals.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What can you do next race to get a better result?  Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event.  Remember to evaluate your bike and cycling accessory selections.  Did you race the right bike?  Did you suffer from mechanicals?  Now is the time to dial in, replace, and buy the bike parts that you need going into your next event or next Leadville 100 mountain bike race.  The strategies and training you used this time around only build for a better result next time.


Destination Hotspots for Colorado Summer Cycling Trips

July 24, 2014
Breckenridge, Colorado

BikeParts.com biking in Breckenridge, Colorado

The lifestyle here in Colorado celebrates the great outdoors. Even better, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike and mountain bike rides in the country.  Some rides are shorter and convenient whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Locals and vacationers alike welcome the challenge of pushing the limits while taking in breathtaking views that only Colorado has to offer.

According to ColoradoInfo.com, what makes Colorado so special is that it claims 53 peaks higher than 14,000 feet and the cycling and hiking trails ascending them are very popular and demanding. The state is something of a mecca for both long-haul road bikers and mountain biking enthusiasts. Bike paths are abundant on the Front Range from Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs to Pueblo. In the mountains there are paved bike paths as well as hundreds of miles of single-track trails for off-road biking.

With that being said, which are the destination hotspots for cycling in Colorado?  No doubt, there’s too many great rides, trails, and locations to name them all, but following are a few of our favorites.

10 Best Colorado Trails
– The Athlete’s Guide to Boulder
– 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides
– Colorado’s Backcountry Biker’s Huts
– Top 10 outdoor trips and activities in Colorado

Now, aside from selecting your ideal riding location, there are a few additional elements to lock in to ensure a successful cycling adventure. Extra considerations include preparing for riding in Colorado’s altitude.  The post,  Racing at Altitude. What You Need to Know, gives some quick tips on acclimation and don’t forget about having your cycling essentials on hand. Meaning, make sure you have your maps, bike parts, hydration pack, and arrange in advance the details if you are shipping your bike.

Now, all you have to do is visit!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we invite you to visit Colorado’s cities, towns and mountain communities. Join us on road and mountain bike rides across the state and embrace all the beauty this glorious  state has to offer!


Mid Season Cycling Tips for Staying Healthy and Strong

July 17, 2014
John Polli racing strong and healthy.

John Polli racing strong and healthy.

Enthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make mid season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity, going too fast, exercising for too long or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury. It’s easy to do during the summer months as the season beckons us to participate in outdoor activities. Yet, there are ways to enjoy ourselves and still stay strong all year long.

Pay attention to your equipment.  Yes, it’s true.  The right bike parts can make a difference in injury prevention.  A good bike fit  can make all the difference as well.  Periodically, review your setup.  Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.  Your body’s position on the bike affects how you ride. It affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. It affects how comfortable you are on the bike. Bottom line, be mindful of your bike components and bike parts.

Strength train the whole year through.  Year round strength training matters. “One of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.”

Add yoga to your fitness routine.  Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins.  According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.

Rest and recover.  Plan a day of rest once a week into your training schedule. No running, biking, swimming or strength training. Your body needs a day to recover. It will not hurt your performance, but will actually help it and is critical in muscle recovery.

Ultimately, training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load.  The summer months invite us all to push the limits but with a little mindfulness, you can balance pushing the limits while staying healthy and strong.


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