The 2015 Traveler’s Guide to Success at Colorado July Races

July 2, 2015

image credit: triplebypass.orgThe beautiful scenery and challenging terrain of Colorado’s cycling scene beckons riders from all over the world to ride along the backdrop of blue skies and snow capped mountains.  In fact, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides and mountain bike trails in the country.   And, it’s host to one of the world’s favorite bike races – the US ProCycling Challenge.  However, one of the toughest challenges a cyclist can face is how to prepare for a tour or race when traveling from out of state.

A first step in preparation is selecting the road rides, mountain bike trails, and or road and mountain bike races you want to do.  July is packed with events including some of our top favorites:

  • Firecracker 50
  • Tour de Ladies
  • Clasica de Rio Grande
  • Big Mountain Enduro Keystone
  • Triple Bypass
  • Longmont Criterium
  • SOS Outreach Colorado-Eagle River Ride
  • Tour de Steamboat
  • Breckenridge 100
  • Salida Classic
  • Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb
  • Leadville Stage Race
  • Colorado Freeride Festival

Next, you’ll want to gather event intelligence.  As in, what are key elements you should know about the event for planning, preparation, etc. You’ll want to know the course profile.  If you are a flatlander, most likely, you’ll be interested in knowing how much climbing and descending to expect. Obviously, a no brainer is to have your bike and the correct bike parts in order!  If you are accustomed to riding on flat terrain, you’ll also want to have the appropriate gearing for your event. Your legs will thank you for this!

As the event gets closer, you will want to be aware of the weather conditions before, during, and soon after you expect to ride.  Colorado weather changes quickly and sometimes, radically.  It’s critical to prepared.  With that in mind, it is important to know which cycling apparel to pack and have available during your stay.

More importantly, travelers coming from sea level to higher altitudes will want to plan their trip accordingly to allow for acclimation.  Specific to altitude acclimations, there is definitely science and research behind acclimating for cycling performance but without getting too technical, following are some of most common approaches.  You may consider spending time at higher elevations prior to your event which enables the body to adapt and increase the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This improves your ability to deliver oxygen to the brain and working muscles at all levels of activity, including high-intensity exercise. The longer you can acclimatize – the better.  Keep in mind, true acclimation can take three weeks or more.

Another option and an important one is to hydrate and drink plenty of liquids. High elevations can cause fluid loss, so it’s important to stay well hydrated. Your best course of action is to stick with water or liquids that replace electrolytes and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages. These liquids act as diuretics and can dehydrate you.

Finally, during training and racing, use your training tools for biofeedback.  It’s important to know your limits going into an event and modify your strategy if necessary. This includes dialing in your race day nutrition requirements, heart rate limits, and using your power meter for feedback. Power meters are especially useful because they help riders to gauge their efforts.

Colorado tours and races in July can be rewarding experiences.  Part of what makes them fun is the scenery and the great Colorado experience. However, to make the even more memorable, it’s important to evaluate your results based on your goals.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What can you do for the next race or tour to get a better result?  Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event.

It might seem unimportant to evaluate the experience, but post event evaluation is an important element in deciding if you want to do that event again the following year.  If you do, it’s helpful to make note of your bike and cycling accessory selections.  What would you change or do differently next time?  As in, you might wonder, did you race the right bike?  Would a different wheel set make a difference?  Build on this foundation to create success in planning and preparing going into next year’s event.

If you are coming in from out of state to participate in one of Colorado’s July cycling events and need help making bike part selections or deciding on the right gear for an event, give us a call at Peak Cycles Bicycle shop. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter and happy to help!  Happy riding!


Keeping Cool When the Racing Gets Hot! Tips to Getting Race Ready for Late June and July Colorado Races 

June 25, 2015

BikeParts.com Race Team in Action

Course strategies, break aways, riding in a small group or a large peloton – these are the thoughts and questions of cyclist wondering how to perform their best at bicycle racing.  Now that the cycling season is in full swing, many are filling up their calendars with the big events of the summer season.  While not a comprehensive list, following are some of the favorite Colorado races and tours on tap for late June and July.

  • 40 in the Fort Endurance Mountain Bike Race
  • The Bicycle Tour of Colorado
  • Boulder Stage Race
  • Firecracker 50
  • Triple Bypass
  • Big Mountain Enduro Keystone
  • Breckenridge 100

Sounds good, right? Absolutely! So many different road and mountain bike events to choose from.  The main question is how to prepare? How do you know if you are race ready?  How do you handle the heat or prepare to ride at altitude?  All good questions and we’ve got answers.  Ultimately, the best way to approach any of these rides is to come prepared: mentally, physically, and have fully inspected your bike parts

Previously, we shared in our Peak Cycles blog post 5 race day strategies to prepare for the Spring races in Colorado highlighting the importance of setting goals, knowing the race route, establishing race day rituals and getting into the proper mental state for racing.  The post, 5 Steps to Being Race Ready, reinforces the need for mental and physical preparation, as well as nutrition and bike parts checks, but part of racing is using your energy effectively – especially during the summer heat.

Here in Colorado, we’re now into warmer temps and managing the heat while riding and racing is critical not only to comfort, but also performance.  Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.  What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.  There are numerous heat–coping strategies to consider when planning a high-intensity workout or doing a race, like those mentioned above, in hot weather.

If you can, acclimate.  It takes about 10 to 14 days of frequent exposure to heat for your body to adapt. During this period of time workout daily in hot conditions at a lower-than-normal intensity. After a couple of weeks of near-daily exposure to hot conditions you will begin perform better in the heat than prior although performance will still likely be diminished from what you might have done in cooler conditions.

Focus on nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.

This is obvious, but an often overlooked component. Hydrate. Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumption. For your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand.

To train and compete at your best during this upcoming events, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  Everyone adapts differently to heat stress.  Need more tips?  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to chat with our racers, mechanics, and other cyclist to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will keep you cool when the racing and riding gets hot!


8 Awesome Father’s Day Gifts for Cycling Dads

June 18, 2015
Happy Father's Day from BikeParts.com

Happy Father’s Day from BikeParts.com

What do you get a Dad who has everything?  Father’s Day can be a tough one. Everyone knows Dad’s are impossible to shop for.  Sure, you could just pick him up another tie or another box of golf balls.  But why not get him something unique this year?  Why not tap into his true passion and gift him with items he will appreciate year round!

To help you in the ideas department, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve put together this list of suggestions that we’re sure will help turn his Father’s Day into more than just another game night or round of golf.

1. Get a Fat Bike! Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is passionate about fat bikes in the winter months but they can actually be ridden year round! They are fun and versatile bikes that can be used in almost any terrain.  We have found the Specialized Fatboy to be a highly rated, mid-range fat bike that is usable for a wide range of ages and skill-levels.  Splurge and get him a fat bike or get him a bike demo so he can try it out himself!

2. Get New Bike Parts! So many bike parts – the question is what to purchase?  Consider getting your Dad a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Maybe purchase some new, lighter tires for your Dad’s wheels. Another option is to reconsider the current crank set and pedals setup.

3. Get a Power Meter! Is your Dad a data junkie?  Then, this is the ideal gift for him!  The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to get for your Dad, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters, beginning at $1000. Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

4. Get Cycling Accessories! So what do you get a Dad that has everything?  Cycling apparel!  You can’t have too many jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, sunglasses, and cycling shoes!  Cycling apparel is much better than just getting another tie!

5. Get a Bike Fit!  A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Give your Dad the gift of riding comfortably.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

6. Get Gift Certificates!  Gift certificates can be used for purchasing bike parts and cycling accessories.  Also consider a variety of gift certificates, as in, those to Starbucks for after ride coffee.  Or, even a trial member ship for yoga.  If your cycling Dad complains of tight muscles, yoga helps ease the tightness, creating core strength, and aligning the spine.

7. Get a Cycling Vacation! 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. There are several Destination Hotspots for Colorado Summer Cycling Trips that the whole family can enjoy.  

8.  Get Riding!  Riding together with your Dad on Father’s day could be one of his most favorite and memorable shared activities to do.  Consider selecting one of the 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides or keep it local and ride some of the best mountain bike trails Golden, Colorado has to offer.

Make your Father’s Day memorable!  Gift him with bike parts and cycling accessories that tap into his cycling passion.  Happy Father’s Day!


Winning Racing and Training Secrets from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop Sponsored Cycling Teams

June 11, 2015
BikeParts.com Team Rider Kyle Crawley on his way to finishing in 4th Place at the Gunnison Growler 32

BikeParts.com Team Rider Kyle Crawley on his way to finishing in 4th Place at the Gunnison Growler 32

Guess who is rocking the coolest bikes, the best bike parts, and crushing it in Colorado’s toughest road and mountain bike races?

You guessed it – Peak Cycles Racers!  We’re super proud of Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop Sponsored Cycling Teams including Peak Cycles XC, Gravity and BMX teams, Colorado School of MinesThe Golden High School mountain bike team, Tough Girl Cycling, Twin Peaks Racing, and The Colorado Collective.  Early season success has come easily to these athletes.  Countless podium finishes and successful racing has caused many followers of the teams to wonder what are the secrets to combining racing and training for a successful summer cycling season?  What are these athletes doing that we all can do to improve our cycling performance?

For starters, there are many different approaches to training and racing.  Typical training weeks may vary in distance, intensity, and training hours. Some athletes prefer a structured approach to their racing season; whereas others prefer to keep it casual by mixing in shop rides and even front range bucket list rides to test fitness and keep training fresh.

But at a minimum, there are the basics which pretty much everyone follows.  This includes ongoing bike maintenance, repairing and/ or replacing bike parts, continued bike nutrition while riding, and a strong focus on hydration on and off the bike.  It sounds simple enough but a properly fit bike – that is ready to ride –  makes cycling fun, easy, and keeps you riding!

Regardless of your approach, one of the winning secrets for training and racing is using tools for bio feedback. Cycling accessories, as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors offers bio feedback monitoring of your efforts with specific data so that you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indictors, as well as, when you aren’t pushing hard enough.

Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. You may also want to check out our post, Heart Rate Training – What You Need to Know for our staff picks at Peak Cycles Bike Shop.  You can also learn steps in discovering your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate.

While it’s not a secret, and we hinted at it earlier, an often overlooked component of successful racing and training is a bike fit.   If you haven’t ridden much this Spring, now is the best time for a bike fit.  Why? Because your body is unaccustomed to the riding position.  You have an opportunity to optimize your position and make needed upgrades to your road bike or mountain bike.

There are countless suggestions that we can offer for training and racing tips but nothing can replace the passion, discipline, and love of the sport that our staff and team riders embrace.  For more winning race and training secrets, stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and ask our staff for ideas and suggestions.  Also, keep current by following our Facebook page for updates.  Happy riding!


What’s New and Notable in Colorado Cycling

June 4, 2015

As part of our introduction of the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop 2015 Roster of Sponsored Cycling Teams, we’d like to introduce to you a new and notable cycling team in Colorado – the Colorado Collective.

The Colorado Collective is a brand new cycling team founded in October, 2014. What is exciting about this team is that the group is youthful and competitive!  This team includes some of the strongest and talented young cyclists in Colorado. Currently the team is made up of 8 young cyclists whose goal is to “bridge the gap between cycling’s unmatched passion and the energy of life’s most fundamental experiences.”

While the team is new, they are forging ahead at a blistering pace making their mark on the cycling race scene.  Most recently, the team has experience numerous successes with a 4th place finish at the Koppenburg circuit race and top 5 placings at the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico. Team riders, Kit Recca, Andrew Clemence, and  recently raced in the Koppenburg circuit race in Boulder – a rugged 5.5 mile road race circuit featuring a 17% grade climb.   Jon Tarkington took an impressive 4th place finish. Also, new recruit, Taylor Warren, led the team at the Lafayette circuit race on Sunday May 3rd with a 5th place finish!

Other recent achievements include Neal Shepherd racing in the Tour de Gila in early may getting 5th in TT and 4th in GC and Andrew Clemence took the win at the Maverick Classic TT at the Colorado Mesa University Cycling Team in late April.

With impressive achievements such as these, it’s easy to see why we at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop support the team with the best selection of bike parts and components for road cycling and bike parts for their mountain bike racing.  Help us support them too!  Stay engaged with this promising group of young cyclists.  Visit the team websitefollow them on Twitter @cocollective15 and connect on Facebook.

The Colorado Collective - Sponsored Team by BikeParts.com/ Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop


Bicycle Racing in the Colorado Front Range Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating – Here’s Why

May 28, 2015
Twin Peaks Racing

Twin Peaks Racing

With countless mountain bike trails and exquisite road rides available throughout the state of Colorado, it’s no wonder the state boasts of high percentage of recreational cyclist. Many enjoy the joys of recreational cycling yet some yearn to challenge themselves a bit more and begin to explore ideas of racing road bicycles and mountain bikes.

The idea at first is exciting!  But not long after, questions emerge and sometimes the idea of stepping out from recreational riding to racing can seem a tad intimidating.  Some cyclist making the transition struggle to find a network for training and racing.  Whereas others just can’t seem to find the answers they are looking for to help them make that jump.

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop staff helps answers questions related to the best bike parts for different race venues.  We’ll help get your bike in order prior to racing with a proper bike fit as well as any bicycle maintenance needed before or after your event.  We even take it a step further!  We have a local group ride to support camaraderie and training and we also support several local race teams. One in particular, Twin Peaks Racing, is the ideal solution for a cyclist taking that first step towards racing.

Twin Peaks Racing is the Colorado front-range racing team for the average joe. Known for its “laid-back culture” and “grass-roots bicycle racing,” the team aims to give cycling enthusiasts of all abilities an outlet for bike racing.  The group was found in 1986 and is made up of a group of about 40 men and women.  During the 2014 race season, the team competed in 31 races and had 96 individual finished. 40 of those finishes were ranked among the top 10 finishes and 25 ranked within the top 5. In 2015, the team has already seen 3 top ten finishes by Omar Dickson, Mark Mortell, and Jeff Warner.

If you have ever wondered if bicycle racing is for you, this team would be the best next step in moving towards those racing goals.  Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is proud to support Twin Peaks Racing with bike parts and the cycling accessories they need for the 2015 season.  You can stay up to date with Twin Peak races on their website  or on their Facebook page. With a great team like Twin Peaks Racing, it’s easy to make the jump from recreational riding to racing!

Tough Girl Cycling Team Inspiring Women Cyclist with Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

May 21, 2015
Tough Girl Cycling Team - Sponsored by BikeParts.com and Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Tough Girl Cycling Team – Sponsored by BikeParts.com and Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

At Peak Cycles Bicycling Shop, we all love bikes and we share our passion for the sport by supporting eight cycling teams in the Colorado Front Range area.

Members of our teams race in all levels and in multiple disciplines and plan to race a full arsenal of events throughout the 2015 cycling season.  That’s why we are proud to support the cyclists who are a part of the Peak Cycles – BikeParts.com Race teams – especially the Tough Girl Cycling Team.

In case you are unfamiliar, the Tough Girl Cycling Team is a non profit cycling group for women started in 2005 and “promotes active outdoor lifestyles through bicycle racing both regionally and nationally.” Their goal is to “have fun, stay fit, be competitive, and look great doing it!”  You will notice from their pictures, they do look great!  But their team members  are also great cycling advocates sharing cycling knowledge around nutrition; bike skills and drills; identifying the best bike parts for women riders; and also, tips on keeping mentally tough during training and racing.
When they aren’t inspiring others to ride, they are often found on the podium!  There are countless achievements to share but following are a few highlights.  Champion Titles include:
  • Kay Levesque is 2008 24-Hour Duo Mountain Bike National Champion and 2010 24-Hour Women’s Masters Mountain Bike National Champion
  • Lisa Strong is 2006 W’s Team 24-Hour National Champion, 2009 CO State Cyclocross Champion, 2008, 2010 Runner Up CO State Cyclocross Champion, and 1999 Runner Up Collegiate Cyclocross National Champion
  • Lynn Bush – 2009 Super-D National Champion – Open Women and  2006 W’s Team 24-Hour National Champion
  • Margell Abel – 2004 Cyclocross National Champion, Master Women 35-40, 2000 Cyclocross National Champion, Master Women 30-34, and 1st ever Collegiate Cyclocross National Champion – 1997, University of Colorado
  • Rebecca Gross – 2012 Masters Cyclocross World Champion 30-34, 2012 Collegiate Short Track D2 National Champion, 2011 Collegiate Short Track D2 National Champion
Members of the Tough Girls team have had multiple triumphs with podium finishes at various local Colorado and regional races such as 18 hours of Fruita in Fruita, CO and Turkey Cross in Lakewood, CO.
Be sure to spot these inspiring ladies on the trail! Look for them at upcoming events and keep current with Tough Girl activities and successes on their website, their Facebook page, on Twitter @ToughGirlTeam and on Instagram.

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