March 20th at 4:45 PM MDT marks the beginning of spring. While we have a few days to go and the warmer temps may not quite be here yet, cyclist are getting ready for the 2015 season.
You can feel it – enthusiasm is high! But, enthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make early season training errors. Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. 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. Understanding how to pace yourself while getting fit is crucial.
Yet, having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear makes all the difference too. Especially so if you have taken it easier over the winter months. Transitioning to more time in the saddle and longer rides on the bike can be either a pleasurable experience or a painful one! Here’s your guide to getting your bike and training in order for spring cycling.
Does your bike have cobwebs on it from non use during the winter months? Now’s the time to dust it off, put some air in those tires and do a thorough bike inspection. It seems simple enough but there are some critical areas to pay attention.
What do you look for? Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design. While your saddle may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving. Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible. Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike. Handlebars, stems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. Make sure all is well before embarking on longer rides which could lead to lasting discomfort.
How important are brakes? Obviously, a lot! When you don’t have them, or they aren’t working properly, then you know the importance of well maintained brakes for your road or mountain bike. Sure, brakes help stop your bike but they also aid in redirecting the bike, navigating technical terrain, cornering, and overall balance. As the cycling season starts up, bike maintenance is essential. We’re happy to help you at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop so bring your bike in for a spring tune up, or you can do bike maintenance at home. Demonstrated by our staff, at Peak Cycles Bike Shop, using the Avid Professional Bleed Kit are step by step instructions on how to bleed your mountain bike brakes for strong and reliable stopping power: Our Tips on Bleeding Brakes.
Another important component to spring riding is checking out your wheels. Unquestionably, wheels matter! They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality. Spring is a great time to upgrade bicycle components. The question is, once you’ve decided it’s time for a wheel upgrade, how do you know how to select the best ones? Check our our video, Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know.
As for mountain bike riders, you may be thinking about going tubeless. For anyone who wants higher performance and less flats but doesn’t mind a little extra installation time and maintenance, going tubeless is the best choice. The trick is having the right set up and knowing which bike parts or products to use. Again, stop by the shop to ask any questions or watch our video for help. GoingTubeless? How to use Stans NoTubes by BikeParts.com
Training and Racing:
Now that you have your bike dialed in, the next part of the equation is training. Do you have your 2015 goals in mind? Aside from the traditional goals to ride more, to lose weight, and to explore new rides, consider being a little more ambitious! Stretch yourself to reach new heights! Maybe create your own Spring training camp with friends or challenge yourself to 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides.
If you are a competitive cyclist, determine if you are race ready. 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 – on and off the bike. Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season. Our post, 5 Race Day Strategies for Spring Races in Colorado walks you step by step through the process of race preparation.
As you approach your first race or long ride of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition. While riding, many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel – whether that is in nutrition bars, gels, and liquids. However, oftentimes, a course may dictate other options. As in, for mountain bike riders, a technical course may present obstacles in taking solid food while riding versus taking fluids. Our post, Solving the Bike Nutrition Mystery and Training Peak’s post, Strategies For Optimum Recovery offer great suggestions to getting you on track for the nutritional demands of training and racing.
With a little preparation and planning, your pre season bike maintenance and training can pave the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable 2015 cycling season.
Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the bike parts you need to launch your best cycling season ever!