5 Tips to Transition Toward Spring Cycling Races

April 6, 2017

Spring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation.  A given rule of thumb is that all races and events provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form.  

However, while some may have trained through the winter months, many have not.  And the alluring call of gorgeous spring days lures many unprepared cyclist to ride too hard, too fast which can lead to injuries or a set back in the 2017 cycling season. To avoid injury or setback, follow these tips to help transition into a healthy and rewarding Spring cycling season.  

Tip #1
Whether you plan to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2017, monitoring your early season training and racing sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  Our tip to do this? Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you. Given that early season training lends itself to “false” feedback.  Meaning, because you may be fresh, your perceived effort on the bike may be low causing you to push too hard, too soon, and then training suffers later due to increased recovery time or even injury.  By monitoring your efforts with specific data, you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indictors, as well as, when you aren’t pushing hard enough.  This allows your body to adjust to increased training load over time and in a manner that meets your 2015 cycling season goals.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, to dial in which training aid is best for you. 

Tip #2
An often overlooked, yet incredibly powerful tool for improved cycling is a bike fit.   If you haven’t ridden much through the winter, 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.  Think of it this way – leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  And, a bike fit goes beyond just setting saddle height and bar reach. To get the most enjoyment and reward from your training programs it’s critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.

Tip #3
Get your bike race ready – It’s obvious, but often overlooked with the excitement of the season – but that is getting your bike ready to race. Our post, Spring Cleaning! 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road, walks you through all the bike maintenance and safety checks needed before embarking on epic training rides.  Fortunately, all the bikesbike parts cycling accessories, and cycling apparel you’ll need can be found on our website – bikeparts.com.  And, if you aren’t into doing bike maintenance yourself, Call or stop in to Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to schedule your bike for a full tune-up. 

Tip #4
Be prepared.  April kicks off the season in Colorado with the Boulder-RoubaixFront Range ClassicFruita Fat Tire Festival, and Koppenberg Road Race.  Not only are you testing your fitness in these early season races, but you’re also testing your memory!  Don’t forget necessary event and race itms. We’ve prepared a handy, comprehensive checklist for Spring racing.   

Tip #5
Early season cycling tempts cyclists  to jump into race training with all the intensity, determination, and vigor they can muster. While these are positive mentalities to have, its important that competitive bicyclists not let their excitement for spring training cause them to overwork themselves.  Recovery is critical.  Our post, Don’t Compromise Your Spring Training Recovery Rides! Here’s How… offers resources for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery.

Finally, have fun! Enjoy the launch of the cycling season!  


Wet Weather? No Problem! 5 Essentials for Riding in the Rain

March 30, 2017

Waterproof Jackets for Spring Cycling @ BikeParts.com

There is no such thing as “bad biking weather”, just ask those happy folks cycling around the Front Range every day of the year. Most cyclist have experienced a sprinkle, shower, or torrential downpour at some point during their cycling career—but with the right gear and attitude, riding in wet weather can be acceptable, and maybe even fun. Here’s what you need.

Rain jacket – Cycling rain jackets are optimized to be fully waterproof and breathable while allowing for a range of movement, and they often have subtle (or unsubtle) reflective accents. The thing to be mindful of when choosing one is the hood. If you ride in a helmet, is the hood big enough to fit over it? If not, opt for a head cap. A cycling cap, worn underneath your helmet, will help keep the rain from running into your eyes while you ride, and help shield your face from the rain.

Shoe covers or waterproof shoes – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from wet, cold, and wind. There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Sometimes, even shoe covers aren’t enough protection. Waterproof cycling shoes and boots can be a very smart investment, especially if you’re determined to ride in the rain frequently.

Gloves – Perched out on your handlebars your hands face the brunt of the weather. As your hands become numb from the constant rain, their temperature quickly cools, and before too long you can have some very frozen fingers to deal with. Frozen fingers aren’t much good at changing gear, braking or clinging to the handlebars, and they’re extremely uncomfortable. Opt for full finger / windproof gloves and waterproof gloves.

Lights – Even if it’s daylight out, you should ride with lights—for the same reason cars turn their lights on in the rain.  The sky is darker, rain can obscure your outline, and drivers are already distracted. Using lights will make you more visible, and help you stay safe.

Maintenance – Experiencing mechanical difficulties in wet conditions is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride – even in the rain. While bike maintenance can be a chore, having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference.  Good reminders for riding in wet conditions is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  Then, follow that up by applying lube your chain and pivot points.  

Finally, adjust your attitude!  Learn to love riding in the rain.  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop or visit us at BikeParts.com to select the cycling apparel that matches your riding style and wet riding needs. 


How to Develop a Winning Mindset for Early Season Races  

March 16, 2017

Team Rider at BikeParts.com / Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Planning and preparing for race season is part of a cyclist’s yearly ritual. Looking forward to focused training and racing is what keeps most coming back season after season. However,  a common misconception is that all of an athlete’s time needs to be devoted to the bike when race preparation begins.  Not true.  Having the right pre season mindset can be a game changer for performance and satisfaction.   

Set Goals – Everyone has different goals.  For some, races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time.  For others, it’s making the podium. For most cyclist, it’s about achieving personal bests.  The most important aspect of having a goals it that it can help reduce pre race anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race.  Identify what you want to accomplish with early season races –  whether it be a targeted heart rate or power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course.

Pre Race Bike Preparations – While you may have been training on your road bike or mountain bike, race conditions may require more from your bike.  Before you head for the start line, you should conduct a bike maintenance and safety check.  Know which bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel are appropriate for the trail or road route you will be racing.  Remember, because it’s early season, the weather fluctuates, so consider variable weather conditions and the bike tools and bike parts you may require under different conditions.  Preparation eliminates the frustration of experiencing a mechanical; so while bike maintenance may not always be fun, it’s worthwhile.  

Establish Race Day Rituals – Most likely it’s been a while since your last race; so remembering what your routines and rituals that worked last season may be absent for this seasons first races.  Designing and refining a pre-event routine is an important part of building a successful race season.  Does having a checklist of race day activities help structure your preparation to the start line?  Include items such as nutrition, hydration, clothes, gear, extra bike parts and basic bike tools.  Consider having a timer count down so you don’t loose track of time.  This way, you won’t forget anything as you prepare for your start.  Use each early season race to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for your next race.

Start Line Mental State – Your thoughts, emotions, and pre race behaviors are components of your mental state.  With that in mind, take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals.  It’s easy to compare your training and fitness to others.  This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. 

Mid Race Mental Toughness – Generally at some point during the race, something is going to go wrong – or at least, not quite as ideal as expected.  Either you suffer from a mechanical issue or your race day nutrition is off or you just feel the suffering from a hard effort.  This is the time to dig deep and exercise mental toughness. As described in the post, Developing Mental Toughness: Are you Tough Enough?, “mental toughness is your ability to persevere in the face of challenges, to keep going even when things get hard, and to have an unrelenting commitment to your goals. When you develop your mental toughness, obstacles are only temporary and one bad performance doesn’t shake your belief in your ability.”  Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year. 

Post Race Evaluation  – 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.

A winning mindset isn’t a set it and forget it type of thing.  Consistency and flexibility are crucial elements in the ongoing approach to your races as the season unfolds.  Be consistent in your preparations yet build upon what you have learned to fire up the engine and get out there and race better with each race!


Valentine’s Day Love to Our Two-Wheeled Friends 

February 9, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day from BikeParts.comOur two wheeled friends have a way of bringing people together. Whether it is for a competitive group ride, a casual bike ride with friends, or a stroll with our significant other.  

Riding bikes has a way of unleashing powerful emotions.  You know, like the sense of power you get when the wind is at your back.  Or, the seance of wonder and appreciation you feel upon glancing at our natural environment.  Emotions are an expression of the joy we get from riding our bike.  

Since bike riding gifts our spirits and bodies with so much, why not share the love this Valentine’s Day with your bike?  

Upgrade dated or worn bike parts
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your bike some love! At BikeParts.com we have ongoing closeouts that save on bike parts, cycling apparel, and cycling accessories. With that in mind, replace bike parts regularly.  

Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before investigating.  Some parts of a bike have a set “wear life”. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, this includes chainscassetteschainringsbrake pads, and cleats.  Stay one step ahead of the game by purchasing these types of bike parts on sale and have them on hand when you need them. 

Bike Maintenance 
Bike maintenance can be a chore, but a necessity. Regular maintenance is essential to any good relationship, right? Including the relationship with your bike! There are several ways to show your bike some love.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame.  Rain, snow, mud, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts.  Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt. 

Don’t forget to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, inspect your brake pads. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.

Experience something new
Demo a fat bike!  That’s right! Fat bikes are all the rage – they thrive in snow, sand, desert, bogs and mud as well as riding what is considered normal mountain biking.  In fact, fat bikes are the fastest growing segment in the bike industry.  Book a fat bike demo. Better yet, purchase a new bike. 

There are other ways to show some love for our sport this Valentine’s Day.  Consider donating unused or older bike parts to someone or an organization in need.  Pledge to support bike programs like People for Bikes or Bike Denver.  Maybe show your own heart some love and invest in a new heart rate monitor and take your fitness to a new level.  

Regardless of how you express your love for bikes and cycling, all of us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, encourage you to embrace your true love of the sport this Valentine’s Day.


Daylight Savings Ending – Fear Not! Cycling Training Strategies for Daylight and Night Hours  

November 3, 2016
Training Tips at BikeParts.com

Training Tips at BikeParts.com

With the time change this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. But fear not, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have training strategies that can help you make the best of the daylight and night hours!

Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, there are ways to make the most of the daytime hours.  It requires a little planning and creativity.  Also, time management plays an important role here. Scheduling your workouts in your calendar; shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening; and optimizing your lunch hour as ride time,  are three areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours.  Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it.  If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up.  However, as other bike enthusiasts know, riding at night can be fun, relaxing, and a delightful end to the day.  If you are up for a little adventure, here’s how to make night time riding work for you! 

Be a well lit cyclist. Purchase cycling apparel that is visible.  There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands.  Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels. You do not notice it during the day and it shows up white at night.  And, as the temperature drops, it’s hard to know what to wear when it’s 50 degrees and sunny outside versus 30 – 35 degrees and cloudy.  Riding in transitional weather can be a challenge!  But, with clothing that is versatile, lightweight, and easy to pack down, you can find a cycling wardrobe that works for you. Watch our video, How to Dress for Winter Cycling to get ideas. 

Explore your ride options. Riding in the dark makes the riding of any technical section immediately harder than in the day.  It takes a good while to overcome this, so don’t set yourself a task to ride the most demanding trails or bike paths you have.  Ease yourself in as the nights start earlier and downgrade your expectations.   Remember, you will inevitably ride and travel more slowly than in daylight.  A way to overcome this is to invest in a good set of lights. With that being said, be mindful that your route doesn’t exceed your lights battery capacities.

Become a fan of bike maintenance: Experiencing mechanical difficulties in the cold and at night is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride.  Yet, for some, bike maintenance can be a chore.  Having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference.  When prepping your bike for for the colder temps and night riding, there are several things you want to do to keep your bike in good working order.  A good thing to always do is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  As the weather changes, rain, snow, ice, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts.  Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.

Also, remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity for winter riding.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, since you can’t see what you are rolling over in the dark, it’s a good idea to frequently inspect tires, wheels, and brake pads.  Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat. 

Daylight riding or riding at night – it’s all good!  As you can see, there’s no need to fear the time change.  The time change can mark the end of the season and bring on a new adventure.  Embrace creativity and plan your rides during daytime hours.  Or, seek adventure and embrace the challenge and make night riding work for you! 


5 Money Saving Bike Tips for Fall 

October 13, 2016
Replace Drivetrain parts in the Fall

Replace Drivetrain parts in the Fall

Each season has its own ups and downs.  Spring and summer seasons are marked with event registrations, travel, and enjoying the cycling lifestyle.  The winter season is the least expensive as most cyclist scale down their training or ride more indoors.  

However, the fall season is somewhat of a mixture of all that. Racing continues yet weather conditions cause havoc on bikes and bike gear. When you add up all the gear, maintenance, and event fees, then riding bikes can be expensive.  Following are 5 ways to save money saving bike tips for fall. 

  1. Patch your tubes.  When you get a flat, don’t just throw the tube away. Hang on to it and patch it when you get home. Patches are fairly inexpensive and can give your tube new life.
  2. Clean and maintain your bike regularlyThe maintenance schedule for a bike can vary somewhat on how often it’s ridden. However, performing regular bike inspections can provide injury free and enjoyable riding. Also, regular bike maintenance can extend the life of your bike parts and cycling accessories.  
  3. Look for discounted gear online and at bike swaps.  At BikeParts.com we have ongoing closeouts that save on bike parts, cycling apparel, and cycling accessories.  Check out those options.  Another option is to check out the annual Veloswap here in Denver, Colorado on October 22nd.  
  4. Replace bike parts regularly.  Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before investigating.  Some parts of a bike have a set “wear life”. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, this includes chains, cassettes, chainrings, brake pads, and cleats.  Stay one step ahead of the game by purchasing these types of bike parts on sale and have them on hand when you need them. 
  5. Sign up early for races or events.  Waiting last minute to register for events can be costly.  Avoid late or day-of registration fees for races and events by signing up ahead of time. You’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket—not to mention the extra motivation that comes with making a financial commitment. 

With a little planning, it’s easy to save money and continue to embrace the transition from summer to fall.  Enjoy! 


5 Cycling Activities to do this Memorial Day Weekend 

May 26, 2016

BikeParts.com Racer in ActionWondering what to do with your day off this upcoming Memorial Day weekend? Ride, of course!  As the cycling season kicks off, there are plenty of casual and competitive cycling activities to do.

Rescheduled from a previous date, the infamous Koppenberg Race leads the weekend actives for competitive road bike athletes. The Koppenberg Race featuring a 17% grade climb and is considered the queen of the spring time cycling events in Colorado.  This event jump starts the cycling season with an impressive 5.5 mile road race circuit, with 300ft of elevation gain per lap, and includes 2 miles on a packed dirt road.  Join in the fun if you are ready for a lung burning, leg twitching feast! More information can be found here. And, while you’re at it, you can prepare to recover well from this race with our compression gear and nutritional recovery supplements- specifically bars, gels, and recovery drinks.  You have to get ready for the next ride, right?

Speaking of next rides, the 2016 – Cafe Velo Gran Fondo is on Sunday.  This event starts and finishes in Monument, Colorado at the Pikes Peak Brewery.  What’s great about this ride is that you have the option to choose from 1, 2, 3, 4 or up to 5 loops (110 miles, 9110 foot elevation gain) making it a great recovery ride from the Koppenberg Race or a great season starter if you are just now getting back on the bike. The ride covers a scenic 22 mile loop with an 1822 foot elevation gain through scenic Northern El Paso County; so plan according to your level of fitness.

While not local to the Front Range, this weekend also hosts the famous Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango, Colorado.  The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is one of the oldest cycling events in the country (since 1972) and is a multi-event bicycling weekend for cyclists of all levels.  Beautiful 10,000-foot mountain passes on the ride or race to Silverton on Saturday. Wonderful Sunday events in downtown Durango including kid races, the costume ride, road circuit race and mountain bike race. Monday completes the weekend with an individual time trial.
You’ll want to visit their website for more information.

If road riding isn’t your thing, consider making the trip to Gunnison, Colorado for The Original Growler endurance mountain bike race. This popular event usually fills up so fast you generally can’t get in to the event. Fortunately, this year’s Sunday’s Full – Growler and Half Growler are still open for registration.  Keep in mind, the course takes place in rugged, isolated backcountry terrain. That means, check your bike for the right bike parts, have your hydration pack full, bring your nutritional items, and have all your necessary cycling apparel on hand.  Why? Because the event is remote, organizers responding to mechanicals or an injured rider could be time consuming and difficult on this course.  Plan accordingly.

Finally, maybe traveling this weekend isn’t your thing.  No worries – we’ve got you covered!  Check out Our Guide to The Best Bike Trails in Golden, Colorado to create an adventurous day of trail riding.  Or spend some time preparing for the upcoming season.  Consider performing bike maintenance, schedule a bike fit, or shop for new cycling apparel. We bet Our New POC Cycling Gear Makes You a Better Rider.

Whichever rides or races you opt to do, Happy Memorial Day weekend to you!