12 Reasons Why You Want to Race Cross This Season

September 22, 2016

Cyclocross at BikeParts.comCross season begins in the early fall and runs through the end of December. You know, the time of year that those of us who live in places that get real, bona fide winters want to hang up our bikes and hibernate under down blankets. But In Colorado, we don’t do that because it’s cross season and cross is worth going out in the cold for.  Fortunately, the cooler temps and bad weather has escaped us so far; however soon on the horizon, cyclocross racers will be greeted with mud, cold, and nastier racing conditions.  Makes for more fun, right?  Absolutely! 

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.  

  1. Cyclocross promotes silky smooth pedaling 
  2. Cyclocross develops your strength and power 
  3. Cyclocross improves your bike handling skills 
  4. Cyclocross teaches you race techniques
  5. Cyclocross reduces off-season weight gain 
  6. Cyclocross toughens you up to fair better in inclement riding conditions
  7. Cyclocross improves seasonal motivation 
  8. Cyclocross offers a full body workout
  9. Cyclocross maintains current fitness and can improve fitness 
  10. Cyclocross offers a mental break from your current cycling regimen and training focus
  11. Cyclocross provides high intensity training 
  12. Cyclocross means getting to purchase a new cyclocross bike, cyclocross tires, and an assortment of new bike parts

A final reason to race cyclocross is because it is exhilarating FUN! Whether you are a veteran of cyclocross or a newbie, check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  Dial in the best bike parts and cycling accessories.  Get help with your bike fit and setup and be sure to have all the right cycling apparel you need for a successful cyclocross season.  

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Cyclocross In Colorado Kicking Off the Fall Season

September 1, 2016
SOMA DOUBLE CROSS DISC / BIKEPARTS.COM

SOMA DOUBLE CROSS DISC / BIKEPARTS.COM

While the cross country mountain bike  and road bike race seasons may be winding down, the cyclocross race season is just starting.  After finishing a full cycling season, you might wonder – why continue racing?

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.  When you think of it, the fall season is a great time for experimentation.  It can be a great opportunity to get test out new bike parts or even a new cyclocross bike.  

If you are new to cyclocross, check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  Equipment choices matter! Dial in the best bike parts and and tire choice.  While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts matters, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure.  

So, as the cyclocross season approaches, what do you need to know?  A lot! Whether you’re a seasoned cyclocross racer or a newbie, now is the time to dial in your bike parts and 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 races and cyclocross training week

Join in the cyclocross fun!  Following are races along the Front Range for September: 

Cyclocross is a sport meant to be fun, otherwise, there wouldn’t be beer handoffs, money pits, crowds heckling the pros, or pros heckling the crowd. Unless you’re aiming for World Cup titles, there’s no reason to take this sport too seriously. Train, race hard, but above all, remember that it’s supposed to be fun…and don’t forget your cowbell! 


Holiday Blessings: Remembering the Season with Gratitude

December 24, 2015
Happy Holidays from BikeParts.com

Happy Holidays from BikeParts.com

Cycling seasons come and go. There is the big training ramp up in the spring for summer riding and racing followed by fun and challenging cyclocross racing and fall riding.

And, there’s the lull in training and intensity during the winter months accompanied by trainer rides and possibly, a few, fun fat bike rides in the snow.  Yet, through all the seasons runs a thread of passion and love for the sport that unites all the seasons in a unified, blissful experience.  An experience of health, fitness, adventure, camaraderie, and personal victories.  Riding a bike offers freedom and adventure unparalleled by other experiences.  Whether it’s seeing wildlife up close from your mountain bike on a remote bike trail; or, claiming a new personal best while riding your road bike on a long ride or race – the cycling journey never gets old.

Here at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we feel that the true Christmas spirit of cycling is the love of the bike.  It’s the adventure cycling brings – the challenge of a new ride, the experimentation with new or different bike parts, the joy of connecting with friends in meaningful ways, and the building of camaraderie with teammates.  It’s about inspiration.  Riding and training towards goals that call us to be our best selves and enlist the support of family and friends that unites in powerful connections.  At its essence, the true spirit of cycling is really about passion, joy, exhilaration, excitement, camaraderie, enthusiasm, and gratitude.  These are all the very blessings we wish for you and your family this Christmas day.  Merry Christmas from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and BikeParts.com!

Riding in the Snow – 5 Ways to Make it Work for You

December 17, 2015
BikeParts.com Rider Enjoying Winter Cycling
The snow is here! And lots of it!  Many cyclist wonder, can I ride in the snow?  And the answer: of course you can!
The important thing to remember about riding in the snow isn’t whether it’s possible—everything is possible.  It’s simply a matter of being smart about riding in uncertain weather conditions. Here’s how to make snow riding work for you.
  1. The more tread on your tires, the better. You can ride in snow on slicks, but we wouldn’t recommend it.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a large selection of tires for road bikes, mountain bikes, and cyclocross bikes.  Stop in and pick up a new set of tires just for your winter cycling adventures.  Speaking of tires, let some air out of your them, whatever sort they are. Ride them soft: you’ll get more grip.
  1. Focus on a relaxed and responsive riding position.  Sure, it’s natural to tense up with icy or snowy conditions, but if you focus on relaxing your hands and arms, while keeping your weight back on the bike, you may find it easier to steer the bike from your hips and less from your upper body. This makes directional changes smoother and easier with your whole mass on the bike, rather than by sudden sharp steering inputs at the handlebars.
  1. Don’t be a speed demon! Slow down and enjoy the views! Celebrate the adventure of riding in different weather conditions.  A good rule of thumb to remember is to keep your bike in good working order, maintain care of your bike parts and don’t be too ambitious about your speed.  All this allows you to truly enjoy the experience.
  1. Go fat! Fat bike that is!  Fat bikes are wonderful for riding in the snow.  Many fat bike models today are similar to “normal” mountain bikes, which have slacker head tube angles, lower stand-over heights, thru axles, and tapered head tubes. The main difference is the tires. The wider tires have more traction in both dirt and snow. They climb better than almost any mountain bike. If you’re new to fat bikes, you may enjoy reading about some Top Fat Bike FAQ’s or Why Go Fat. Or, stop by the shop and demo a fat bike!
  1. Dress for the occasion.  Because it’s cold out, it is tempting to overdress.  Avoid that temptation! Depending on the type of ride, the duration of your ride, and the elements, your cycling apparel options make the difference between a suffer fest or a great ride. Take an inventory of your cycling clothing and ask yourself, what clothing do you need to wear in different weather conditions?  Do you have waterproof and wind resistant clothing? Do you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scull cap? What about your base layers?  Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing?  Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs! In fact, we’ve got quite a lot of new cycling clothing in store right now!  Or, check out our How to Dress for Winter Cycling –Video for ideas dressing warmly for your winter rides.
Your experience will correlate directly to your level of preparation.  It’s true, winter riding requires more diligence and commitment; but the flip side is a sense of wonder and adventure that accompanies the wintertime cycling scene.

Cyclocross Secrets to Surviving the Mud and Obstacles

October 29, 2015

Cross season begins in the early fall and runs through the end of December. You know, the time of year that those of us who live in places that get real, bona fide winters want to hang up our bikes and hibernate under down blankets. But In Colorado, we don’t do that because it’s cross season and cross is worth going out in the cold for.  Fortunately, the cooler temps and bad weather has escaped us so far; however soon on the horizon, cyclocross racers will be greeted with mud, cold, and nastier racing conditions.  Makes for more fun, right?  Absolutely!  Here are the cross secrets to help you enjoy and be more competitive in the gnarly cyclocross races.

Nastier conditions require optional tire selection
Tire choice is one of the most hotly debated topics in all of cross. The lack of active suspension means that tires are your first line of defense against rooted, bumpy, and rutted terrain. Tires choice will also make all the difference in the mud.  Regardless of whether you’re going to go the tubular or clincher route, many tire manufacturers offer tires for a number of different conditions.  If you’re unsure about which tire is best for your upcoming event, stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and we’ll help you dial it in. Another option, visit BikeParts.com online for a wide variety of cyclocross tire options.  

Mud, grime, and poor conditions require extra wheels
Racing and riding in poor conditions is chaos for your bike!  Broken spokes, muddy bikes, skewers get loose.  Not fun and especially not fun while racing.  If you have a set of wheels in the pit, you can make a change and be underway pretty quickly. Granted, not as quickly as grabbing a whole new bike but here are just three reasons why wheels are better than another bike:

1) You can have a set of super fast race wheels and a cheaper training set 

2) You can have sets of wheels with different tread choices tailored to different conditions

3) If you tweak a rim you have backups on hand

Not convinced on the wheels? Forget the wheels and build a pit bike
There are other ways to mess up your bike; as in, ripping off your derailleur hanger. Or even worse, dragging the derailleur into the spokes in the process.  One option is to replace bike parts as needed – or at least have backup bike parts on hand.  The other option is to build a backup bike. This pit bike can be one you purchased used or put together from the parts bin that roughly approximates the setup of the race bike and is a compromise in many respects. 

Now that you have the secrets to racing cross in the winter conditions, put your skills to use! Get your cowbell ready and plan your winter cyclocross racing season.  See you at the races!


Boost Your Cycling Performance with Fall Riding – And Why it Matters!

September 24, 2015

Fall Cycling at BikeParts.com

While we welcome cooler temps and colorful foliage that fall cycling offers, the shorter days and fatigue of the cycling season can beckon cyclist to cut their rides short – or skip them all together.  Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesn’t seem like much but it does.  According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result.  As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines.  And, inevitable wait gain surfaces.  Not fun!

Fall is actually the best time to transition from peak cycling form to a relaxed one.  Doing so doesn’t include missing rides.  It means shifting your mindset to embrace fall cycling while actually boosting your cycling performance for next year.  

The article, Fix Your Flaws in Fall, suggests “if you’re looking to take a big step forward in your racing performance for next season, you can’t wait until next season to start the process.”  With that being said, what are the best ways to boost your fall training regimen?  

As we’ve share in recent post,  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.  The post,  The Top 5 Fitness Benefits of Racing Cyclocross, reinforces this stating, cyclocross racing increases power at V02 Max, reduces off season weight gain, and toughens you up!  

If you don’t want to toughen up, then opt for an easier approach.  Add bike commuting to your fall regimen.   While it is not as strenuous as cyclocross racing, it is a chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and reinvigorate your spirits with the freedom riding a bike inspires.  This is most helpful if you are mentally burned out from the season and need to rejuvenate your cycling spirit for the next season.  To truly enjoy fall bike commuting, at Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we recommend getting a tune-up.  Who knows what your bike has experienced during the season and to make bike commuting truly enjoyable – your bike needs to be reliable.  We recommend having a set of reliable lights and wearing the right bike clothing. Frequently we’re asked what are the essential cycling apparel to have on hand for fall bike commuting.  Here’s a great list of bike parts and cycling apparel to have on available.   Remember, bike commuting is different than training; as such, your needs may vary regarding nutritional requirements, bike parts that are needed, as well as, clothing options.  

The Fall season is a great time for experimentation.  Ride new routes! Explore different trials before Winter weather arrives!  The Fall season can be a great opportunity to get test out new bike parts.  During the racing and cycling season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the Fall, there’s more time for mental wanderings and fun! Check out our daily closeouts and overstock items to spark renewed interest in your cycling program.  


Drinking During a Cyclocross Race?  It’s Not What You Think!

September 17, 2015

Did you hear that?  That was a cowbell ringing!  Because somewhere in the world, there’s a cyclocross race going on!  As customary to the cyclocross culture, there’s lively banter, cheering, cowbell ringing, and festivities accompanying a cyclocross race.  As many who participate in either cyclocross racing, heckling (or both)  know, the cyclocross culture is rich with enthusiasm.  It’s a crazy fun cycling discipline inspiring cyclist to an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leaves athletes sucking wind, barely able to see straight…and desperately seeking fluids!  

Traditionally, drinking fluids during a cyclocross race was an unheard of activity.  This was partially due to mounting/ dismounting the bike to jump over obstacles as well as shouldering the bike for run ups; however, this was also related to the UCI rules and regulations for professional athletes.  However, just recently, the UCI has clarified their stand.

“Riders may carry fluids on their bicycles and install bottles on their spare bicycles in the pit area. Hands-free water carrying systems such as backpacks are permitted, and riders may also carry water bottles in their jersey pockets. However, it is forbidden to receive a bottle from anybody along the course. Extra fluids can only be obtained during the race when a rider takes a spare bicycle, already equipped with a bottle, from the pit area.”

So yes, that means you can drink during cyclocross races.  While you might think of it an an opportunity to consume adult beverages, we’re actually talking about water and other nutritional products.  Because racers can now drink while racing cyclocross, what are the best options: bottles or a hydration pack?  Your choice may come down to individual preference but there are several factors to consider.  Weather conditions play a factor as well as course considerations.   If the course is slick with mud and minimal safe passing zones, then bottles may be undesirable. The same applies for tricky descents in which a bump tosses the bottle right out of its cage.  Then again, if the course dictates multiple run ups requiring shoulder mounts, then having a backpack may be limiting.  At a minimum, it’s important to have water bottles and containers available pre-race that can be tossed aside before the start. Equally important is having bottles and nutritional support available immediately post race for adequate refueling and recovery

Regardless of how you take in your fluids, hydration is important.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re all about supporting good cycling habits – whether that is proper hydration, having a bike that fits, access to the right bike parts, or availability to the best cycling accessories for you. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, cyclocross has something to offer everybody and so do we.  Check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  

Wait! Did you hear that?  There’s that cowbell again!