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!  

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Mental Skill Drills to Bring Your A Game to the Spring Cycling Season

April 23, 2015
John Luif of BikeParts.com racing in Winter Park

John Luif racing in Winter Park

When we catch ourselves visualizing or fantasying about racing, winning or accomplishing something big in our race dreams, rarely do we visualize ourselves falling apart.  On the contrary, we view the victory as coming rather easily.  Even if the scene involves us digging to the depths of our inner being to pull something out of nothing, that agonizing pull from our inner selves is viewed in fantasy world as masterfully manifested.  In real life, we all know it doesn’t actually work like that.  Many of us can suffer but there are breaking points and limitations to the line we cross.  The mechanism that enables us to reach deeper within ourselves is 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.”

The Spring Racing Season in Colorado is here! With upcoming events like the Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial Series, Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, and Fruita Fat Tire Festival, road and mountain bike racers are ready to ride.  But, don’t think that just showing up on the line is enough.  Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season.  Following are 4 mental skill drills to bring your a game to the spring cycling season.

Set Goals – For some, early season races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time.  However, having defined goals can help reduce pre race anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race.  Identify what you want to accomplish with this event whether it be a targeted heart rate or power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course.  Bio feedback is important in early season races.  Why?  Think about it.  We’ve all had those moments when we swear we’re cranking it out on the bike, giving it all we’ve got, leaving it all on the table –  and then – we finish the ride and think, I’ve got more in the tank! I didn’t leave it all out there!  So, how can you tell that you’re working hard enough?   Use cycling accessories that are available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors.  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.

Set Your Nutrition – As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition.  Many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel – whether that nutrition is in bars, gels, and liquids. However, oftentimes, the 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.  Furthermore, as the post suggest, “having all of these different (nutrition) options can tend to create confusion and challenges for athletes as to which is ideal and which is best for them. In addition, selecting the right type of fuel depends on many factors such as duration, intensity and what type of activities such as cycling, running or multi sport.” The end result: experimentation during training and early season races will aid in dialing in proper race day nutrition for your “A” races and events.

Get 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.  Balancing work, family responsibilities, training and racing is a key component to being mentally and physically ready to tackle the demands of early season races.  As you transition from winter training to spring racing, your mental and physical demands will change.  You need to have a transition plan in place to find balance in your life as the cycling season demands more and more of your time.

Get Your Bike Race Ready – It’s obvious, but often overlooked with the excitement of a race – but that is getting your bike ready to race. 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.  Handlebarsstems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. Make sure all is well before embarking on longer rides and races 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

With a little preparation and planning, bringing your A Game to you early season racing 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!


5 Race Day Strategies for Spring Races in Colorado

April 11, 2013

11895116_879913045419413_8627429630943288070_oThe Spring Racing Season in Colorado is here! With upcoming events like the Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial SeriesFront Range Cycling ClassicRidgeline Rampage, and Fruita Fat Tire Festival, road and mountain bike racers are ready to ride.  But, don’t think that just showing up on the line is enough.  Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season.  Following are 5 strategies successfully used by our Bike Parts Race Team. 

Set Goals – For some, early season races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time.  However, having defined goals can help reduce pre race anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race.  Identify what you want to accomplish with this event whether it be a targeted Heart Rate or Power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course.

Race Route – Know the course and the conditions.  Spring weather can alter race course conditions considerably.  Take into consideration the bike parts you’ll be racing and confirm you have the bike components and gear needed to successfully race the course.  For mountain bike components – consider tire selection carefully when riding wet and muddy trails.

Race Day Rituals – 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. This way, you won’t be forgetting anything as you prepare for your start.  Maybe visualization, mantras, and breathing exercises are your thing.  Regardless, early season races offer a chance to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for the season going forward.

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

Success Parameters – 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?  Would a different wheel set make a difference?  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.

Do you have any race strategies you’d like to share?  Post them here or stop by the Peak Cycles Bike Shop in Golden, Colorado!  We’d love to hear them!


Go Big or Go Home: The EPIC Bike for an Epic Adventure

March 14, 2013

2013 Specialized EpicPowering your fitness goals matter. Motivation doesn’t happen by accident.  Sure, warmer temps and the calling of seasonal races beckon us, but it is going for BIG that really gets the blood flowing.  How BIG are you thinking this cycling season?  “If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.” There is magic in thinking big: it moves us past limitations, sparks expansion, and delivers on new results. As cyclist, most are gunning for improvement so thinking BIG can serve us well.

How do you think big?  At BikeParts.com we think of BIG in terms of bikes, bike parts, and epic rides.  One of our favorite bikes, the Specialized EPIC, sets the standard for thinking BIG.  It’s a powerhouse and because it’s a bona fide winner, you ride like a champ whether you are one or not.

Here is why you want it:  A three-time XC World Championship winner, the EPIC was the first full-suspension XC bike to capture the coveted Rainbow Jersey. Available in both carbon fiber and alloy models, the Epic features Specialize’s proven 29er geometry, 100mm of FSR suspension, and is equipped with the unique Brain suspension which reads the terrain to provide the perfect ride—whether sprinting uphill or descending at speed on rocky trails.  It offers unrivaled control, speed, and efficiency.  We find one of its best features to be an all carbon wheelset.  And….it’s hot!

Here is where you want to ride it:  Epic rides are the ones that push the limits.  They take a monumental effort to complete.

So think about it.  Do your goals thrill you? Or scare you? Or both?  What will it take for you to step up your game?  Thinking big challenges your confidence and abilities to make your goals come true. Stop by Peak Cycles bike shop or visit us online at BikeParts.com to get the mtb parts you need to set up your 2013 cycling season to be BIG.


Train the Brain: The Power of Mental Suffering

January 24, 2013

When we catch ourselves visualizing or fantasying about racing, winning or accomplishing something big in our race dreams, rarely do we visualize ourselves falling apart.  On the contrary, we view the victory as coming rather easily.  Even if the scene involves us digging to the depths of our inner being to pull something out of nothing, that agonizing pull from our inner selves is viewed in fantasy world as masterfully manifested.

In real life, we all know it doesn’t actually work like that.  Many of us can suffer but there are breaking points and limitations to the line we cross. And while we aspire to be our better selves and pull out the magic in a moment of victory, the magic won’t be there if we don’t train it to be there.  Sure, we know how to train the body for suffering on the bike.  But the real master to train is the brain.

How are you training your brain?  Daily workouts offer opportunities to dig deeper.  Extended minutes at threshold heart rate or within specific power zones offer challenges.  Conquering a hill climb or masterfully navigating technical sections on the mountain bike  build confidence.  While these rides garner motivation to go beyond our limits, bigger challenges garner insights to training your brain for mental suffering.  Take these early season races and rides as an example.

Compare your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it” when considering a race like the Triple Bypass  or the Copper Triangle versus a training ride with a group of spirited athletes.  The level of digging deep and mental suffering for a race exceeds that of a fast paced training ride.

Bigger challenges help to prepare for the mental suffering athletes are bound to encounter during the season.  They also help build mental fitness and confidence.  On the other hand, it is true, some athletes and recreational enthusiast focus on the bike itself.  As in, “Is it light enough?”   “Does it have the latest and greatest bike parts?”  Granted, having the right bike components and bike accessories makes a difference but to perform your best, you have to train your brain.