5 Tips for Cycling in Hot August Weather 

August 3, 2017

Team Rider at BikeParts.com Riding in Moab

Here in Colorado, we’re now into super warm 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.

Think about it. Heat is the ultimate enemy for a cyclist, because after a point, the hotter you get, the slower you’ll go.  If the weather won’t cooperate to be cooler, then what can you do about it? 

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 in hot weather.

Tip#1
If you haven’t exposed yourself to the warmer temps, you should.  One tip is to 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.

Tip #2
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 road 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 hydration pack as well as have extra bottles on hand.

Tip #3
Protect yourself from the sun.  While some enjoy exposure to the sun, a sunburn does more than fry your skin – it contributes to fatigue and increases your metabolism. Always wear sunscreen; choose jerseys, shorts, and arm skins with built-in sun protection; and wear a cap under your helmet to shield your head. 

Tip #4
Plan ahead. Planning your route in advance and knowing where the nearest sources of water can be handy in case you find yourself running low at any point. Also, planning a route with options to shorten the ride or take a shortcut back to your starting point in case you start to struggle is also a good plan.  If possible with your schedule, consider riding during the cooler times of the day.  

Tip#5
Recover. This seems like another overlooked strategy but after a long day in the saddle and the heat, you really do need to cool off. Get your legs up. Stay in the shade or AC. It is important to get your core body temperature down so you can recover. We all know that recovery is a critical element of preparing for the next bout of exercise.  One of our favorite recovery products at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is PhysioPhyx.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine.  In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs +Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive. 

With that said, training and riding in the heat doesn’t have to be so bad.  Wear cooling cycling apparel.  Ride a bike with proper functioning bike parts to avoid over excretion. 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.

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Our Guide to The Best Bike Trails in Golden, Colorado

May 12, 2016
Peak Cycles/Bikeparts.com cyclists enjoy the evening views off Lookout Mountain

Peak Cycles/Bikeparts.com cyclists enjoy the evening views off Lookout Mountain

Are you new in town? Or maybe you are just getting into mountain biking? If you are in the Golden area, you are in for a treat. We have a broad variety of trails that cater to a range of skill and athletic abilities. The mountain views will take your breath away (as well as some of the hills) and we can guarantee you’ll be coming back for more.

All of Golden’s trails can be found on the City of Golden website. For your convenience, however, we thought we would highlight some of our favorite cycling trails.

Chimney Gulch Trail

Skill Level: Moderate – Advanced

Not too far away from downtown Golden, Chimney Gulch is a visitor and local favorite because it ascends the well-known Golden landmark — Lookout Mountain. Chimney Gulch is mostly an uphill climb which winds through the Golden foothills and emerges at the top of Lookout Mountain. At the summit, you can park your bike to enjoy gorgeous mountain and city overlooks or visit the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve. And the way down is all downhill!

Apex Trail

Skill Level: Moderate – Advanced

Similar to (but less popular than) the Chimney Gulch Trail, the Apex Trail winds up and up into Golden’s western foothills. For much of the way, the track is surrounded by pine forests, giving you a feeling that you are far away from the bustle of city life. The Chimney Gulch and Apex trails can actually be connected for an extended ride up one and down the other. If you are combining the trails, you may want to consider stopping at Buffalo Bill’s grave at the top of Lookout Mountain.

North and South Table Mountain

Skill Level: Easy – Moderate

Both North and South Table Mountain (located on the east side of Golden) offer a unique mountain biking experience. The flat-top mesa makes for relatively easy cycling, which gives riders the chance to enjoy the open prairie. Both mesas have multiple access points and extensive trails that weave on top and along the side of the mountains, just out of reach of urban Golden. We find that morning and evening light glancing off the prairies make for an especially special ride on these trails.

White Ranch Trail

Skill Level: Moderate

If you are looking for solitude, this is one of your best bets. On the north end of Golden, the White Ranch Park offers a different type of beauty from the rest of town and encompasses meadows, pine forests, views of buttes, and unique rock formations. It has about 20 miles of trails that wind through both rugged and gentle terrain.

Before taking your mountain bike for a spin, it’s important to be prepared. Having plenty of water, food and nutrition, extra tire tubes, and repair kits, as well as the right tires and maps will ensure you have an enjoyable and stress free experience.

If you need a bike, we have a large selection of rental bikes at our store – Peak Cycles in downtown Golden. Don’t hesitate to stop in to ask questions, take a bike for a spin, or peruse our array of bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.


Green Mountain Trail: Why It’s a Year Long Favorite

February 7, 2013

Green Mountain Open Space near BikeParts.com and Peak Cycles Bike ShopWhether new to the area, a resident, or vacationing in the greater Denver area, recreational and competitive cyclist are always looking for options to get their rides in.  While Colorado is blessed with amazing single track, finding a dry trail during the winter season can be a challenge.

Green Mountain (a.k.a. William F. Hayden Park), a fun, intermediate mountain bike ride about 20 minutes west of Denver and close to the Peak Cycles bike shop in Golden, Colorado is a trail to be ridden year round.  A special perk to this nearly treeless trail is that it can be enjoyed by both novice riders and competitive cyclists.  In general, the trail options are numerous.  Novice riders may forgo the steeper climbs and opt for an easier route while those looking for a challenge have a few hill climbs and intermediate descents to conquer.  The trick to riding the trail well is having the right mindset, bike and gear.

Mindset: Because Green Mountain is less technical than some of the surrounding trails in Golden, some consider it to be boring.  Yet, to others, it can be a great trail to do intervals or even test ride a new bike or dial in new bike components before heading out to a more challenging trail.  For some, Green Mountain offers the mental ease of road riding, but on dirt.  For others, it’s an opportunity to work heart rate and power zones.  Either option works, but having a workout objective when riding Green Mountain trail can spice up the trail to those who consider this trail boring.

Bike: Hardtail or Full Suspension?  The trail is hard packed but it also has loose and bobble head sections.  A full suspension bike, like the Specialized Stump Jumper 29er, might be best for longer or more casual rides; however, opt for a hardtail  like the Specialized Carve Expert 29 for a good workout and speed.  Some ride cyclocross bikes.

Gear: Fortunately, the trail is nearby so it’s not as critical to be as prepared for epic rides.  Do keep in mind, Green Mountain is exposed.  Sunscreen is important.  During the Summer months, thunder and lightening storms can roll in fast. Be prepared with the right gear.  A hydration pack may be your better option during the warmer, summer months but opt for bottles for shorter and faster rides.

What else is great about Green Mountain?  It is awesome for night riding. Of course, be safe – get a good light and be mindful of the evening critters.

Green Mountain may not be the most technical nor scenic trail Golden has to offer, but its accessibility and appeal to a range of cyclist for year round riding makes Green Mountain a keeper.