Cycling Success: A Guide to Launch Your 2018 Spring Cycling Season

March 8, 2018 Team Rider Racing

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 provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form. Because of that, targeting a handful of high and low priority races and events throughout the year can be useful as learning experiences and opportunities to dial in nutritional needs and race strategies. The question for many is, where to start?

Begin by committing to an event! This March and April, there are many tours, races, and events to choose from in Colorado. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, following are some of our upcoming favorite March and early April cycling events.

– Leadville Winter Bike Series 50k
– Pedaling for St. Pats
– Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy
– Great Divide Grinder
– Louisville Criterium
– Buff Gold Road Race
– Oredigger Classic – Chad Young Memorial TT

Now, using your chosen event, set some goals. For some, early season races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time. However, having defined goals can help reduce prerace anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race. So, begin by identifying 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 and use that to benchmark your success.

Next, evaluate the race route. Specifically, get to 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.

Keep in mind, last racing season was some time ago. Your race day preparations might be stale so begin to prepare some race day rituals that you can use and build upon throughout the 2018 season. Give it some thought: 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 bicycle 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.

Remember to include in your race day rituals how you want to start the race! It seems simple enough to show up on the line and be ready for the gun to go off, but your start line mental state makes a difference – especially in early season races when nerves are running high. Your thoughts, emotions, and prerace 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. This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. Stay true to your goals – not others.

Finally, 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 mechanical issues? Now is the time to dial in, replace, and buy the bike parts that you need going into your next event.

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, planning your early season events can lay a foundation for confidence and physical fitness in which to build upon for the cycling season. Enjoy the March cycling events in Colorado and use them to catapult you into a great 2018 cycling season.


Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing

March 23, 2017

Race Day Checklist from

The Spring Racing Season in Colorado is nearly here! With upcoming events like the Louisville Criterium, Ridgeline Rampage, and The Koppenberg, 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 is the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop comprehensive checklist to showing up to the start line fully prepared. 

Bike Prep
While it may seem obvious, give your race bike a once over.   Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  As an example, your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Consider replacing worn bike parts and purchasing new cycling accessories you plan to use for your A races later in the season.  This gives you a chance to dial in your needs early season and optimize performance in later events. 

Gear Prep
It will take time to nail down the packing system that works best for you. And, there are lots of individual preferences.  However, we’ve compiled a checklist for you. For starters, plan to use a gear bag that opens up wide and allows you to see everything within quickly. Fill it up with these items.

The basics

  • bike
  • helmet
  • shoes
  • socks
  • racing license
  • membership card
  • timing chip
  • road id
  • driver’s license
  • sunglasses 
  • team kit 
  • chamois cream
  • water bottles
  • food (gels, breakfast, coffee, whatever)
  • a bike pump
  • a spare tube

Things that will make you more comfortable, but they aren’t deal breakers:

  • extra safety pins
  • extra zip ties
  • sunscreen/lip balm
  • extra water/recovery drink for after the race or the ride home (in a cooler if it’s hot)
  • extra dry clothes to change into (if it’s cold, pack a LOT of extra clothes, hat and gloves, etc.)
  • extra food for after (especially for long races or races with a long drive home)
  • baby wipes to wipe away the grime; sunscreen, dirt, grit, sweat, pelts of road kill, etc.
  • towel (to clean up with or to lay on your car seat for the filthy ride home)
  • blanket to stretch on
  • music and headphones to block out pre-race jitters 

Race Route Prep
Know the course and the conditions.  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. Familiarity with the race course and weather conditions aids in having confidence to tackle anything that comes at you during your big event. 

Mental Prep
How are you prepping mentally? What are your thoughts and strategies going into early season races?   Get Your Mental Game On!  Check in with your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it.” Develop your mental strategy to overcome pre race jitters, as well as, when race challenges come your way. Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year. 

Bike Nutrition Prep
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.   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.

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, early season races can be tough. However,  now that you have your gear bag ready and a handy checklist, you’re ready for a great 2017 cycling season.  

Are You Race Ready?

March 20, 2014

Peak Cycles Race TeamThe Spring Racing Season in Colorado is nearly here! With upcoming events like the Louisville Criterium, Front Range Cycling ClassicRidgeline Rampage, and The Koppenberg, 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.

Previously, we shared in our Peak Cycles blog post 5 race day strategies to prepare for the Spring races in Colorado highlighting the importance of setting goals, knowing the race route, establishing race day rituals and getting into the proper mental state for racing.

Yet, with road and mountain bike races beginning as early as next month, you need to dial YOU in to your race schedule.  Are YOU 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.

  • Consider making note of conflicting interests.  See what is incongruent with your schedule, your work or family life and commit to sorting things out in a harmonious way.
  • Communicate your needs and expectations to others.  And, on the flip side, let them know what they can expect from you.
  • Plan ahead. Be proactive.  Set specific times for work, family and the bike.
  • Give something back.  If your family supports you in your training and racing, show how much you appreciate it. Combine races with a family outing and maybe promise to take a couple of months off the bike at the end of the season.

You may or may not be at the front of the pack in your early Spring races, but you can definitely show up at the line in good form, race ready, and prepared for a healthy and strong 2014 cycling season.