Tips to Conquering Colorado’s Climbs 

June 7, 2018
BikeParts.com Team Rider Getting Ready to Climb

BikeParts.com Team Rider Getting Ready to Climb

Colorado has some of the best road bike and mountain bike hill climbs. Additionally, there are countless rides and events like Ride the Rockies, Leadville100, and the Colorado Summit Cycling Series that challenge riders to either push on or blow up.  No doubt the suffering imposed by climbing may cause us cyclist to fret, but the the post, Why You Should Love Climbing, suggests otherwise.  

“Hills also make you happier. Longer, sustained efforts trigger the release of mood-lifting chemicals like endorphins and cannabinoids, which, as the name suggests, are in the same family of chemicals that give pot smokers their high, kick in. Research also shows that regular efforts in the lactate threshold range, which incidentally is where you climb, may help ward off mood disorders like depression. Additionally, research also shows all that the fresh air, sunshine, solitude, and sweeping vistas that you soak in as you make your way up and over hills and mountains provide their own unique benefits.” 

With that motivation, how can we learn to love climbing?  

Ride Hill Repeats
Hill repeats are a foundation of any good training plan.  Basically, the plan is to riding up the hill as hard as you can, recovering on the way back down and then doing it again. A good heart rate monitor and power meter can aid in bio feedback and motivation and help you to judge your effort better.  However – remember that whilst power numbers respond immediately to increased effort, heart rate takes time to accumulate – so expect it to take a few minutes for your heart rate to reach your target zone.

Decide to Sit or Stand
To sit or stand while climbing – that is the question.  Actually, it depends on rider preference; however, we’ve found lighter riders prefer to stand while heavier riders prefer to sit.  Regardless, you may want to train doing both. Opt to sit on one climb or hill repeat, then stand on the next. Testing the limits of your ability to climb in both positions will make you a stronger all-around climber.

Focus on Your Breath
Obviously while climbing, you are excepting more effort. That requires more oxygen.  So, a simple way to to maximizing your oxygen uptake is learning to take deep breaths.  Avoid shallow ones and breathe to your belly. This may require you to straighten up to allow your belly and ribs to actually expand.  Given your bike fit, you may or may not need to adjust bike parts so be mindful of your body position when climbing so that you can inhale for optimum oxygen intake.

Gear Adjustment
Gears can be a complicated thing. In fact, many people buy a road bike or mountain bike and never modify their gears.  Yet, depending on the climbs you are doing and your aspirations, you may consider swapping the cassette or chainset.  If you’re struggling to turn the pedals on the climbs, changing your gear set up – going for a smaller chainset and wider ratio cassette – will help as you’ll be able to spin more quickly.

Relax
A deathtrap on the handlebars, swinging your body around, and tense muscles make climbing much more difficult.  Also, it’s a waste of precious energy!  Just relax! Find your rhythm and get into a groove that you can sustain.

Pick one or all of these tips and try them out.  Give yourself some time to evaluate your progress.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, our bet is after a few weeks of one or all of using these tips, you’re climbing performance will increase.  Whether or not you actually fall in love with climbing is another matter – but at least you will be better at it! 

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How to Dial in Your Race Day Nutrition Needs

April 24, 2014

Preparing for the upcoming Gran Fondo Moab, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Weekend, Ride the Rockies, Triple Bypass or Colorado’s Endurance Mountain bike series, takes methodical planning in terms of training, recovery, appropriate bike parts selection.  Yet, just as important as daily training is to get you to the start line, every day nutrition plays a critical role too.  The season is just beginning are you race ready?  Here’s what you need to know to dial in your daily, weekly, and race day nutrition for optimal performance.

You get a glimpse of the importance of monthly nutritional preparation in the post, Race Day Nutrition for Cyclist.  Overall it is a guide for monthly, weekly, and race week nutrition preparation with a focus on how viewing nutrition in terms of how it can support your physical training cycles rather than just eating for pleasure.  As many cyclist are already lining up on the start line, preparing nutritionally for weeks in advance isn’t an option.

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 is in nutrition 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, choosing the right type of fuel depends on many factors such as duration, intensity and what type of activities such as cycling, running or multisport.” 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.

But what happens when you have stomach issues while racing?  How do you know what the cause is and what to do about it? As noted in, Stomach Issues while racing – Possible causes and solutions, poor pacing can easily lead to stomach issues, ingesting too many carbohydrates and or too much protein can be another possible cause for stomach issues, as well as too many surges within a long duration race can lead to a shutdown or at the least a slowdown of digestive ability.  Ultimately, it’s about utilizing the early season races to dial in your nutrition.  Preparing well and listening to your body is the key to preventing stomach issues during competition.

Next up?  Dial in your race day strategies!  Remember to set your goals, recon the route or course, practice race day rituals, and define your success parameters.


2013 Colorado Road Racing Calendar: Which Ones Will You Do?

March 21, 2013

For some, the Colorado road racing season has already started; however, for many, it is just around the corner and many athletes may be pondering which tours and races to plan for in 2013. Whenever you want to achieve something, you have to have a definite goal.  As such, it’s important to plan your season right.   Whether you are a casual rider or a competitive cyclist, training, racing, recovering and having the appropriate gear, tools, and bike setup  are critical to reaching your goals.

For starters, what are you’re 2013 cycling goals?  As mentioned in our recent blog post,  it’s important to make your goals SMART.  As in, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.   With that being said, Colorado offers world class riding and racing.  Now that you are thinking about what your goals are, you need to pick the right events during the cycling season to help you best achieve those goals.

Notably, not all events are equal.  Some are harder than others and as such, competitive cyclist can use different course profiles, distances, and bike part options to mindfully select A, B, and C type races according to their training plans and race goals.  When you’re working toward a goal that’s important to you, the last thing you want is to face an obstacle or unexpected challenge.  A successful season starts off right by planning ahead, getting your road bike in order and getting the gear and resources you need.  By selecting the best races based on your specific goals and having the best bike parts associated with your riding style, you are successfully preparing for a rewarding 2013 cycling season.

Now, which races will you do?  While there are many tours, races, and events to choose from in Colorado, at BikeParts.com, here are some of our favorites:

  • Rocky Mountain Road Cup (RMRC)  Road racing events range from March through August.  The Rocky Mountain Road Cup is a season long points competition featuring a three-tiered points system that provides competitive cyclist with a great racing calendar.  Click here for a downloadable calendar of these events   
  • The Koppenberg  May 5, 2013  The Koppenberg race featuring a 17% grade climb is the queen of the spring time cycling events in Colorado.
  • Elephant Rock Cycling Festival: May 31–June 2, 2013  This year’s Elephant Rock Cycling Festival notes the 26th annual pilgrimage to Castle Rock for the Rocky Mountain region’s premier cycling festival.  Riders of all ages turn out for this event.
  • Ride the Rockies  June 8 – 15, 2013  The 28th annual tour will feature 3 scenic mountain passes, a trek over the highest suspension bridge in the U.S. and 20,400 vertical ft. over 7 days and 513 miles.
  • Coldwell Banker Denver Century Ride  June 15, 2013  The Denver Century Ride features bicycle courses for all skills levels and benefits BikeDenver. This healthy lifestyle cycling event is Colorado’s premier urban bicycle ride and is open to the public.
  • Mount Evans Hill Climb:  July 2013  Race up 7,000 feet in elevation in just 28 miles on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.
  • Triple Bypass July 13 – 14, 2013  A two day ride from Evergreen to Avon.
  • Copper Triangle  August 3, 2013  The Copper Triangle is a 78-Mile course with an elevation gain of almost 6,000 feet over three mountain passes.  It has has long been considered one of Colorado’s classic alpine road rides Graced with breathtaking scenery, gorgeous roads and three challenging climbs.

Not sure which event is for you?  Stop by the Peak Cycling Bike Shop for help or visit us at bike parts.com for maps, information, or general bike components that you may need for your next big event.


4 Pre Season Game Changers for Your Best Season Ever

January 17, 2013

Faster! Better! Stronger!

Spring is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about key races to do well at and secondary races to use for training and motivation. Lower priority races are commonly used earlier in the season, but these races can also be used throughout the year for training and more.   Which races are you considering for 2013? Some of our favorite Colorado races include:

All races provide experience, training benefits, and as a stage to assess your  form. So, targeting a handful of races throughout the year to use as a learning experience, in addition to training, is a good idea.  But to properly prepare for the cycling season, athletes need to roll out their pre season training plan to reach their full capacity. Do you want to get faster in 2013? Here’s how!

  1. Build Your Base – Base training is fundamental to any cyclist’s training plan. Base training improves cardiovascular systems and helps you become a more efficient rider.  When we say base miles, we’re talking steady mileage of low-intensity rides with low-heart-rate.  We’re also talking about having the right base clothing  to keep you out for longer rides in cooler temps.
  2. Build Your Core – Recent studies indicate that cycling mechanics are affected by core stability. Core exercises can be done at home on a yoga mat or at a gym.  Certain types of yoga offer good core training as well.  Regardless of where or how you do it, building core workouts into your pre season training will provide lasting benefits well into the season.
  3. Build Balance – A balanced pre season program should contain resistance training (core) as well as time for other cross training aerobic sports such as swimming or x-country skiing.  Along with it’s cardiovascular benefits, cross training helps maintain balance skills, muscle strength, hand to eye coordination, and improved range of motion.
  4. Build Your Bike – Last but not least, get your bike in order.  If you are thinking about purchasing a new bike, now is the time.  2013 models are rolling out for both road bikes and mountain bikes.  If a new bike isn’t in your future, figure out which bike components need replacing and get your order in before everybody else.

Pre season planning and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.


4 Ways to Pedal the Winter Blues Away

January 10, 2013

For those who think they don’t have time to get into shape and start moving, now is the time to take action.  The 2013 ride and race season planning in Colorado is well underway.  Sure, the motivation to train in the winter months can be taxing.  Staleness or burnout from the previous season may linger, or maybe just the colder temps and shorter days weaken our resolve to get on the bike.  Yet, there are ways to combat the winter blues.  Here’s how!

1. Support Structure
Create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your training time.  Do you train better with a partner?  Then, enlist the help of your family and friends.  Is your bike riding properly?  Check out your bike components, determine which bike parts you need, and get your bike in proper riding condition.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable.

2. Atmosphere
Does it matter where you ride?  Winter months create weather and lighting challenges.  Yet, there are definite options.  Inside riding on a trainer or rollers  can offer consistent pedal time and the ability to focus on heart rate and power easier than riding outside.  If you enjoy listening to music, don’t just play the hard stuff.  Consider modulating your listening to slower and medium tempo tunes that simulate heart rate goals and tempo riding.  Also, visual cues offer stimulation. A well lit room can create inviting energy and a unique atmosphere to train in.

3. Visual Effects
Sometimes seeing is believing!  Pop in a DVD training video or select a few YouTube clips to get your mind in the game.  Posters, a vision board, books, maps , or pictures of upcoming races can trigger your motivation to not only get on the bike, but maybe even dig a little deeper than you would have otherwise.

4. Competition Sparks Motivation
One way to stay motivated during longs stretches of training with little competition is to set small training goals. Working to achieve small training goals will make every training session meaningful. It will also provide small successes offering a sense of accomplishment while training for future competitions.  In fact, have you scheduled your 2013 races yet?  Here are a few worth checking out:

An essential element to being a successful athlete is staying motivated throughout the year.  Remember, cycling is supposed to be fun.  Set small goals, create a supportive structure and atmosphere for your training environment, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do in 2013!


New Goals, New Bikes, New Rides

January 3, 2013

Colorado Cycling

The holidays have passed, the New Year has come and gone, and now, the 2013 Ride and Race Season planning is underway.  Whenever you want to achieve something, you have to have a definite goal.  As such, it’s important to plan your season right.   Whether you are a casual rider or a competitive cyclist, training, racing, recovering and having the appropriate gear, tools, bike setup to reach your goals is critical.

For starters, what are you’re 2013 cycling goals?  As mentioned in our recent blog post,  it’s important to make your goals SMART.  As in, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.   With that being said, Colorado offers world class riding and racing.  A few of our top race and ride recommendations include:

How do you plan to train?  Riding in cooler temps and shorter days tugs at motivation.  However, having a few rides and races on your radar can help you maintain determination.  Remember, buddying up, eating well, or even joining us for our local shop ride in Golden, Colorado can help build training momentum.

Is your bike ready?  Our post, Winterizing Your Bike: What’s In Your Tool Kit? offers some great tips for bike maintenance during winter riding.  But is your bike set for the 2013 season?  Do you need a new bike or maybe even need to replace old bike parts?  Sometimes getting a bike fit can help better position you for a season of successful riding.

When you’re working toward a goal that’s important to you, the last thing you want is to face an obstacle or unexpected challenge.  Set up your 2013 right by planning ahead, getting your road bike or mountain bike in order, and getting the gear and resources you need.  With the right mental attitude and the best bike parts, your successful training and race prep is well underway.