Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing

March 23, 2017

Race Day Checklist from BikeParts.com

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.  

Advertisements

Spring MTB Racing in Colorado – Events to Plan Your 2015 Cycling Season

March 19, 2015

Peak Cycles Race TeamSpring 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?

Use your 2015 cycling goals as your compass.  We talk more about goals in our blog post, but the basic take away is to make your goals SMART.  As in, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.   With that being said, 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.  One approach is to use different course profiles, distances, and bike part options to mindfully select A, B, and C type races according to your training plans and race goals.  Keep this simple reminder in mind – 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 mountain bike in order, as well as, getting the gear and cycling accessories you need.

Now, which races will you do?  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 events at BikeParts.com.

Goudy Grinder – Wyoming – Sunday, May 31, 2015 – Registration open March 16th

40 in the fork – Fort Collins – Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Registration is open now.  This event is considered “one of the Front Range’s toughest mountain bike races.”

Rocky Mountain Endurance Series – Colorado.  This race series offers the best variety of mountain bike racing in Colorado.  Great for beginners to experienced racers including different distances.  The series begins kicks off in late April with the Ridgeline Rampage.  Visit their site for registration and series information and check out our Sneak Peak to the RME Series.  

MTB radio – endurance calendar.  For those that enjoy epic, longer mountain bike events.  Check out the MTB radio endurance calendar. Following are a few of the fun event on tap through May.

  • April 18 – 6 Hours in Frog Hollow – Hurricane, UT
  • April 23, Fruita Fat Tire Fest – Fruita
  • April 25, Ridgeline Rampage – Castle Rock
  • May 1, 18 Hours of Fruita – Fruita
  • May 9, Desert RATS Classic – Fruita
  • May 9, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde – Cortez
  • May 9, Battle the Bear – Lakewood
  • May 16, Dirty Double Fondo – Salida
  • May 23, The Half Growler – Gunnison
  • May 24, The Origional Growler – Gunnison
  • May 29, Grand Junction Off-Road – Grand Junction
  • May 30, PV Derby, Elbert
  • May 31, The Great Bicycle Carnival for Kids on bikes

Planning your 2015 cycling season is a multi step process: Identify your cycling goals, dial in your bike, and select the events you are enthusiastic in participating.  If you’re left questioning how to roll out your pre season training plan, well then, we’ve got you covered on that too.   Check out our previous guides to get you training started or vista us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.


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.


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!


Sneak Peak Into the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series (RME)

February 21, 2013

MTB parts for racing the RME series A favorite to endurance mountain bike cyclist in Colorado and the surrounding areas is the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, aka RME.  A race series consisting of 6 races, the Ridgeline Rampage, Battle the Bear, PV Cycle Derby, Snake River, Indian Creek, and Breckenridge 100, offers new and experienced racers a fun race series spanning from late April to mid July.  Peak Cycles Race Team members have raced this series in the past.  Here is a sneak peak as to what to expect from the series.

Pros:

  • The race venues are mostly local to the Front Range.
  • The trails are accessible to all skill levels.
  • The series offers a range of races: cross country, half marathon, and marathon.
  • Each race venue offers a diversity of terrain.
  • It’s fun to get to go to different places around the state.
  • Compared to other big races, the series is cost effective.
  • Pre-Race organization is well done.
  • Race starts go off on time.

Cons:

  • Due to overlapping start/ finish of different disciplines, there can be some overlap on the course with different groups going off.  For instance, faster cross country racers starting as marathon racers are finishing or overlapping age groups in the same discipline.
  • Unfortunately, as in all racing, there are some inconsiderate racers.
  • From years past, it appears the race promoters focus results on the pros and the men’s field and not those of the age groups.
  • There is a tendency for the aid stations to close down while slower riders are out there on the course.

What to ride?

For faster but maybe not quite as comfortable riding, one option is a hard tail Stump Jumper or Giant XTC Composite  hard tail.  If you don’t mind a little extra weight but want a more comfortable ride, the Epic Carbon Expert is a good choice or the Giant Anthem. Both are full suspension bikes.  Whether you go the hard tail option or with a full suspension bike, having the right bike parts and mtb parts is going to make a difference over the long haul in terms of performance and comfort.  Because these are lap races, there are a few bike components you will want to have on hand.

Some like to race on bottles while others prefer a hydration pack.  If you are new to racing or don’t plan to pre-ride the race course, a hydration pack is your best bet.  It allows you to focus on the trail  without concern as to trail conditions and timing when to drink.  Also, you have the option to refill as you pass through on your remaining laps.  Keep in mind, these races are going to take some time – as in, a few hours.  Comfort is a consideration.  Consider good grips like those made by ESI  or Ergon and new, good fitting shoes to avoid hot spots.

What other things might you keep in mind?  Basic necessities.  Make sure you have a good helmet, confirm your bike is tuned up, have on hand plenty of C02 cartridges, and tool kit.

Other than that, you are good to go!  Online registration for the series opens March 1, 2013.  See you there!