Preseason Endurance Race Strategies: Start slow, Build Mental Toughness

April 14, 2016

12748011_968167059887388_245329798008628208_oFor those of you preparing for endurance trail races, we know that you are getting ready to ride long, get dirty, and have the time of your life. And while some you may have trained through the winter months, many have not. So we warn you winter sofa spuds that the alluring call of gorgeous spring days will tantalize you to ride too hard, too fast. This could lead to injuries, poor performances, and an overall unhappy 2016 cycling season.

Here are some ways not to meet that unfortunately end:

Endurance trail cyclists are on the cusp of some of the most favored mountain bike races in Colorado and the American west — races like Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, Thaw Massacre, 18 Hours of Fruita, Desert RATS Classic, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, and The Half/Original Growler. And being success in these races requires you to closely monitor early season training. 

Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  There are coaches and coaching plans to assist with specific and customized training.  Or, you can create your own training program.

Regardless of your approach, for precise bio feedback to align your training plan, you’ll need to use cycling accessories available to you – such as power meters, GPS computers, and/or heart rate monitors.  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. As a result, your 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 2016 cycling season goals.

Now, just because you can’t go all-out in your early training, doesn’t mean that you can’t build the mental toughness and focus that you will need during an endurance race. 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.”

For more information, don’t hesitate to visit our website or stop into our store – Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado. We have tons of advice, as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.

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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!


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.


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.