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.  

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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.


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!