Unleash Your Inner Pro This July with The Ultimate July Event Calendar 

July 7, 2016

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing July – the best month of the year! As cyclist, we all love July because the Tour de France is in full swing and so is the touring and racing season in Colorado.  With envy, many cyclist watch the pro riders at the Tour de France and wonder how they can mimic the fitness and performance of such talented athletes.  Cycling fans follow each day’s stage, drama, and favorite riders as the Tour unfolds.  

Many find themselves inspired by the passion and prowess of the Tour riders and feel the call to unleash their own inner pro.  Granted, we may not have the legs, power, endurance, or sprinting power of pro riders, but surely, each of us hears the calling to test our abilities – to push a little harder – to see if we have what it takes when the pressure is on.  

So given you’re not riding in the Tour, you can still take on the ultimate cycling challenge.  To do that, you need an event or race to test the limits.   Fortunately, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike and mountain bike rides in the country.  From bone-rattling descents to leisurely loops, locals and vacationers alike welcome the challenge of pushing the limits while taking in breathtaking views that only Colorado has to offer.  To unleash your inner pro, you have to select an event.  

Following are a list rides, road races, and mountain bike races from our friends over at Pedal Dancer  for the month of July.

Cycling Events

Road Races: 

Mountain Bike Races: 


Next – plan!
In your planning preparations, you’ll want to gather road ride or trail intelligence.  Meaning, there are key elements you should know before heading out on any unfamiliar route:

  • Know the profile – How much climbing and descending should you expect?
  • Know the route – Where is the start or the trailhead? How long is the route? What is the technical difficulty? What type of terrain will you be riding? And, What are the current trail conditions if opting for a mountain bike ride?
  • Know the weather conditions before, during, and soon after you expect to ride. Colorado weather changes quickly and sometimes, radically. Be prepared.

Ultimately, the best way to unleash your inner pro is to be prepared: mentally, physically, and have fully inspected your bike parts.  Functioning brakes are essential on the long, fast descents.  Proper gearing can make or break your chance of making a climb.  And, having the right bike toolscycling accessories, and extra bike parts on hand make a difference between a stellar ride and a bail out.

Next time you are watching a stage in the Tour de France and you find yourself inspired to see what you’ve got – go for it!  Pick a cycling event in July, get your bike and cycling accessories dialed in and go big! At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re cheering for you!  


The 2015 Traveler’s Guide to Success at Colorado July Races

July 2, 2015

The beautiful scenery and challenging terrain of Colorado’s cycling scene beckons riders from all over the world to ride along the backdrop of blue skies and snow capped mountains.  In fact, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides and mountain bike trails in the country.   And, it’s host to one of the world’s favorite bike races – the US ProCycling Challenge.  However, one of the toughest challenges a cyclist can face is how to prepare for a tour or race when traveling from out of state.

A first step in preparation is selecting the road rides, mountain bike trails, and or road and mountain bike races you want to do.  July is packed with events including some of our top favorites:

  • Firecracker 50
  • Tour de Ladies
  • Clasica de Rio Grande
  • Big Mountain Enduro Keystone
  • Triple Bypass
  • Longmont Criterium
  • SOS Outreach Colorado-Eagle River Ride
  • Tour de Steamboat
  • Breckenridge 100
  • Salida Classic
  • Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb
  • Leadville Stage Race
  • Colorado Freeride Festival

Next, you’ll want to gather event intelligence.  As in, what are key elements you should know about the event for planning, preparation, etc. You’ll want to know the course profile.  If you are a flatlander, most likely, you’ll be interested in knowing how much climbing and descending to expect. Obviously, a no brainer is to have your bike and the correct bike parts in order!  If you are accustomed to riding on flat terrain, you’ll also want to have the appropriate gearing for your event. Your legs will thank you for this!

As the event gets closer, you will want to be aware of the weather conditions before, during, and soon after you expect to ride.  Colorado weather changes quickly and sometimes, radically.  It’s critical to prepared.  With that in mind, it is important to know which cycling apparel to pack and have available during your stay.

More importantly, travelers coming from sea level to higher altitudes will want to plan their trip accordingly to allow for acclimation.  Specific to altitude acclimations, there is definitely science and research behind acclimating for cycling performance but without getting too technical, following are some of most common approaches.  You may consider spending time at higher elevations prior to your event which enables the body to adapt and increase the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This improves your ability to deliver oxygen to the brain and working muscles at all levels of activity, including high-intensity exercise. The longer you can acclimatize – the better.  Keep in mind, true acclimation can take three weeks or more.

Another option and an important one is to hydrate and drink plenty of liquids. High elevations can cause fluid loss, so it’s important to stay well hydrated. Your best course of action is to stick with water or liquids that replace electrolytes and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages. These liquids act as diuretics and can dehydrate you.

Finally, during training and racing, use your training tools for biofeedback.  It’s important to know your limits going into an event and modify your strategy if necessary. This includes dialing in your race day nutrition requirements, heart rate limits, and using your power meter for feedback. Power meters are especially useful because they help riders to gauge their efforts.

Colorado tours and races in July can be rewarding experiences.  Part of what makes them fun is the scenery and the great Colorado experience. However, to make the even more memorable, it’s important to evaluate your results based on your goals.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What can you do for the next race or tour to get a better result?  Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event.

It might seem unimportant to evaluate the experience, but post event evaluation is an important element in deciding if you want to do that event again the following year.  If you do, it’s helpful to make note of your bike and cycling accessory selections.  What would you change or do differently next time?  As in, you might wonder, did you race the right bike?  Would a different wheel set make a difference?  Build on this foundation to create success in planning and preparing going into next year’s event.

If you are coming in from out of state to participate in one of Colorado’s July cycling events and need help making bike part selections or deciding on the right gear for an event, give us a call at Peak Cycles Bicycle shop. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter and happy to help!  Happy riding!


Keeping Cool When the Racing Gets Hot! Tips to Getting Race Ready for Late June and July Colorado Races 

June 25, 2015

hotCourse strategies, break aways, riding in a small group or a large peloton – these are the thoughts and questions of cyclist wondering how to perform their best at bicycle racing.  Now that the cycling season is in full swing, many are filling up their calendars with the big events of the summer season.  While not a comprehensive list, following are some of the favorite Colorado races and tours on tap for late June and July.

  • 40 in the Fort Endurance Mountain Bike Race
  • The Bicycle Tour of Colorado
  • Boulder Stage Race
  • Firecracker 50
  • Triple Bypass
  • Big Mountain Enduro Keystone
  • Breckenridge 100

Sounds good, right? Absolutely! So many different road and mountain bike events to choose from.  The main question is how to prepare? How do you know if you are race ready?  How do you handle the heat or prepare to ride at altitude?  All good questions and we’ve got answers.  Ultimately, the best way to approach any of these rides is to come prepared: mentally, physically, and have fully inspected your bike parts

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.  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 – especially during the summer heat.

Here in Colorado, we’re now into warmer temps and managing the heat while riding and racing is critical not only to comfort, but also performance.  Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.  What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.  There are numerous heat–coping strategies to consider when planning a high-intensity workout or doing a race, like those mentioned above, in hot weather.

If you can, acclimate.  It takes about 10 to 14 days of frequent exposure to heat for your body to adapt. During this period of time workout daily in hot conditions at a lower-than-normal intensity. After a couple of weeks of near-daily exposure to hot conditions you will begin perform better in the heat than prior although performance will still likely be diminished from what you might have done in cooler conditions.

Focus on nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.

This is obvious, but an often overlooked component. Hydrate. Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumption. For your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand.

To train and compete at your best during this upcoming events, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  Everyone adapts differently to heat stress.  Need more tips?  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to chat with our racers, mechanics, and other cyclist to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will keep you cool when the racing and riding gets hot!


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.


Train the Brain: The Power of Mental Suffering

January 24, 2013

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. And while we aspire to be our better selves and pull out the magic in a moment of victory, the magic won’t be there if we don’t train it to be there.  Sure, we know how to train the body for suffering on the bike.  But the real master to train is the brain.

How are you training your brain?  Daily workouts offer opportunities to dig deeper.  Extended minutes at threshold heart rate or within specific power zones offer challenges.  Conquering a hill climb or masterfully navigating technical sections on the mountain bike  build confidence.  While these rides garner motivation to go beyond our limits, bigger challenges garner insights to training your brain for mental suffering.  Take these early season races and rides as an example.

Compare your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it” when considering a race like the Triple Bypass  or the Copper Triangle versus a training ride with a group of spirited athletes.  The level of digging deep and mental suffering for a race exceeds that of a fast paced training ride.

Bigger challenges help to prepare for the mental suffering athletes are bound to encounter during the season.  They also help build mental fitness and confidence.  On the other hand, it is true, some athletes and recreational enthusiast focus on the bike itself.  As in, “Is it light enough?”   “Does it have the latest and greatest bike parts?”  Granted, having the right bike components and bike accessories makes a difference but to perform your best, you have to train your brain.


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.