I live in Boulder, Colorado and in the winter I snowshoe and cross-country ski regularly for aerobic fitness, ride on the road when I can, get on the trainer when necessary and do strength workouts in the gym.
Now that the days are longer and generally warmer I'm making the transition to riding outdoors regularly. What should you be doing to be ready for spring riding?
Get a Bike Fit
If you haven't had a professional bike fit in a couple of years, get one now. After several years of training, you'll be fitter and more flexible. Your cycling goals may have changed. For all these reasons you may need a different fit.
I've seen a rider's power output increase by five percent just by improving the fit! Specialized dealers in many countries offer bike fits by technicians trained by Andy Pruitt at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine (BCSM). Ret?l, founded by experts from the BCSM, has fit technicians around the world. Both the BCSM and Ret?l work with many racers in the pro peloton.
Tune Up Your Bike
Before the start of the season, have your bike thoroughly checked. If you are a good mechanic, you could to this yourself, or have your local shop. The annual overhaul should include:
- Strip the frame, clean it and wax it.
- Clean and grease the bottom bracket and headset if not sealed.
- Clean and grease the hubs and true the wheels.
- Put on new rim tape, tires and tubes.
- Clean, lubricate and adjust the derailleurs and replace the chain and cassette.
- Clean, lubricate and adjust the brakes and replace the brake shoes.
- Inspect all cables; especially the shift cables for integrated shifting and braking systems. These shift cables have a finite life and should be replaced every year.
- Inspect your cleats and replace if necessary.
- Retape the handlebars.
- Inspect the bottle cages, seat pack, hydration pack and bladder, etc. for wear.
- Check your spare tubes and put new glue in the patch kit.
- Lubricate your frame and floor pumps.
Shops get busier closer to events, so make an appointment early. When you take your bike in, take fresh bagels to help make friends with the shop folks.