Our hometown has always been a great place to ride, but Aspen is now an international hub of cycling during the summer and fall months, and we’re fully on board. The valley is flush with quiet mountain roads that wind through Aspen groves, cross rivers and creeks and climb high into the Elk Mountains. Once the snow melts, you can often find us exploring the valley on two wheels. One of our favorite riding partners is Dean Hill of Aspen Pro Cycling. Dean is a highly respected performance coach and cycling guide that knows the Roaring Fork Valley like the back of his hand. See below for some tips from Dean that will help ensure that this summer is your best bike season yet.
TIPS FROM DEAN
GET A BIKE FIT: Many riders want to set up their bike like the pros, but simply cannot maintain these extreme positions for very long. Comfort is an important ingredient in performance that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. If you’re uncomfortable, you’re not having fun. Even tour pros are adjusting their fit to allow for greater power and efficiency on long race days. A bad bike fit doesn’t show up for 90 minutes to 2 hours. If you can’t ride longer than that, you’re position probably isn’t right for you. A professional fit will allow you to be more comfortable and help you reach your goals.
TRAIN WITH INTENTION: If you want to improve and gain fitness on your bike, you’ll need to put some structure into your ride plan. A common mistake among recreational cyclists is riding too hard on easy rides and too easy on hard rides. If your average ride consists of challenging your friends up every hill, you’re probably guilty of this. To make performance gains your easy rides should be all about recovery and endurance and your hard rides should hurt, a lot! The “happy intensity” below a really hard effort is where most amateurs spend too much time riding. In this training zone you don’t really benefit from easy endurance work and also miss out on the progress that occurs at full exertion.
Where to Ride
CHECK OUT THE MID VALLEY: In Aspen, we all love to ride to the Maroon Bells, Castle Creek Road to Ashcroft and up Independence Pass. The mid valley holds all sorts of riding secrets frequented by the locals. For quiet roads with incredible views head up into Missouri Heights or Old Snowmass. My favorite roads include Light Hill Rd, Snowmass Divide, East and West Sopris Creek Rd. I love to mix in the smooth dirt and gravel roads. If you’re feeling adventurous you can head down valley and search out Sunlight Ski Area, Spring Gulch or Dry Park between Carbondale and Glenwood.
CHAMOIS TIME: Invest in the best chamois and have a couple pairs of shorts in rotation at all times. Use chamois cream and apply it directly to chamois and the skin. Remember that this is your contact point with the bike and just like a bike fit, a high quality chamois with a suitable cream will keep you comfortable and able to pedal continuously and at high output for hours. Extra points for good style!
If you’d like to ride with Dean this summer or learn more about this coaching offering, please let us know.