Our Favorite Nutritional Products to Avoid Muscle Cramps

July 30, 2015
PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

There are a lot of opinions about why muscle cramping occurs and everyone has their own advice when the topic comes up. Many sports drinks tell you that they key to preventing cramps is magnesium, bike fitters will tell you your saddle is too high or you have incorrect bike parts, and there are also dozens of different home remedies.

Unfortunately, muscle cramping is something cyclists deal with at all levels of the sport.  The big question is what to do about muscle cramping, and what can you do to avoid them in the first place.
Interestingly enough, new insights as to what causes cramps is available.  The post, The Real Cause of Muscle Cramps, offers insights into root causes of muscle cramps.  And it’s not what you think! Muscle cramps aren’t the muscle; it’s the nerve.  While this research continues to evolve to learning more about the root cause of cramps, we can at least use tried and true methods to prevent them. Here’s what we have found works.
Avoid muscle cramps in the first place by hydrating properly before and during your ride.   If you’re a female cyclist, you may want to try out Osmo nutrition.  There are three options:
  • active hydration
  • acute recovery
  • preload hydration
What we like about this product is that it is nutrition “based on peer-reviewed science. The science is simple. Hydration, which refers to the maintenance of water in your blood, is critical to maximizing power, endurance and reducing fatigue. When you’re thirsty, you’ve already lost two percent of your body water—and 11 percent of your power.”
For all riders, another option is Skratch Labs.  Again there are several options to sleet including:
  • All day – daily electrolyte mix
  • Single workout – exercise hydration mix
  • Hyper nutrition – hyper hydration mix
  • Rescue hydration – for dehydration
Finally, an all time favorite!  Honey Stinger products – tasty edibles on the ride.
  • waffles
  • gels
  • energy bars
  • organic chews
All of those are great nutritional products while riding, but what products are available post ride?  As we all know, recovery is a critical element of preparing for the next bout of exercise.  New in our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?!
Overall, preventing muscle cramps in the first place is the ideal solution. Stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado or chat with us on Twitter or Facebook about your nutritional needs.  We’re happy to share our tried and true methods for avoiding muscle cramping while riding!

How to Stop Sabotaging Your Race Day Efforts

July 23, 2015
Racing at Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com

Racing at Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com

Before a race or a big event, do you ever feel overwhelmed? Nervous? Anxious? For the most part, experiencing those sensations is normal. Yet, oftentimes, negative self talk can exasperate the problem.

Thoughts like, “I haven’t trained enough” or you find yourself caring too much about what other people think.  Maybe looking around the start of an event you take a mental inventory and think other cyclist look more fit or have better bikes. Worst case scenario, you notice the weather and assign its condition as to how you think you will perform.

Whatever the case may be, managing self sabotaging thoughts and behavior is well within your scope of control.  Being mindful of your pre- event thoughts allows you to fully maximize your training efforts while reaching your race day or event goals.  Granted, pretty much everyone that enters an event suffers from nerves of some sort. However, the post, 5 Simple Strategies for Overcoming Race Day Nerves, guides us through easy ways to shift the perspective of nervousness to be an enabler of positive sports performance. And there are other ideas for managing self defeating behaviors too.

Develop race day strategies that work for you.  Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will instill confidence leading up to the event.  When your mind drifts to negative self talk, re- direct it to the strategies you’ve set for yourself.  As an example, develop personal race day rituals.  Crafting a pre-event routine is an important part of building a successful race experience.  Consider having a checklist of race day activities to help structure your preparation to the start line.  Include items such as nutrition, hydration, clothes, gear, extra bike parts and basic bike tools. This way, you won’t be forgetting anything as you prepare for your start.  You will show up on the line having confidence in your bike, your bike parts, and nutrition so that you can solely focus on the event ahead of you and not what other cyclist are doing or riding.

A little preparation can aid in reducing anxiety too!   Know the course and the conditions.  Check the weather ahead of time. Do a mental dress rehearsal of the event using this information. Visualization offers you the chance to “try things on” in a way so that you get more comfortable at adapting to the random things that occur during events.

Ultimately, the more at ease you are going into an event allows you to be more relaxed and focused on the start line  Limit any self sabotage you have by preparing in advance.  You’ll enjoy your event and it will also pave the way for a longer and enjoyable cycling career.


Bikes and Bike Parts: What’s New for 2016

July 16, 2015

The Tour de France is under way, and the buzz has never been so great! The world’s fastest cyclists and bike manufacturers have sharpened this year’s competition with increased fitness, improved road bikes, better bike parts – leaving us all inspired and gripped on the watching the next day’s stage.

With the addition of GoPro Hero 4 on the riders bikes, it has changed forever how we watch the Tour de France.  Ultimately, as spectators, we gain a greater perspective of the event along with a longing for the gear, bikes, and thrill experienced by the pro cyclist. Granted, we may never race in the Tour de France, but we do have access to the great gear the pro cyclist ride!

Watching the Tour de France might give you the itch for a new road bike and it’s perfect timing because shortly our 2015 road bikes and mountain bikes in our Golden, Colorado Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop will be going on sale to make way for the 2016 product releases.  Here’s what’s coming in and a brief description of why we like them.

If you can’t stand the wait and are looking to get that new bike thrill now, check out a really nice S-works bike in our store with Shimano XTR components and 11-speed in back.  It’s light and fast for racing – just like the tour riders like it!

S-works bike at BikeParts.com

Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep up with news on bikes, bike parts, and new product releases.


What Pro Riders Do That You Can Do Too

July 9, 2015
S-works bike at BikeParts.com

S-works bike at BikeParts.com

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 and wonder how they can mimic the fitness and performance of such talented athletes.  In fact, it seems that pro cyclists are often all thought to be blessed with nature’s special gifts – a huge heart, enormous lungs and infinite leg power.  Yet, in reality this is hardly the case. The truth is that most of us have the physiology to be a decent racer – if we trained as much as they do.  Granted, most of us don’t have the time or the resources available to pro cyclists but we can all optimize the talents bestowed upon us by training properly.  Here’s what pro cyclist are doing that you can do too.

Cool things first.  If you noticed, pro riders are wearing the new GoPro Hero 4.  You might wonder how this could help your training? Considering that the winter months can be bleak, capture your favorite training rides on video and reply when riding the rollers or trainer during the winter months.  We at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop can order the GoPro Hero 4 if you like!

Pro rider ride really nice bikes!  That’s a given. Great road bicycles don’t have to come at a hefty price tag either.  Right now, in our Golden, Colorado shop we have a really nice S-works bike in the store with Shimano XTR components and 11-speed in back. Light and fast for racing.  If a new bike isn’t in your budget, then start with the basics.  Have good equipment.  Meaning, have a bike that fits, get the right bike parts, and wear the appropriate cycling accessories. It may seem obvious but the small things add up to bigger gains. 

Pro riders take nutrition seriously – on and off the bike.  Many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel while riding – whether that is in nutrition bars, gels, and liquids. However, oftentimes, the course may dictate other options. Regardless, proper on bike nutrition is critical.  Many of our customers ask us what are the best on-bike nutrition options available?  Following are our favorites at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop:

Osmo nutrition – This product is specific to women offering three options:

  • active hydration
  • acute recovery
  • preload hydration

What we like about this product is that it is nutrition “based on peer-reviewed science. The science is simple. Hydration, which refers to the maintenance of water in your blood, is critical to maximizing power, endurance and reducing fatigue. When you’re thirsty, you’ve already lost two percent of your body water—and 11 percent of your power.”  Stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado to learn more.

Another option is Skratch Labs.  Again there are several options to sleet including:

  • All day – daily electrolyte mix
  • Single workout – exercise hydration mix
  • Hyper nutrition – hyper hydration mix
  • Rescue hydration – for dehydration

Finally, an all time favorite!  Honey Stinger products – tasty edibles on the ride.

  • waffles
  • gels
  • energy bars
  • organic chews

Pro riders train with power and heart rate.  Some mistakingly think that technology takes away the “riding experience” or that it is too costly for their level of riding.  However, times have changed and power meters are much more affordable.  They offer objective bio feedback to help you perform your best.  Our most popular are Stages Power Meters beginning at $1000.  Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third favorite is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

Last but not least, a little R&R or active recovery is good too.  Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.

While you may not be a pro cyclist, you can certainly benefit from the training elements of a Tour rider lifestyle.  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for more training tips and cycling information to make the best of your summer cycling season.


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

July 2, 2015

image credit: triplebypass.orgThe 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

BikeParts.com Race Team in Action

Course 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!


8 Awesome Father’s Day Gifts for Cycling Dads

June 18, 2015
Happy Father's Day from BikeParts.com

Happy Father’s Day from BikeParts.com

What do you get a Dad who has everything?  Father’s Day can be a tough one. Everyone knows Dad’s are impossible to shop for.  Sure, you could just pick him up another tie or another box of golf balls.  But why not get him something unique this year?  Why not tap into his true passion and gift him with items he will appreciate year round!

To help you in the ideas department, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve put together this list of suggestions that we’re sure will help turn his Father’s Day into more than just another game night or round of golf.

1. Get a Fat Bike! Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is passionate about fat bikes in the winter months but they can actually be ridden year round! They are fun and versatile bikes that can be used in almost any terrain.  We have found the Specialized Fatboy to be a highly rated, mid-range fat bike that is usable for a wide range of ages and skill-levels.  Splurge and get him a fat bike or get him a bike demo so he can try it out himself!

2. Get New Bike Parts! So many bike parts – the question is what to purchase?  Consider getting your Dad a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Maybe purchase some new, lighter tires for your Dad’s wheels. Another option is to reconsider the current crank set and pedals setup.

3. Get a Power Meter! Is your Dad a data junkie?  Then, this is the ideal gift for him!  The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to get for your Dad, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters, beginning at $1000. Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

4. Get Cycling Accessories! So what do you get a Dad that has everything?  Cycling apparel!  You can’t have too many jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, sunglasses, and cycling shoes!  Cycling apparel is much better than just getting another tie!

5. Get a Bike Fit!  A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Give your Dad the gift of riding comfortably.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

6. Get Gift Certificates!  Gift certificates can be used for purchasing bike parts and cycling accessories.  Also consider a variety of gift certificates, as in, those to Starbucks for after ride coffee.  Or, even a trial member ship for yoga.  If your cycling Dad complains of tight muscles, yoga helps ease the tightness, creating core strength, and aligning the spine.

7. Get a Cycling Vacation! The lifestyle here in Colorado celebrates the great outdoors. Even better, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike and mountain bike rides in the country.  Some rides are shorter and convenient whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. There are several Destination Hotspots for Colorado Summer Cycling Trips that the whole family can enjoy.  

8.  Get Riding!  Riding together with your Dad on Father’s day could be one of his most favorite and memorable shared activities to do.  Consider selecting one of the 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides or keep it local and ride some of the best mountain bike trails Golden, Colorado has to offer.

Make your Father’s Day memorable!  Gift him with bike parts and cycling accessories that tap into his cycling passion.  Happy Father’s Day!


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