On Bike Nutrition: It’s Different for Girls 

March 26, 2015
Osmo Nutrition for Women Cyclist at BikeParts.com

Osmo Nutrition for Women Cyclist at BikeParts.com

Over recent years, the number of women taking up cycling has dramatically increased and brands have recognized the need for women specific bicycle geometry by responding with female specific bikes that work with a woman’s body to provide the optimum platform for speed, and/or comfort depending upon the riders’ needs. But what about bike nutrition for women.  Is that different too?  

As a female cyclist, have you wondered about your on-bike nutritional needs? Are you getting the right stuff for you? Does it even matter?  It’s a rhetorical question because we all know that nutrition matters.  Our post, Solving the Bike Nutrition Mystery walks you through off-bike nutritional needs.  However, consuming the right amount of calories combined with the appropriate nutritional mix for your body while training is critical for performance.

Until recently, most of the data regarding nutrition and training was collected about men. That’s great for the guys, but women have a distinct physiology with its own set of needs. In other words, what’s good for a man isn’t necessarily good for a woman. One difference is that women’s menstrual cycle can heavily influence athletic performance and fluctuate hormone levels.  Detailed information on women’s cycles and how that pertains to training, performance and fueling for the female athlete can be found in the post Women Are Not Small Men: Factors to Consider For Performance and Nutrition for the Female Cyclist

With all that being said, 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

The bottom line? The post, Male Versus Female Athletes, Part 1: Nutrition,  points out that the off bike needs of men and women are surprisingly similar and it boils down to a solid nutrition plan that includes real whole foods.  However, on bike / training nutritional needs may be quite different.  Visit us online at BikeParts.com for your nutrition needs or stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to learn more.


Spring MTB Racing in Colorado – Events to Plan Your 2015 Cycling Season

March 19, 2015

Peak Cycles Race TeamSpring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation.  A given rule of thumb is that all races provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form. Because of that, targeting a handful of high and low priority races and events throughout the year can be useful as  learning experiences and opportunities to dial in nutritional needs and race strategies.  The question for many is, where to start?

Use your 2015 cycling goals as your compass.  We talk more about goals in our blog post, but the basic take away is to make your goals SMART.  As in, specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.   With that being said, 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.  One approach is to use different course profiles, distances, and bike part options to mindfully select A, B, and C type races according to your training plans and race goals.  Keep this simple reminder in mind – 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 mountain bike in order, as well as, getting the gear and cycling accessories you need.

Now, which races will you do?  There are many tours, races, and events to choose from in Colorado.  While this isn’t a comprehensive list, following are some of our upcoming favorite events at BikeParts.com.

Goudy Grinder – Wyoming – Sunday, May 31, 2015 – Registration open March 16th

40 in the fork – Fort Collins – Saturday, June 27, 2015 – Registration is open now.  This event is considered “one of the Front Range’s toughest mountain bike races.”

Rocky Mountain Endurance Series – Colorado.  This race series offers the best variety of mountain bike racing in Colorado.  Great for beginners to experienced racers including different distances.  The series begins kicks off in late April with the Ridgeline Rampage.  Visit their site for registration and series information and check out our Sneak Peak to the RME Series.  

MTB radio – endurance calendar.  For those that enjoy epic, longer mountain bike events.  Check out the MTB radio endurance calendar. Following are a few of the fun event on tap through May.

  • April 18 – 6 Hours in Frog Hollow – Hurricane, UT
  • April 23, Fruita Fat Tire Fest – Fruita
  • April 25, Ridgeline Rampage – Castle Rock
  • May 1, 18 Hours of Fruita – Fruita
  • May 9, Desert RATS Classic – Fruita
  • May 9, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde – Cortez
  • May 9, Battle the Bear – Lakewood
  • May 16, Dirty Double Fondo – Salida
  • May 23, The Half Growler – Gunnison
  • May 24, The Origional Growler – Gunnison
  • May 29, Grand Junction Off-Road – Grand Junction
  • May 30, PV Derby, Elbert
  • May 31, The Great Bicycle Carnival for Kids on bikes

Planning your 2015 cycling season is a multi step process: Identify your cycling goals, dial in your bike, and select the events you are enthusiastic in participating.  If you’re left questioning how to roll out your pre season training plan, well then, we’ve got you covered on that too.   Check out our previous guides to get you training started or vista us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.


The 2015 Training Guide for Cyclist

March 12, 2015
BikeParts.com Gearing Up for 2015 Cycling Season

BikeParts.com Gearing Up for 2015 Cycling Season

March 20th at 4:45 PM MDT marks the beginning of spring.  While  we have a few days to go and the warmer temps may not quite be here yet, cyclist are getting ready for the 2015 season.  

You can feel it – enthusiasm is high!  But, enthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make early season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long, or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury. Understanding how to pace yourself while getting fit is crucial.

Yet, having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear makes all the difference too.  Especially so if you have taken it easier over the winter months. Transitioning to more time in the saddle and longer rides on the bike can be either a pleasurable experience or a painful one!  Here’s your guide to getting your bike and training in order for spring cycling.

Bike Inspections:
Does your bike have cobwebs on it from non use during the winter months?  Now’s the time to dust it off, put some air in those tires and do a thorough bike inspection.  It seems simple enough but there are some critical areas to pay attention.

What do you look for? Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design.  While your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike.  Handlebarsstems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. Make sure all is well before embarking on longer rides which could lead to lasting discomfort.

How important are brakes?  Obviously, a lot!  When you don’t have them, or they aren’t working properly, then you know the importance of well maintained brakes for your road or mountain bike.  Sure, brakes help stop your bike but they also aid in redirecting the bike, navigating technical terrain, cornering, and overall balance.  As the cycling season starts up, bike maintenance is essential.  We’re happy to help you at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop so bring your bike in for a spring tune up, or you can do bike maintenance at home.  Demonstrated by our staff, at Peak Cycles Bike Shop, using the Avid Professional Bleed Kit are step by step instructions on how to bleed your mountain bike brakes for strong and reliable stopping power: Our Tips on Bleeding Brakes

Another important component to spring riding is checking out your wheels.  Unquestionably, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Spring is a great time to upgrade bicycle components.  The question is, once you’ve decided it’s time for a wheel upgrade, how do you know how to select the best ones? Check our our video, Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know.  

As for mountain bike riders, you may be thinking about going tubeless. For anyone who wants higher performance and less flats but doesn’t mind a little extra installation time and maintenance, going tubeless is the best choice.  The trick is having the right set up and knowing which bike parts or products to use.  Again, stop by the shop to ask any questions or watch our video for help. GoingTubeless? How to use Stans NoTubes by BikeParts.com  

Training and Racing:
Now that you have your bike dialed in, the next part of the equation is training.  Do you have your 2015 goals in mind?  Aside from the traditional goals to ride more, to lose weight, and to explore new rides, consider being a little more ambitious!  Stretch yourself to reach new heights!  Maybe create your own Spring training camp with friends or challenge yourself to 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides.  

If you are a competitive cyclist, determine if you are 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.  Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season.  Our post, 5 Race Day Strategies for Spring Races in Colorado walks you step by step through the process of race preparation. 

Nutrition:
As you approach your first race or long ride of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition.  While riding, 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, a 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.   Our post, Solving the Bike Nutrition Mystery and Training Peak’s post, Strategies For Optimum Recovery offer great suggestions to getting you on track for the nutritional demands of training and racing.

With a little preparation and planning, your pre season bike maintenance and training can pave the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable 2015 cycling season.

Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the bike parts you need to launch your best cycling season ever!


Solving the Bike Nutrition Mystery

March 5, 2015
1st Endurance EFS at BikeParts.com

1st Endurance EFS at BikeParts.com

Nutrition matters.  We all know it – but that doesn’t mean we eat and drink what we know we should.  And as athletes, we suffer from these choices too.  The symptoms of poor nutrition rears its ugly head in many ways: via muscle cramping, struggling to complete workouts, unsuccessful race efforts, and that nagging few pounds that doesn’t seem to drop off no matter what you do.  As the Spring cycling season is right around the corner, now is the time to dial in your nutrition – on and off the bike.  Here’s how.

As the weather improves, it makes it easier to increase your mileage and saddle time.  Which also helps to slim down.  The post,10 Ways to Manage Offseason Weight Control, offers easy options to keep the pounds off, as in, writing your food down in a food journal; consider the timing of your meals and intake; and limiting calories on easier exercise days.  As we’ve written previously, there are also apps for cyclist to manage off-season gains.  Another option is to opt for a different meal plan all together.  Have you considered getting started with the Paleo diet?  A quick approach is to add more vegetables and good fats to your diet.

Now, hydration. It seems it’s an overused word, but a post about nutrition would be incomplete without the discussion of hydration.  For obvious reasons hydration is a huge topic in the summer months, but it’s also critical in the winter months as the post, Hydrating for Winter Training points out.  Hydration planning is important prior to, during, and post workouts. Even more important, is dialing in your race nutrition.  Early season is the time to experiment with your nutritional needs leading up the season.

As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition.  While riding, 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, a 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 will aid in dialing in proper race day nutrition for your “A” races and events.

But what happens when all the nutrition planning goes wrong? What if you have stomach issues while training and 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, solving the bike nutrition mystery is about using your early season training to dial in your bike, bike parts, and nutrition.  Preparing well and listening to your body is the key to minimizing physical issues and optimizing training efforts for success later in the year.


A Different Take On the Benefits of Training Indoors

February 26, 2015

2014 Giant Trance Adv. 1 27.5-1It’s winter. It’s cold. There’s snow on the ground.  And, when the snow melts, it’s still cold – and wet. Many brave winter cycling and enjoy it with layering and a designated winter bike to ride. But, most of us suffer inside.  The first few weeks of indoor training seems to be bearable; however, as the weeks continue without any hopes of prolonged outdoor riding in sight, the indoor workouts get shorter.  Or, they don’t happen at all.  The problem is, consistency in training is critical to prepare your body for the physical stresses of the season ahead.

How do you make peace with indoor training?  How can indoor training actually support consistency in training?

It may seem obvious, but scheduling workouts on the same day every week will help with consistency.  By creating a repeating schedule that you know works for you you minimize the chances to missing a workout. The post, 4 Habits to Increase Your Consistency, offers more suggestions on increasing consistency, such as, being purposeful, following your plan as best as possible, and getting in shorter rides when you have less time to train.

But motivation is key to maintaining consistency.  When lack of training motivation rears its ugly head, you don’t have to be a victim to it, take action.  The post, Surviving the Winter as a Cyclist, shares some great “fortune cookie wisdom” in that the hardest part is just getting started.  “Whether it’s starting your workout for the day, or jumping back into training after you’ve been “off the wagon” for a while, getting going is tough. That’s the law of inertia. An object at rest wants to stay at rest. But on the flip side, once an object is in motion, it wants to stay in motion.  The key here – start pedaling.  Make a time commitment to stay on the bike for 30 minutes to see how you feel.  By then, most likely you’ll be into the ride and lack of motivation is disappearing.

If cycling indoors just isn’t your thing, accept it.  But don’t give up! Trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength.  The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with lower and upper body, while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists or 7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes to get you started and also, to keep you motivated through the winter months.

You may also consider doing yoga.  In cycling, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips never rest. As a result, riders often have overdeveloped quadriceps and tight hamstrings, which can pull the hips out of alignment. Also, a cyclist’s spine is constantly flexed forward. If proper form isn’t maintained, it can result in muscle pain and strain in the back and shoulders. Yoga helps ease the tightness, creating core strength, and aligning the spine.  Even if you aren’t into yoga, there are 3 poses you should practice.

When you think about it, indoor training doesn’t have to be as bad as you think.  Options are available.  And, you may just give winter riding another chance too!  Winter riding can be equally as fun as Summer riding given you have the right cycling apparel, you know how to dress for winter riding, and you have the right bike parts in your winter toolkit.


Top Fat Bike FAQ’s

February 19, 2015

Fatboy at BikeParts.comFat bikes – they’re all the rage! While many consider fat bikes to be a trend, they are, in fact, here to stay!  The hottest trend in the mountain biking world right now is the oversized bike that can accommodate tires up to 5 inches wide.  Yet, as popular as they are, many have yet to experience this cycling bliss!  Following are the top frequent asked questions we get at Peak Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.

Why should I ride a Fat bike?  Fat bikes behave much like a mountain bike but, in many cases, they are much more versatile. You can practically ride them anywhere and they are particularly useful during winter rides in snowy conditions. They are also great beginner bikes and will make you feel like an 8 year-old again, bouncing  gleefully all over the trails.

How are fat bikes different than other mountain bikes?  Many fat bike models today are similar to “normal” mountain bikes, which have slacker head tube angles, lower stand-over heights, thru axles, and tapered head tubes.  The main difference is the tires. The wider ties have more traction in both dirt and snow. They climb better than almost any mountain bike and the fit tires provide greater cushion that feels like extra suspension.  But what makes them special is they entice you to ride outside when it’s cold! According to the post, Fat Biking 101: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Biking in the Snow, most people do not ride when it is cold because, well, it’s cold. Fat bikes offer a unique experience and allow you to explore familiar trails in a new light. Fat biking lifts the winter doldrums by giving you a new freedom to ride off-road.

In what kind of conditions can I ride my fat bike? Fat bikes can ride pretty much anywhere. They do really well on dirt but they are also very capable in the snow. Packed snow will feel very much like riding on dirt. Pushing through heaps of freshly fallen snow will provide more of a challenge and there will be some days when riding is simply impossible. Remember, while sliding around on ice may be fun, ice is ice. The bike will still go down if you are not careful riding on slippery substances.

How do I stay warm on my fat bike in the winter?  You have to think a little bit harder before and during your fat bike rides in the cold. Generally the most important tip for keeping warm is to layer, and to carry a pack to put your extra layers away. Some people prefer to wear ski goggles and a ski helmet, and lots of people wear winter boots.  Poagies, insulated hand covers that slip over your handle bars, are also very useful for keeping your hands warm.   Keeping your feet warm is key. Wearing arm boots, preferably water proof, with thick socks on flat pedals or clipless boots with multiple pairs of socks will help to keep your feet comfortable.

How do I keep my water from freezing?  Even though you might not feel the urge to drink as much when riding your fat bike in the cold, it is still important to drink fluids. There are a couple of tricks your water from freezing. During shorter rides, carry an insulated water bottle and start with really warm water. You can also add electrolytes or other ingredients to change the freezing point of the fluid, but may find limited success. When using a CamelBak or something similar, stick the bite valve in your jacket and blow out all the water in your hose. You can also buy neoprene insulators for the hydration hose to help keep water as a liquid substance.

Should I use clipless or flat pedals on a fat bike?  It’s your choice! The biggest problems people have making this decision is deciding how to best keep their feet warm. Having flat pedals will allow you to wear thick winter boots, which are more conducive to keeping your feet warm. However you can buy clipless boots that are designed to handle colder temperatures. Using a clipless pedal could prove annoying in snowy terrain if you have to dismount and remount frequently during your ride.

What kind of tires should I use? How wide? What pressure do I run? Tube vs. Tubeless?  You have to match tire pressure with conditions. Softer snow conditions: 6psi. Harder conditions: 8-10psi. (much lower than the normal bike). Fat-bike tires are typically marked as 26 x 4.0 though most are really more like 26 x 3.7 or 3.8. The actual size of the mounted tire will vary depending on the rim width used for the wheel.  Many riders prefer tubeless because they reduce over a point of rotation weight and they provide better traction.

What kind of fat bikes are on the market?  The fat bike market has exploded in recent years. Brands include Specialized, Mongoose, Polaris, Kona, Gravity, Kawasaki, Borealis and more! Manufacturers are creating frames out of tons of different materials including aluminum, carbon, titanium, bamboo, real steel, and Wal-Mart steel. Most fat-bikes that you will come across have a fully rigid frame. However fat bikes with front fork suspension and full-body suspension have started to emerge.

Finding the fat bike that works for you will depend on the type of riding that you do and, more importantly, your budget.  However, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are all big fans of the Specialized Fatboy Bike. 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.   In fact, the Fatboy was rated as the best mid-range fat bike in 2014 by Gear Patrol, a magazine that covers the best in gear, adventure, and design.  

Where can I ride my fat bike? Fat biking is abuzz in Colorado. Colorado is already a favorite state for cyclists due to the mountainous terrain, rugged trails, scenic views, and outdoorsy population. But now, Colorado is a hot destination for the fat bike phenomenon.  There are also a ton of really fun fatbike events across the nation.

Whew! Lots of questions but one final one.  Are you feeling the urge to take on this fun fat bike phenomenon? Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Check out our fat bike bike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and accessories.  Plus, get even more of your questions answered in person!


A Cyclist Guide to Finding True Love for Valentine’s Day 

February 12, 2015

BikeParts.com thanks times-up.org for the imageRacing heart. Sweaty palms. Fixated focus.  All classic signs of love at first sight.  Notably, signs to display to your significant other on Valentine’s day.

Yet, as many cyclist well know, those very symptoms are those we experience when racing and training – especially the fixated focus on the rider in front of us.  Some cyclist love to race. They live for it. Others love to train and don’t favor racing.  Whether you love it or hate it, true love is found on the bike and the cycling experience.

But what is true love on the bike exactly?  Like any good relationship, It’s all about reward and avoiding pain.

Reward: All good relationships are built on a solid foundation such as commitment and consistency to your cycling training program.  And, like any good relationship, it’s important to keep it fresh, try new things, and continue building forward.  Most cyclist are in it for the long haul but sometimes deviate from the plan and want a quick fix.  If you fall in that camp, you may opt for a bike fit.  It’s the quickest way to get faster on the bike.

But, if you find yourself committing long term, you may consider going a different route.  Focusing on year round strength training, discovering apps to support your fitness lifestyle, or even jumping in and trying a great fatbike event in 2015 can help you take your true love for cycling to another level.

Pain: Suffering on the bike is one thing.  Pain is another.  Suffering can garner greater fitness gains but pain can keep you from your true love completely.  One way to avoid pain is to be mindful of your bike parts, cycling accessories, and bio feedback.  You might be wondering, Can the Right Bike Parts Make a Difference in Injury Prevention?  Yes, absolutely.

To avoid painful cycling experiences, discover tips to prevent knee pain. You might be surprised that a little extra attentiveness and mindfulness to your bike and bike parts can go a long way in avoiding pain and pitfalls with your true love.

From all of us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, this Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to embrace your true love of cycling.


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