Are You a Left Brained or Right Brained Cyclist? 

September 18, 2014

Cycling Motivation at BikeParts.com

Motivation is the foundation all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performance, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless.

To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals.  The key question here is what keeps you motivated month after month? Through each season?  And, year after year?

The post, MotivationUsing the left or right brain, offers some insights as to how brain function plays a critical role in cycling motivation.  As a brief reminder, most people have tendencies which lean toward exhibiting more “left brain” or “right brain” characteristics. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the differences between the two.

Left brain characteristics:
– linear
– logical
– analytical
– serious
– organized

Right brain characteristics:
– holistic
– intuitive
– creative
– fun-loving
– socially adept

One isn’t necessarily better or worse than the other; they both have their functions.  But, as this relates to cycling, training, and fitness, it plays a different role. So if you think you are left brained, what are ways to motivate yourself for riding?  If data and analytical conversations get you excited , then you need to motivate yourself by the potential numbers to be worked and gained within a workout. This also means to focus on potential elevation gain, distance to be covered, or how many complete intervals you think you can achieve.  Focusing on analytical data as in, learning the right way to train or making proper goal setting a priority can help dial in motivation.  Another way to use your logical mind for motivation is to research bike parts, bike geometry and test ride cycling accessories to see how it impacts your ride.

On the flip side, if you are a right brained cyclist, consider a holistic approach to your experience.  As in, focus on the journey and what you may experience on each ride. Consider multiple options for routes that will allow you to experience the views of the season, then which route best suits the workout. On any day, think about what the feel of the workout will bring, with breathing, the rhythms, and how enjoyable that is. Grasp this and use it to your advantage, because visualization and feel is your main motivation.  Visualization can take place off the bike too. Yoga for cyclist and year round strength training and visualizations of a stronger and fitter body can aid in the motivation experience.

Ultimately, what it boils down to is that whether you approach your motivation for cycling from a left or right brained perspective, what matters is that you are having fun and engaged.  Motivation is easy to maintain when you are experiencing the rewards of your cycling and training experiences.


How the Fall Season Can Help You  Manage Over Reaching and Over Training 

September 11, 2014

bikeparts.com

At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.  Oftentimes, throughout the season, cyclist find themselves over reaching and over training in their training.  What is the difference between the two and how can the Fall season help?

The term over-reaching was adopted by exercise scientists to describe the short-term overload that can be managed within a few days. However, over-reaching can develop into over-training (from which it can be more difficult to recover) if the athlete does not mitigate the factors that caused the over-reaching or fails to allocate proper recovery time.  The symptoms of the overtraining syndrome are difficult to define since there can be many and they are seldom exactly the same in any two overtrained athletes. According to Joe Friel,  physiologically, the only ones that are common are poor performance and fatigue.  However, there are a few other indicators.  The symptoms of overtraining are many and include the lack of motivation to race and train, inability to complete most workouts due to fatigue, loss in power, and general overall irritability.

So, How Long Does it Take to Recover From Overtraining? “Most athletes will recover from overtraining syndrome within 4-6 weeks up to 2-3 months. This will all depend on a few factors such as how overtrained you really are, genetics, and age. Determining how overtrained you are can only be answered by the amount of time it takes you to recover.”

The Fall season can be an opportunity to rest and recharge while still maintaining fitness on the bike.  The post, How Cyclists Can Manage the Fall Season, shares that this time of year can be very beneficial in letting you recharge the batteries and gain some mental freshness. Right now you’re setting the stage for your mental acuity going into next season. Ignoring mental fatigue right now can actually end up being detrimental to your coming season.

Also, as mentioned in our previous post, The 10 Essentials of Fall Cycling, having access to resources, tips, and a supportive environment makes it easier to enjoy all the benefits cycling has to offer.  Knowing where your body is as it relates to your training cycle, motivation, and energy levels can make a difference.  The Fall season can be a great opportunity to get new bike parts.  During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the Fall, there’s more time for mental wanderings and fun! Check out our daily closeouts and overstock items to spark renewed interest in your cycling program.

All and all, whether you have pushed your limits to the max or not, rest and a reduction in training volume is the only cure to getting back into the groove when it domes to motivation and excitement for training.  Use the Fall season to transition into a better 2015 cycling season.


The 10 Essentials for Fall Cycling

September 4, 2014

fall leavesAs we transition from Summer to Fall, the Colorado mountain colors explode into a vibrant mix of autumn hues. What better way to enjoy the brisk temperatures and vibrant colors of the leaves turning than from the view of mountain bike or road bike? The added bonus is maintaining fitness through the fall and even building it well into the winter months.  Yet to make the transition from Summer to Fall to Winter riding safely, it’s wise to make sure that your bike is working and that you have the proper cycling apparel to keep you warm and also motivated to ride in the cooler temps.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we recommend getting a tune-up, having a set of reliable lights and wearing the right bike clothing. Frequently we’re asked what are the essential cycling apparel to have on hand. Here’s our list:

1. Wind Vest – The wind vest is one of the most used pieces of cool weather gear. It keeps your core body protected from frontal winds, but vents in the rear to keep you from overheating. The wind vest is also very versatile and can be added to different clothing combinations, using it with regular jerseys, winter jerseys, and arm warmers. It’s also easily stowed in a pack or shirt pocket.
2. Wind / Rain Jacket – It’s always a good idea to keep a water resistant jacket handy when rain is in the forecast.
3. Arm Warmers – Arm warmers are a must during the Fall season.  While they don’t take up much room, they are great for temperature control.
4. Full Finger / Windproof Gloves – When riding in cooler temps, one of the first things to freeze is the fingers. Protect your hands with full fingerers and / or windproof gloves.
5. Knickers, Knee Warmers, and Pants – As the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to cover your knees. Many cyclist prefer tights whereas others prefer leg warmers.  There are also knickers which allow more airflow over the legs, and they are good for those in-between days. Consider trying out each option and experiment to dial in your preference.
6. Head Band or Skull Cap – The vents in your helmet that are such an asset during the summer months become a major liability when the temperatures begin to drop. To prevent from losing heat from your scalp, be sure to wear a thin skullcap or headband under the helmet
7. Wool Socks – Keeping your feet dry and warm can be a challenge in the cold weather, but nice wool socks are your best bet.
8. Shoe Covers – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from cold and wind.  There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Toe covers are great for Fall but as you transition to Winter riding, you may wish for a pair that covers your entire foot.
9. Lights – Within a month, the days will be much shorter! Plan ahead and get your lights ready. Get a red blinker for the rear that mounts to the bike or your pack, and a decent headlight for the front.
10. Tool kit – The bicycle tools needed to have on hand in inclement weather matter.  Discover what the best bike parts for fall commuting  and build a tool kit that meets your needs.

Why is all this important?  Because having access to resources, tips, and a supportive environment makes it easier to enjoy all the benefits cycling has to offer.  It gets you outside – on the bike and riding!  Whether you are enjoying the vibrant mix of autumn hues from a scenic country road, a bike path, or a cyclocross race course, fall bike rides in Colorado are the best way to get up close and personal with the season’s colors  while filling up their lungs with crisp Colorado air.


How to Make the Most of Late Season Races

August 28, 2014
Sarah Shull racing in the 2013 Winter Park Gravity Series.  Trail: Cruel and Unusual.

Sarah Shull racing in the 2013 Winter Park Gravity Series. Trail: Cruel and Unusual.

At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.  As the racing season seems to be getting longer and longer, what are the ways to maintain motivation and also – capture added gains towards next year’s goals?

Fortunately, there a variety of options at your disposal!  The post, How to Use a Late Season Race for Motivation, suggest selecting late season races that are fun and also promote fitness.  By keeping it fresh, trying something new, and also, targeting some fitness goals, it can inspire you to lay down some of your best training in your season.

What about adding some skill training?  During peak training periods, bike skills and technique is often overlooked.  Why not consider improving your skills?  The video: Five key skills to improve your bike handling offers great visuals and the post, Body Position on the MTB, dials in where you need to be on the bike to ride your best.  Experimenting late season avoids the risk of injury during peak races but also can offer a new challenge – like learning how to do a track stand.

Finally, show some bike love!  That’s right! Your bike has been training and racing with you all season long! Give your bike a break – replace worn out bike parts.  Maybe even experiment with different or new cycling accessories. Try out a new wheelset or reward yourself with new bike parts and components.  After all, your bike has helped you reach your goals all season long.

Ultimately, late season races should be fun. If you love what you are doing and are having fun with it, then you are setting yourself up for more good stuff to come in the following season!


What You Need to Know to Prep for Cyclocross Season

August 21, 2014

image credit: www.mountainflyermagazine.comIt’s nearly that time of year again – cyclocross season!  Cyclocross is a wonderful way for road cyclists and mountain bikers to extend their competitive seasons and get a head-start on training for next season. The intensity of cyclocross racing provides a training stimulus that’s very difficult to replicate with standard interval training during the fall and winter, especially as the temperatures fall and athletes turn primarily to indoor cycling.

As the season approaches, what do you need to know?  The best approach is a comprehensive one.  Meaning, now is the time to begin planning your season  using goals, monthly progressions, and setting a weekly schedule. For those athletes who want to focus their efforts and manage their time, a good plan is to structure your cyclocross training week.

But what does that look like?  While training time, heart rate and power zones vary, a typical training week usually includes a variety of focused activity. As an example, the post, Preparing for Cyclocross Season, shares more on what you need to include in your training plan.

- Transitioning – this generally takes 4 – 6 weeks so you’ll want to account for that.
– Running – running can be an important part of the race. Incorporating running into your training activity is essential, especially if you aren’t comfortable with it.
– Race Specificity – focus on race intensity and include workouts and drills to prepare yourself for the cyclocross season.
– Bike Handling/Cornering – consider practicing starts, dismounts, remounts, shouldering, cornering, and riding through different conditions, as in, mud and sand. All play an important factor is racing efficiently.
– Equipment choices matter – dial in the best bike parts and and tire choice.  While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts is important, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure.

With a little pre-planning, your 2014 cyclocross season can be very rewarding.  Sure, cyclocross races are very high intensity and extremely demanding; yet, cyclocross as a sport is meant to be fun, otherwise, there wouldn’t be beer handoffs, money pits, crowds heckling the pros, or pros heckling the crowd!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re gearing up for some cowbell cheer!


Will Stage 7 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge Determine the KOM? 

August 14, 2014

2014 US Pro ChallengeJust days away from the start of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, Colorado sports enthusiasts and cycling fans around the world wait with anticipation of yet another phenomenal pro race.  With stunning Colorado backdrops, high adrenaline , high altitude thrills of pro cycling, what’s more to like? Anticipation.  Watching the race unfold as leaders compete for different classification wins is thrilling. Yet, here in Golden, Colorado, we anticipate our very own Lookout Mountain may be the deciding factor in the KOM race.

The 2014 USA Pro Challenge takes place August 18-24 and will test riders’ strength and endurance over a 550-mile course.   The final stage, Stage 7, while titled Boulder – Denver, Golden is where the real racing will happen.  A a breakaway will stick or be caught by the time the riders complete what locals call the Lariat Loop. The climb up Lookout mountain is short and steep and possibly the decider in the KOM race.  The post, On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge – Golden, shares details on what you need to know about the stage and Lookout Mountain.

STAGE 7 : 78 miles  Stage Map PDF   Stage Profile PDF
Boulder – Golden – Lookout Mountain – circuits in Denver
Race Begins: Approximately 12:30 p.m.
Race Ends: Approximately 3:50 p.m.
State Highways Impacted: SH 93, US 40, SH 391 (Kipling Street), SH 121 (Wadsworth), SH 95 (Sheridan), I-25.  (Route and Street Closure information)
Lookout Mountain Closure Friday – Sunday
Lookout Mountain will be closed to all vehicle traffic between white pillars and Buffalo Bill’s entrance. 3:00pm Friday 8/22/14 through 2:00pm Sunday 8/24/14.

About the climb of Lookout Mountain
Length: 5.1 miles
Total elevation: 1,438 ft
Average Grade: 5.3% (7%) (steeper in the corners)
Lookout Mountain climb is called Pillar to Post for the landmarks at the start and finish.

This final stage can be a make it or break it for the KOM race.  The climb up and the descent down the treacherous Lookout Mountain provides an intense challenge on the tour’s final day.  Where’s the best place to watch the pro cyclist on Lookout Mountain? Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop for details on what to do near Golden and the best local places to ride in Golden. Need help before the race? Visit us at BikeParts.com


8 Expert Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Bike Parts, Bicycles, and Bike Components

August 7, 2014
Shimano XT front derailleur

Shimano XT front derailleur

When most walk into our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado, they are confronted by a dazzling display of road bikes, mountain bikes, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel.  It’s enough to make your head spin!

On the flip side, it’s the many questions that are asked of our staff and mechanic’s that make our heads spin!  And, we’re happy about that!  Obviously, we love answering questions and talking about the latest and greatest.  But, general questions usually center around road bike or mountain bike?  Tubeless or not? Full suspension or hard tail?  26”, 27 1/2” or 29” wheel?  You get the picture.  Those are great shop questions that we help answer for our customers.

Yet, there are more sophisticated questions asked.  Ones that take a little more time to explain. Answering those questions, we find the following posts to help explain in further detail.

1.  Technical FAQ: Tire widths, pressures, and more
2.  What Happens When the Six Million Dollar Man (bike) Crashes?
3.  Bike Inspections: A Guide for Injury Free, Enjoyable Spring Cycling  
4.  GoingTubeless? How to use Stans NoTubes 
5.  Bike weight and the myth of ‘fast’ bikes
6.  Ask a Mechanic: Which spare parts should I have on hand?
7.  The Quickest Way To Get Faster? Get a Bike Fit! 
8;  Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know 

Asking good questions about your bike and bike parts leads to having the right bike and gear that not only gets you on the bike, but keeps you riding.  Ride on!


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