4 Ways to Make the Most of Late Summer Riding 

August 27, 2015
Late Summer Riding at BikeParts.com

Late Summer Riding at BikeParts.com

At the beginning of the cycling season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most cyclist. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.  As the cycling 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? With spring and summer riding in the legs, it’s important to put your late-season form and fitness to good use.   Fortunately, there are no shortage of ways to enjoy life on two wheels through September.  

Dress for success!
As we transition from summer to fall, the Colorado mountain colors explode into a vibrant mix of autumn hues. 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. We have the best cycling apparel for late summer / early fall heat.  Consider factors to consider in cycling apparel for this time of year include: ventilation, storage, water access, and rain/wind gear.  As we transition to night time riding, high visibility gear for night time riding is important too! If you haven’t stopped by the shop recently, you may want to check out our hot store items such as Endure pro race cape and Liv shorts and jersey. 

Try Cyclocross!
Cyclocross season is nearly upon us!  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.  If you are veteran of cyclocross, consider focusing on skill development to keep things fresh.  Favorites to practice leading into the season include practicing starts, dismounts, remounts, shouldering, cornering, and riding through different conditions, as in, mud and sand. All play an important factor is racing efficiently.  If you are new to cyclocross, check out our  cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  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.  

Ride a Fat Bike!
If cyclocross isn’t your thing, maybe a fat bike is! While some consider fat bikes a trend, they are actually steadily growing in popularity.  Because fat bikes behave much like a mountain bike, they can be ridden in a variety of conditions and are extremely versatile.  Check out our post,  Top Fat Bike FAQ’s for answers to your fat bike questions.  Or, stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and take a test ride to see which one is best for you!  

Embark on a Gravel Grinder Adventure!
Gravel grinder events are growing in popularity and because of the informal nature of them, you can somewhat create your own event! Perfect for late summer riding to explore new terrain while maintaining fitness.  Specifically, gravel road races and rides combine riding on surfaces such as asphalt, gravel, dirt, some singletrack trails and maintenance or B roads. The courses vary from hard-packed dirt to softball-sized rocks. The distance usually ranges between 50 and 150 miles, but can be even longer.  What makes this riding great is that you can ride your cyclocross bike, mountain bike, or even your fat bike! A fun way to explore! 

All in all, the fall season can be an opportunity to rest and recharge while still maintaining fitness on the bike. 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.  Enjoy! 

10 Reasons to Visit Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop During Stage 7 of the USA Pro Challenge

August 20, 2015
Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, CO

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, CO

The 2015 USA Pro Challenge is on!  With only 3 days before the final stage, pro cyclist will race a short loop north of Golden before tackling the main obstacle of the day, the 4-mile climb of Lookout Mtn.  The final stage from Golden to Denver on August 23 is proven to be stellar spectating.  And what better way to have the best spectating experience during the race than to stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop during Stage 7 of the USA Pro Challenge.  Here’s why!

1. 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! Enjoy the delightful appeal of a local, mountain town bicycle shop.
2. Located in the heart of Golden, on Washington Avenue, Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is strategically placed offering you one of the best places to watch the pro cyclist through Golden, Colorado.
3. Not only that, Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop will be open this Sunday 9-11 and 1-4.
4. We’ll have food and drinks for a USA Pro Challenge party on Sunday.
5. Best yet – we will be selling USA Pro Challenge T-shirts in the store all week.
6. You love the USA Pro Challenge and so do we! We’ve been involved in supporting the race since the inaugural race. Support the locals who support the race!
7. Make good use of your day. During the break between the women’s race and the men’s race, you can get your bike fix on!
Browse through our road bikes and mountain bikes like Giant, and Specialized and check out our specialty bike parts.  Our highly rated bike parts and components have become favorites among many.
8. In fact, make the day memorable and pick up a select few bike parts, cycling accessories, or cycling apparel.
9. Get your bike questions answered.  We love answering questions and talking about the latest and greatest. 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.
10. Last but not least, the best reason to visit Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop during the Pro Cycling Challenge is because we love cycling! As avid local cycling advocates as well as sharing our expertise on the web at bike parts.com, we encourage cyclist of all levels to embrace our fabulous sport.
See you Sunday and good luck to all racing the USA Pro Challenge!

Gravel Grinders: The New Cycling Adventure     

August 13, 2015
Team Rider at BikeParts.com

Team Rider at BikeParts.com

Gravel what?  Yep! You read it right – gravel grinders!  Gravel Grinder 101: are popping up all over the country.  Generally, they are unsanctioned, unsupported endurance bicycle races on primarily gravel and dirt roads, with little or no outside support, course markings, fees or prizes. There are no governing bodies, race officials, or licenses. Just a dedicated race organizer and some volunteers plotting out a unique course highlighting local, out-of-the-way sights and sounds, with unapologetic bike geeks gathering for a long day of riding.  For many cyclist, gravel grinder experiences are the newest and most sought after events.  Here’s why these races are growing in popularity.  

Gravel Grinder Racing: What You Need to Get Started are gravel road races and rides that combine riding on surfaces such as asphalt, gravel, dirt, some singletrack trails and maintenance or B roads. The courses vary from hard-packed dirt to softball-sized rocks. The distance usually ranges between 50 and 150 miles, but can be even longer. Two of the most popular events are the Dirty Kanza 200 and the Trans Iowa, which are both over 200 miles long.  Cyclist ride an assortment of bikes.  Over the past few years, the market for gravel grinder specific bikes has exploded. These bikes are similar to cyclocross bikes but have a geometry that’s more suitable for riding all day as opposed to short, one-hour races.

Yet, you’ll see many on mountain bikes and more cyclist tend to ride cyclocross bikes.  If you’re curious about an event, don’t shy away from it because you don’t have the “right” bike. Just get the right bike parts and cycling accessories to meet your needs.  Because of the terrain type, you’ll be riding through dirt, dust, and possibly mud and sludge.  With that being said, you’ll definitely want to liberally coat your chain with chain lube and be sure to carry a small container of chain lube with you on your ride.  

You might be wondering what is the appeal of a gravel grinder race? Basically, it’s adventure!  Gravel races usually offer up the “most adventurous” roads of your area.  These can be forest roads, minimum maintenance roads,or an abandoned jeep road. Don’t let this intimidate you if it’s something you don’t typically ride. Most of these roads lead you to something pretty cool, like an old farmstead, bridge, a beautiful hidden valley or grand vista. The adventure rests in exploring areas you typically wouldn’t explore.

Making the best of the adventure is training properly for a gravel grinder. Gravel grinders bring together different disciplines of cycling. First, the courses are designed to be technically difficult requiring good bike handling skills. Second, depending on the location, the route could be very hilly and offer different types of climbs from short and steep to long sections. Finally, most gravel grinders are lengthy, not necessarily in distance, but in time required to complete them.  Read, How to Train for a Gravel Grinder for more tips on training for a gravel grinder event. 

Why not try something new?  Embrace the new cycling discipline! Try a new adventure!  Why? Because with any given gravel grinder event, there’s an adventure out there waiting for you! 

Guide to Spectating the USA Pro Challenge in Golden, Colorado 2015

August 6, 2015

image credit www.cyclingnews.comJust weeks away from the start of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge, Colorado sports enthusiasts and cycling fans around the world wait with anticipation of yet another phenomenal pro race. From August 17-23, leading cyclists from around the world will battle it out in Colorado during the USA Pro Challenge, a seven-day professional stage race that winds 617 miles around the state.  One million people are expected to check out the race, which—now in its fifth year—is the largest spectator event in Colorado.  Nine cities are hosting the race this year, including Golden, Colorado.

This year, in addition to hosting the final stage start of the 7-day race, Golden will also host the finish for the first-ever Women’s USA Pro Challenge race. This elite, invitation-only women’s race will take place over three days, kicking off in Breckenridge on August 21 and ending in Golden on August 23.

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop has been local supporters of the race since its inaugural year.  Spectators, travelers, and locals alike visit our shop asking for ride directions to ride the race route through Golden and the best places to spectate during the race.  Here’s what you need to know!

Stage 3 – Women’s USA Pro Challenge
August 23, 2015 –  10:30 AM –  Golden, Colorado – The start line for the women’s race is on Washington Avenue, between 12th & 13th Streets.
Start Time: 10:30 am – Estimated Finish: 11:30am

The women have tested their time trial legs and their climbing legs, now it’s time to test their elbows in some shoulder to shoulder technical circuit racing served up Colorado style in Golden.

This final stage is no mere promenade or flat four corner coronation for the current leader. With hills, technical corners, and plenty of time bonuses up for grabs on this tight 1.5 mile circuit, the overall winner will have to prove their worthiness for one more day. If they survive this circuit they will truly be a worthy winner of the first-ever Women’s USA Pro Challenge and will have proved their skill in all disciplines of the sport.

Stage 7 – Men’s USA Pro Challenge
August 23, 2015 –  1:00 PM -The start line for the women’s race is on Washington Avenue, between 12th & 13th Streets.
Start time: 1:10 pm – Estimated finish: 3:45 pm

For a finale, the Pro Challenge goes back to its roots. This route was the final stage of the first Pro Challenge in 2011 and introduced the world to the cycling crowds on the Front Range.  After a short loop north of Golden the race will tackle its main obstacle of the day, the 4-mile climb of Lookout Mountain. Another quick pass of Golden and the race is screaming through Wheat Ridge and Lakewood en route to downtown Denver. Four laps of the familiar Denver circuit await and Civic Center Park, City Park, and 17th street will be treated to blazing speeds as the last prizes of the week are fought over tooth and nail.

The highlight of the stage is the Lookout Mountain climb.

  • 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.
  • The climb up and the descent down the treacherous Lookout Mountain provides an intense challenge on the tour’s final day.

So, where are the best places to watch the pro cyclist through Golden, Colorado?  Anywhere along the route for either the women’s or the men’s course will be a great place to see the action!  Lookout Mountain is a popular viewing area, as the riders climb and change position. Check out the route maps and stake out your spot!

The real question is, if you only have a  weekday off in Denver, how would you use it?  The final stage from Golden to Denver on August 23 will be stellar spectating. Start your day watching the climb up Lookout Mountain in Golden, then enjoy the Local Golden Festival in Parfet Park, from 9 am – 4 pm.  Local merchants and organizations will be on hand to showcase their businesses.

During the break between the women’s race and the men’s race, you can wander downtown and grab a bite to eat, visit one of the food vendors in the park, or grab a beer and watch all the race action on the Jumbo Tron. Of course, we’d love it if you stop by the shop, Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.

Make the day memorable and pick up a select few bike parts, cycling accessories, or cycling apparel. We’re loving the good cycling vibe that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge brings to our state.  Good luck to all racing the ProCycling Challenge!

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

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