How to Cycle Smart and Safely: Register Now for Peak Cycles- Biking 101

April 10, 2014

photo credit: League of American Bicyclist

Have you noticed?  Spring is here!  And you know what that means, right? The cycling season has launched! Hurray!

Now is the time to check your bike for spring riding! Do you have a flat that needs changing? Are your brakes working properly? Is your chain lubed?  Do you need new bike parts?

But wait!  It’s not all about the bike, right? Spring is also the time to reacquaint yourself with bike safety, the rules of the road, and proper cycling etiquette.  During the winter months, it’s easy to forget many of the basics to riding safely on the road.  And, drivers forget to look for cyclist when they are driving as they transition from the winter to springtime.   No fear – help is near!

Join us for a FREE class offered to all cyclists on laws are for cyclists. Learn what the laws are for cyclists; how you legally and appropriately ride on public roads; what the rules are for turning, stopping, passing; your rights and obligations; become educated on bike safety, commuting and much, much more!  REGISTER HERE.

When:
May 5, 2014
6:30 PM

Where:
Peak Cycles
1224 Washington Ave #145
Golden, CO 80401

Who’s it For:
All cyclist – especially new cyclist.  We will provide you materials and guidance, as well as the laws and etiquette you need to take to the roads and trails. You will leave feeling more informed, more secure in your rights and obligations as a cyclist, and more confident and comfortable as you embark on your cycling journey.

Don’t miss out! There will be food, drinks, cycling education, and even bike parts to drool over!  Become a street smart, savvy, safe, educated, conscientious cyclist.   See you on May 5th at 6:30! 

REGISTER TODAY


How Fast Are You?  Your Best Suffer Face Tells All

April 3, 2014
Team Bikeparts.com racer, Jason Kompf, climbing the first of many hills in the Gold Rush Run

Team Bikeparts.com racer, Jason Kompf, climbing the first of many hills in the Gold Rush Run

We’ve all had those moments when you swear you’re cranking it out on the bike, giving it all you’ve got, leaving it all on the table –  and then – you finish the ride and think to yourself, I’ve got more in the tank! I didn’t leave it all out there.  So, how can you tell that you’re working hard enough?  New technological developments may surprise you!

Traditional methods to help you gauge your efforts include heart rate training. There have been many myths  surrounding heart rate training.  For starters, you can only compare heart rate values with your own previous benchmarks. Meaning, comparing your heart rate  with your your friend or your teammate is irrelevant. The reason for this is that we all have a different anatomy of our cardiovascular system.  Also, not being aware of the factors that affect heart rate can be a pitfall in effective application in heart rate monitor use for training.

But on the flip side, power training offers a different type of comparison. Power is power.  Aside from spending endless funds on bike parts, many wonder why they should even buy a power meter.  But aside from taking the guess work out of your workouts, power meters also provide highly accurate details about how your fitness is changing throughout the season.

Yet there’s a new technology to help you analyze your efforts.  A selfie! After years of research and working with top teams and athletes, TrainingPeaks is launching their newest feature that will revolutionize how training loads are measured and quantified: the quantified selfie.  Facial Awareness Strain Technology, or F.A.S.T, uses cutting edge facial recognition technology to help you determine the stress of your training. Simply take a selfie with your phone during a workout and load it into the new app. Within seconds the technology will analyze your photo, determine your effort and give you a F.A.S.T. score.

So now, you have three ways to determine your personal suffer score!  If you do not have a trainer or coach to keep you disciplined during your workout, a heart rate monitor, power meter,  or a quick selfie can be a great substitute. It can tell you when your exercise is falling below your ideal intensity so you can instantly improve your performance.  It can be a great bio feedback tool and also help you to monitor your fitness, prevent overtraining, and take your performance to the next level. Bring on your best selfie!


Bike Inspections: A Guide for Injury Free, Enjoyable Spring Cycling

March 27, 2014

2013 S-Works Demo 8-7 at Peak Cycles Bicycle ShopEnthusiastic 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, bike 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 what you need to know to get your bike in order for spring cycling.

Bike Inspection:  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.

Wheel Inspection: Obvious inspection includes tires, rims, and spokes. Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires.  But maybe you’re considering a new wheel set?  Or perhaps going tubeless on your mountain bike.  Sometimes making changes to your current setup can inspire motivation to get out there and ride.  Check out our video on Wheelset Buyer Guide for What You Need to Know.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bicycle parts, this video will guide your way.

Regular inspection: Bike maintenance can be a chore, but a necessity.  As you ride more through the early season, some things that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential.  There are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order for the early season cycling months.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame.  Rain, snow, mud, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts.  Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.  If you are concerned about how to maintain and clean carbon frames, check out this video for best suggestions.  Don’t forget to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, inspect your brake pads. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.

Pre season bike maintenance and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the bike accessories you need to maintain your bike or let us help you!


Are You Race Ready?

March 20, 2014

Peak Cycles Race TeamThe Spring Racing Season in Colorado is nearly here! With upcoming events like the Louisville Criterium, Front Range Cycling ClassicRidgeline Rampage, and The Koppenberg, road and mountain bike racers are ready to ride. But, don’t think that just showing up on the line is enough.  Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season.

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.

Yet, with road and mountain bike races beginning as early as next month, you need to dial YOU in to your race schedule.  Are YOU 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.

Balancing work, family responsibilities, training and racing is a key component to being mentally and physically ready to tackle the demands of early season races.  As you transition from winter training to spring racing, your mental and physical demands will change.  You need to have a transition plan in place to find balance.

  • Consider making note of conflicting interests.  See what is incongruent with your schedule, your work or family life and commit to sorting things out in a harmonious way.
  • Communicate your needs and expectations to others.  And, on the flip side, let them know what they can expect from you.
  • Plan ahead. Be proactive.  Set specific times for work, family and the bike.
  • Give something back.  If your family supports you in your training and racing, show how much you appreciate it. Combine races with a family outing and maybe promise to take a couple of months off the bike at the end of the season.

You may or may not be at the front of the pack in your early Spring races, but you can definitely show up at the line in good form, race ready, and prepared for a healthy and strong 2014 cycling season.


Off the Back on Training? Dial in Your Training for Spring Racing

March 13, 2014
Spring Racing at Peak Cycles

Spring Racing at Peak Cycles

Daylight savings time is here!  That means longer days and more ride time.  Before you know it, the Spring racing season will be off!

Are you ready?

Like many, the winter weather has many off on the sidelines but there are ways to get in shape just in time for Spring riding.

The trick is efficiency.  With your goals that is. If you aren’t clear on what you are trying to accomplish, chances are, your training will fall short.  The post, Using the “Power of 3″ to Reach your Goals, shares 3 important questions related to positioning your Spring training and racing: What We Want to Do, What We Can Do, What We Did Do.  It illustrates the point that as you go about setting and obtaining your cycling goals, attacking them from 3 different angles will greatly increase your chances for success.

Starting with what you want to do –  it’s important to Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your 2014 Cycling Season. What do you want to accomplish?  When? How do you know you’ve reached your goals?  Making SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goals not only boosts your chances of attaining your goals, but you also  become a better cyclist in the process.  Clearly define your goals for early season riding and racing so that they are realistic yet goal worthy.

Moving on to what you can do –  you can begin now to monitor your efforts and begin incorporating Zone 3 Efforts.  What does that mean?  According to the post, Improve Cycling Endurance Using Zone 3, it means,For cyclists entering into their late base training phases, increasing muscular endurance and strength on the bike needs to become a greater focus. The greater your muscle endurance, the less fatigue you will experience towards the end of a long race and the more intensity you can handle while training.”  Use a power meter, heart rate monitor, and other valid bio feedback tools to optimize your workouts.  Make your time on the bike matter.

Finally, evaluate what you did do.  Did you stick with your training plan? Did you complete your strength training? Have you registered for your upcoming races?  Reflect back on what you said you were going to do and objectively answer – did you do it?  Note where you fell short and why.  You can beat yourself up and feel guilty for missing training.  Or, you can learn from your mishaps and restructure your training plan to accommodate things you have control over.

The post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

The key here – start pedaling.  Longer days means more sunshine and time to ride.  Now’s the time to dial it all in – your goals, your training, your bike parts, and your races for Spring 2014!


How To Create Your Own Spring Training Camp

March 6, 2014
Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Many cyclists like the idea of using a training camp as a perfect way to get into shape for the cycling season.  Yet, due to cost, work and family responsibilities, traveling to a designated week long training camp is not always a viable option.

If you are looking for a spring cycling camp to really challenge yourself and get in some great base miles, consider creating your own spring training camp.

There are a few factors to consider especially the overall goal of the camp. Sure, getting quality training miles is a goal, but more importantly, you may want to focus on improving ride skills and techniques as well as race tactics and strategy. With that in mind, you’ll need to decide how many cyclist to include in your camp.  Evaluate each other’s fitness levels, strengths, and weaknesses and commit to bringing together a group in which all participants have something to contribute, but will also leave having learned something too.

You will want to decide on a local or remote location.  Of course, weather plays a role in this but more so does your goals.  Are you looking for climbing opportunities?  What about long rides on quiet country roads for race scenarios?  Look ahead to your early season races and consider matching the topography of your camp destination with that of your upcoming races.  One way to stimulate race scenarios is to keep it competitive and fun.  Use Strava to track your progress and challenge your friends.

Optimize your time off the bike too.  Grabbing a few beers and some laughs builds camaraderie but sharing bio feedback, heart rate information and evaluating ride power analysis as a group can offer feedback and insights into your training and performance which may have been overlooked otherwise.  Take the time to discuss nutritional requirements – find out what works and what doesn’t for others and maybe add a few suggestions to your upcoming preparations as the season progresses.  And last but not least, focus on a mechanically sound bike.  Rides don’t happen if your bike isn’t it good working order.  Have replacement bike parts, tubes, and cycling accessories on hand to keep you in the saddle and benefiting from your training camp.

Creating your own Spring cycling training camp can be a fun adventure that gets you into shape.  Teaching and learning, challenging rides and  lots of laughter are all key ingredients to fuel the sprit for a successful 2014 cycling season.


Recover Fast from Injury – Get Back on the Bike

February 27, 2014

Bike Fit at BikeParts.comEnthusiastic 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.

Injury is among one of the most challenging experiences you can face as a cyclist. When you’re injured, you almost certainly can’t ride in the way to which you’ve become accustomed–and you’re often not able to ride at all. Obviously, the first rule of thumb is to avoid injury in the first place!  But when an injury or a crash happens, how can you recover from an injury faster?

In the same way that you have goals when you are training and competing, you should have goals set for your rehabilitation. Instead of focusing on what you are missing from not training, focus on what you have to do to heal faster.

Focus on nutrition.  You are what you eat.  If injury is preventing you from sticking to your cycling training plan, consider watching what you eat!  Not to avoid gaining weight, but to improve your recovery time.  The post, What Can I Eat to Recover from Injury?  illustrates the role of omega-3 fats, protein, glucose, and herbal supplements in injury prevention and recovery. What you eat can affect your mindset, motivation, and outlook.

Focus on strengthening your weakness.  Substitute your ride time for other supportive activities. Consider heading to the gym to lift weight and do core workouts.  Or, maybe focusing on stretching and yoga would be most beneficial.  According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.  If you are new to yoga, you may want to experiment with different types of yoga to see which works best for you. Yoga offers many varieties and styles from the slow pace of Hatha yoga, to the fast vigorous pace of Ashtanga yoga. All styles can be beneficial but the most applicable for cyclists are styles that focus on continuous movement. Styles such as Ashtanga, Power, and Kundalini are steady flowing, work through a full range of movements and build great muscle endurance.

Focus on your bike.  Can the Right Bike Parts Make a Difference in Injury Prevention? In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’ve just sustained an injury or you are in recovery, consider the benefits of a professional bike fit.  Having the right bike parts and bike fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.

Focus on Data.  Data, as in metrics, biofeedback, and a training log offer keen insights into your recovery.  The post, 5 Ways to Use Data to Recover from Injury, suggests different ways to track soreness, mood, fatigue, motivation, sleep hours, and sleep quality as key metrics in your recovery program.

Ultimately, training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load. If you push too far, injury and crashes happen.  While many riders understand that recovery is key to getting back on the bike, oftentimes they fail to take their recovery as seriously as they do their training.  Heal faster.  Focus on overall recovery, stretching, hydrating, and resting.  Soon, you’ll be back on the bike in no time with added gains towards overall sports performance.


Injury? Winter Blues? Weather? How to Stay on Track When Missing Training

February 20, 2014

BikeParts.comKeeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult, not to mention the allure of keeping comfortable if you are fighting an injury.  Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet, this time of year, many cyclists – competitive and recreational – are fighting regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, or seasonal illness.

Granted, it is widely accepted in the health and fitness community that exercise has a positive effect on our mind body and spirit.  But how do you make these gains and keep your cycling training on track when you are missing workouts?  Let’s look at some practical steps to fight off those winter blues, manage time better, and overcome injuries so you are in your best form for the 2014 cycling season.

For starters, general fatigue, lack of time, and life in general will always play a role in preventing training and missing training days. So what do you do?  The post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan,  suggest a few options for recalibrating your weekly training schedule.  The big take away is the mindset.

“Often remind yourself of the big picture. It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

But that isn’t an excuse to curl up on that couch!  Motivation is key and weather variances can prevent steady outdoor training.  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.

And finally, if injury is preventing you from sticking to your cycling training plan, consider watching what you eat!  Not to avoid gaining weight, but to improve your recovery time.  The post, What Can I Eat to Recover from Injury?  illustrates the role of omega-3 fats, protein, glucose, and herbal supplements in injury prevention and recovery. What you eat can affect your mindset, motivation, and outlook.

If all else fails, remember, Spring is right around the corner!  Get a bike fit! Purchase new bike parts, and get ready!


Follow Your Heart: Using Commitment to Reach New Heights on the Bike

February 13, 2014

BikeParts.com InspirationCommitment.  A simple word but can be viewed two fold.  Commitment as being dedicated to a cause or an activity.  Or, commitment as an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.

When you think of being committed to your cycling, which definition rings true for you? Like many, both seem true.  While we all like to consider our training plans and racing regimens to be a true testament to our cycling passion, we also face the time restrictions and sacrifices our cycling commitments force us to make.  Cycling can be a loved and hated passion.

Yet, in between loving and hating our two wheeled friends, there are varying degrees of commitment.  While you tell yourself you are pushing the limits in training, or taking on big audacious goals in the new season, you might find there are still new ways to commit.  You may secretly know where your love of the bike is wavering and in true Valentine’s day form – there is an opportunity to stop hiding out and playing it safe.  You can commit on a deeper level to your fitness and well being.

There are a host of ways to embrace commitment.  It all starts with a desire for more – to improve from a present state to a future state.  For many competitive cyclist looking back to the 2013 cycling season, it begins with personal reflection.  Evaluating the past season with objectivity gives insights as to what worked and didn’t work in the previous year. Committing to strengthening and improving on areas of weakness rather than just concentrating on what you do well elevates your skills and experience as a cyclist.

Looking forward to the 2014 season, commitment takes form by asking yourself  what it is you would love to accomplish?  Don’t just play it safe and do the same events year after year.  Step it up.  Commit to something bigger.  Ask more of yourself.  Choose different events – or do the same events – but faster!  Make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound),  but also inspiring.

What other ways can you commit to cycling?  Could it be using your heart rate, or power meter offers options in calculating mileage and other fitness related variables.  Try a new tool and see if it makes adding up the miles a little easier.  Consider getting new bike parts to fuel your newfound commitment to your cycling goals.

Committing yourself to your fondest goals and desires can be comforting while also frightening.  Yet, digging deeper into your dreams and desires and fully committing to their success can be personally rewarding and extremely fulfilling.  Reach new heights on the bike this season – commit to it!


What? 6 More Weeks of Winter! Fat Bike Training Tips to Embrace the Season

February 6, 2014
Fat Bikes at BikeParts.com

Fat Bikes at BikeParts.com

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this past Sunday morning.  We all know what that means – six more weeks of winter.

Less daylight, cold weather and difficulty planning winter workouts all contribute to less time on the bike.  But, if you want to get better, faster and more efficient on the bike, then guess what? You got to put your time in.  So what do you do?  

Fortunately, last year we wrote about Ways to Pedal the Winter Blues Away with four suggestions to keep motivation high: build a support structure, set up the right training environment, get some visual stimulation, and compete.  Yes, you read that last one right – compete.  And not later in the season – now.  Yep, most of the country is under snow and cold temps but competition is still going strong. On fat bikes that is.

Fat Bikes Are Big in Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and other parts of the country. And racing fat bikes is the ultimate in beating wintertime cycling blues.  Aside from racing fat bikes to keep fit, what makes a fat bike so desirable?  An Ode to the Fat Bike sums it up best.

“The big tires make you ride differently. The extra traction allows you to lean harder in to turns. The extra weight encourages you to take more time to absorb the surroundings. The knowledge that you can turn off trail and go exploring where you like is freeing. And the rooster tail of snow you kick up in turns and the slip-sliding through curves and down steeps feels ridiculous and hilarious and absolutely entertaining.” —Aaron Gulley

So get in on the action!  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to ride, test ride, and buy a fat bike.  Grab some bike parts, gear, extra tires and you’re on your way.  All you have to do now is sign up for one of the upcoming fat bike races on the Western front!  And, if you are uber competitive, check out this  post on  How to set up a fat bike tubeless.  

The Mountain Fat Bike Series Calendar:

  • Grand Targhee Snow Bike Race  -  Saturday, January 18, 2014. Alta, Wyoming
  • Abominable Fatbike Race (Colorado Fatbike Championship) - Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:30am. Como, Colorado
  • Snowy Range Snowbike Challenge - Saturday, February 1, 6pm. Snowy Range Ski Area, west of Centennial, Wyoming
  • Tennessee Pass Night Jam - Saturday, February 8, 7pm.  Leadville, Colorado
  • Mineral Belt Mayhem – Saturday, March 1, 7pm. Leadville, Colorado
  • 28 Below – March 22, 2014.  Black Hills, South Dakota

2013 Giant Anthem X Advanced 1 – 29 DEMO

February 1, 2014

Every year we choose a high-end selection of the most capable and impressive bikes available and maintain them as a demo fleet.  These bikes are selectively ridden by customers considering purchasing that model of bike from the store.  Our demo fleet is fully maintained and serviced by the technicians at the shop during their one season of use.  After the fall riding season is finished, we tear the bikes down to the frame, clean, service and detail everything and then reassemble and tune the bikes.  Following this, we put the bikes on our sales floor at incredible prices!

One of the few bikes we have remaining is this size large Giant Anthem X Advanced 29er.  With 4 inches of ultra-efficient Maestro suspension, an Advanced Composite Technology front triangle and full Shimano XT 2×10 drivetrain, this bike is ready for any XC race or all-day adventure you dare to throw at it.  Giant’s PXCR-1  wheels are kept in perfect contact with the trail by a Rock Shox SID fork and Monarch shock, both of which compliment the high performance and low weight of the wheels.  Aside from a few cosmetic scratches, the bike is in quite good condition.  This bike is on sale for $3,120 – check out the item page on bikeparts.com!  Jump past the break to see why so many people bought Anthems after riding this one!

2013 Giant Anthem X 29 Adv DEMO-3

2013 Giant Anthem X 29 Advanced

Read the rest of this entry »


Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You?

January 30, 2014

shutterstock_139589627Cycling has many healthful benefits.  Yet, it’s not a complete exercise in itself.  Meaning,  regular stretching is needed to lengthen and stretch the muscles to keep them optimum for prolonged riding.  Have you ever wondered if yoga is for you?  According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.

You might wonder why to do yoga over a quick stretch here or there? Where yoga excels over the usual stretch-it-out routine is thoroughness. A simple yoga routine can warm up, strengthen and stretch all the major muscles groups before you’ve even started targeting anything specific.

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.

The next question – how to get started?  Consider first where you are in your training and racing season.  In the offseason yoga can be used as a workout to build strength, whereas during the peak season it should be used as a recovery tool.

Next, if you are new to yoga, you may want to experiment with different types of yoga to see which works best for you. Yoga offers many varieties and styles from the slow pace of Hatha yoga, to the fast vigorous pace of Ashtanga yoga. All styles can be beneficial but the most applicable for cyclists are styles that focus on continuous movement. Styles such as Ashtanga, Power, and Kundalini are steady flowing, work through a full range of movements and build great muscle endurance.

Another option to consider is whether or not you want to take a class, opt for an online course, or just follow along with pictures in a blog post like this one.  There are tons of videos available to purchase too.

Many cyclist struggle with having enough time to ride their road bike  much less make time for yoga.  Yet, online yoga classrooms are starting to cater specifically to the athlete-turned-yogi making it easier to fit yoga into the day. One in particular, YogaGlo, has an entire section dedicated to yoga for cyclists with classes ranging from 5 minutes up to a full 60 minute class and targeting everything from shortening recovery time to supporting your knees. They also offer a 15-day free trial for new members, so you’ve nothing to lose.  A nice option considering you can check the program out without compromising the purchase of upcoming bike parts  for the new season.

Some other great yoga resources include:

  • My Yoga Online - yoga video classes offering a huge range of styles and classes for working specific areas or issues.
  • Yoga Journal - online yoga magazine with a comprehensive index of yoga poses, including correct alignment, how to safely perform the pose and benefits.
  • Google - find out where your nearest yoga studio is, and get signed up!

If you are a cyclist and haven’t started doing yoga than what are you waiting for? Yoga could just be the missing piece in your daily routine.


Do You Know the Right Way to Train?

January 23, 2014
Charlie Knoll racing the 2012 Teva Games, Pro category

Charlie Knoll racing the 2012 Teva Games, Pro category

Your heart is pumping, your legs are burning, and you’re dripping enough sweat to put out a small forest fire.

You are suffering.

But is your suffering worthwhile?  Are you “just riding” every day without a strategic approach to your training?  Are your efforts hard enough to force physical adaptations? Do you take easy days for recovery so you can repeat your critical workouts?

Having a strategic approach and structured training means every workout has a purpose.  Every step, pedal and stroke is being performed with the confidence it’s the right thing to do and performed the right way.  The post, The Right Way to Train, shares four essential components of deliberate practice, and based on these four components, there is a 4-step process that embodies the right way to train:

  1. Set a specific goal
  2. Get expert instruction
  3. Perform structured training
  4. Get immediate feedback

Having a strategic approach includes not only having the tools needed, but also, including a comprehensive plan.  Meaning, a plan that includes training on the bike and off the bike.  Daily nutrition and sleep habits play a vital role in training properly.  Managing your overall stress levels, including time management, ensures  proper recovery.

As you prepare for your 2014 season as an athlete, make sure you have all of the components to training “the right way” to achieve your goal.

Having ambition goals for the season is great.  Discover what you need to support your training in reaching those goals.  Do you need a cycling coach? Maybe you need a bike fit or training software? Having the right tools, systems, habits, and overall strategy in place can make the difference between suffering through your season with disappointment or making big gains in reward and satisfaction.


5 of the Hottest Mountain Bikes for 2014 – With Photos!

January 16, 2014
S-Works cranks were also redesigned for 2014, shedding weight and gaining stiffness... and the previous generation was already one of the stiffest and lightest available.

S-Works cranks were also redesigned for 2014, shedding weight and gaining stiffness… and the previous generation was already one of the stiffest and lightest available.

If you are looking for a new mountain bike for 2014, you have just one problem — which great bike is for you.  With advanced technology, upgraded bike parts and components, and redesigned bike geometry, mountain bikers have more choices than ever when deciding on a quality ride.

Read on to see what our top picks are for 2014. But don’t just take a word for it – stop by the Peak Cycles Bike Shop to ride one for yourself!

2014 S-Works Epic 29
For those looking to race the most technically advanced, efficient, lightweight and highly-regarded machine in the history of mountain biking, the only bike to consider is the 2014 S-Works Epic 29. Spec’d with only the most top-of-the-line bike parts available for each component and brimming with new technology, the 2014 model is the first major redesign since the bike’s introduction.  Weight has been dropped, stiffness increased and suspension performance improved, making this the best Epic 29 yet.  Check out photos here.

The New Revolution is Here: 2014 Giant Trance 
With the benefits of both a 29er and 26er, 27.5 inch wheels have made a big splash in the mountain bike world this year.  One of the brands leading the charge with light, high-performance and affordable 27.5 bikes is Giant.  The 2014 Trance represents the culmination of incredible research and development as well as rider testing under the likes of Adam Craig and Carl Decker.  We have a few of these in the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop (and one for demo!).  See pictures here.

2014 S-Works Stumpjumper HT
Weighing in at 20 lbs. out-of-the-box for a size large, this year’s Stumpjumpers are lighter than ever.  Redesigned and made better, this year’s S-Works Stumpjumper HT is lighter, stiffer and packed with more technology than ever.  Take a look.

2014 S-Works Enduro 29
One of the most anticipated bikes of the year, the Enduro 29 is the most versatile two wheeled machine out there.  At just over 27.5 lbs, the S-Works model is bound to make its rider the happiest and most capable on the trail!  This bike comes spec’d with an excellent mix of bike parts that make it the best Enduro/All-Mountain rig on the market. Check it out.

2014 Specialized Fatboy Expert 
Fatbikes are big in Colorado. You can see why – The expert level Fatboy offers unparalleled performance in snow, ice and otherwise nasty conditions. Get off your trainer and on to a Fatboy bike.  Take a look.

Which ones are your favorites?


Post Holiday Blues? What To Do When You Are Lacking Cycling Motivation

January 2, 2014

Motivation is the foundation all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, 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.

But when the weather is poor, sunlight is at a minimum, and riding conditions are less than ideal, what do you do?  Add to the fact that the holidays are now over with not much to look forward to between now and Spring and race season, many find the added holiday weight gain and winter conditions to be a downer on motivation. How do you stay motivated to ride?

The reason motivation is so important is that it is the only contributor to sports performance over which you have control. Much like training your physical body for the challenges of cycling, motivation is built too – it is not stumbled upon.  Following are 5 ways to build your motivation muscle:

Have a goal.  As you are considering your new goals for 2014, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with an objective, yet critical eye.  Too loft of a goal may be intimidating and back fire on you.  The post, Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your 2014 Cycling Season offers 10 key questions for evaluation and proper goal setting for your 2014 season.  Make intermediate and long term goals to keep you inspired to do your daily workouts. 

Fine tune your fitness – use a heart rate monitor or power meter. Sure, heart rate monitors and power meters have been around for a while now, but how effectively are you using them?  Learning what what you need to know about the nuances, ranges, and data interpretation can make a difference in just getting a workout in versus targeting a specific workout in which you hit numbers and are motivated to get after it again the next day. 

Make friends with the trainer.  Nobody likes riding the trainer much less riding it for consecutive days in a row, but there are ways to overcome trainer woes  to eliminate boredom and support your training.  Read the post here for ideas on the best equipment to use and tips for trainer workouts.  Try different approaches, times of day, and lengths of workouts to keep your trainer workouts fresh.

Dial it in!  Your body and your bike – that is!  Have you gained weight during the holiday season?  Check out Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains -   for easy ways to drop the pounds.  And, consider getting a bike fit.  Yes, a bike fit.  We’ve heard about them, talked about them, but somehow, most of us don’t get one.  And why not?  They say the quickest way to get faster on the bike is with a bike fit.  Sure, fit impacts comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how you ride. Meaning it directly affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. Dialing  in your body and your bike parts will keep you motivated as you discover how the new changes positively affect your time on the bike.

Train your brain.  How are you training your brain? We think of discipline as a form of training or exercising the brain but use the power of visualization to motivate yourself and accomplish you 2014 season goals. The post, The Power of Mental Suffering offers key insights as to how thought creates a powerful reality.

Ultimately, motivation is not something that can be given to you. Rather, motivation must ultimately come from within.  Just like the passion you have for cycling.  Dig deep, find what inspires you, connect with that and pedal your way to a successful 2014 cycling season.  Happy New Year friends!


Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your 2014 Cycling Season

December 26, 2013
Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

While the year may not be quite over, many are already planning their 2014 race and cycling season.  Sure, it’s fun to have lofty new goals, new ambitions, and new venues to fuel your cycling passions through the winter months and holiday season, but not pausing to reflect on what has recently come to pass during the previous season is missing a valuable opportunity to make personal gains that only you can make.   Personal reflection offers insights to truly optimize your training and racing regimen.

Before setting your sights on new goals for 2014, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with an objective, yet critical eye.  The post, Athlete-Coach Season Review, poses 10 questions to review your past season’s performance:

  • What was the highlight of your season (for example, best race or greatest accomplishment)?Why?
  • What was your greatest disappointment? Why?
  • Review your top three goals for this season. Do you feel these were achieved?
  • What did you do in training this season that you feel made you faster?
  • What did you do in training this season that you feel was not productive?
  • If you could change your training, mental preparation, or race tactics/strategy this past season, what would you do differently?
  • Was there anything missing in your training this season?
  • Do you feel that you trained enough and worked hard enough in training this season?
  • Do you feel that you had adequate rest during training and before races?
  • Do you have any extra comments and insights on this season?

With these personal insights in mind, you are better equipped to plan and execute a rewarding and successful 2014 cycling season.  Take the lessons and insights from these questions to make SMART goals for 2014.  When you make your resolutions SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound), not only do you boost your chance of  attaining your goals, but you also  become a better cyclist in the process.  Aside from the traditional resolutions to ride more, to lose weight, and to explore new rides, consider taking on some different resolutions.  Explore how these suggestions can add to your training or mental preparation for the upcoming season.

Set a personal goal for the miles you want to ride in 2014.  Using a cycling computerheart rate monitor, or power meter offers options in calculating mileage and other fitness related variables.  Try a new tool and see if it makes adding up the miles a little easier.

Learn to maintain your own bike. For some, bike maintenance  can be a chore, but having the right set of bike components and tools can make all the difference.  Consider creating a pre-ride bike check or an ongoing maintenance program to follow.  Bike maintenance can be a great way of engaging in your cycling passion the whole year long.

Bike commute and do it more often. Bike commuting improves fitness, health, saves money, and also benefits the environment by keeping one less car on the road.  If you aren’t a bike commuter now, maybe in 2014 you will be.  And, if you already bike commute, perhaps resolve to commute by bike more frequently.

Inspire others to get out and ride.  Bike inspiration comes in many forms, from DVD‘s, to books, to new bikes and bike parts, to riding with others.  Share your bike passion with others in ways that are meaningful and inspiring to them.  How many friends do you think you could inspire to be two wheeled friends in 2014?

Give Back.  Cycling by nature brings out the best in us all.  Consider volunteering your time, skills, or resources at local bike races and bike events.  Event participants will be in your gratitude but you may get back more than you give!  Many volunteers are inspired to participate, race, or take on bigger goals than they previously imagined due to volunteering and helping others to reach their goals.

Commit to a Positive Attitude.   Nothing is more contagious than a positive attitude!  Resolve in 2014 to embrace power thoughts and bike parts that motivate you to get on your bike and ride. Surround yourself with fellow cyclist aiming for similar goals.  Remember, your attitude determines your altitude.

For cyclist, attaining goals is part motivation, part perspiration, and part having the right tools to help you reach your goals.   Here’s to a bright and rewarding New Year ahead!


Heart Rate Training – What You Need to Know

December 19, 2013
BPC384363

CatEye CC-GL50 GPS Stealth 50 Cycling Computer: Heart Rate and Cadence Enabled

Heart rate monitors are a funny thing – they can be completely useless or extremely valuable depending on how you use them. Heart rate training has been viewed in many ways over the years, from very precise to not so precise. Now, a growing number of coaches and exercise physiologists support the use of heart rates as an important part of biological feedback, as heart rates are a direct reflection of what is happening internally.

But first, what myths do you need to bust around heart rate monitoring for cycling training?  For starters, you can only compare heart rate values with your own previous benchmarks. Meaning, comparing your heart rate  with your your friend or your teammate is irrelevant. The reason for this is that we all have a different anatomy of our cardiovascular system.  Also, not being aware of the factors that affect heart rate can be a pitfall in effective application in heart rate monitor use for training.

So how do you get started?  The post, The Variables and Trends of Heart Rate Training,  walks you through the steps of learning your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate.

But before you begin to analyze data, you actually have to have a heart rate monitor to get started!  Following our our staff picks at Peak Cycles Bike Shop:

If you do not have a trainer or coach to keep you disciplined during your workout, a heart rate monitor can be a great substitute. It can tell you when your exercise is falling below your ideal intensity so you can instantly improve your performance.  It can be a great bio feedback tool and also help you to monitor your fitness, prevent overtraining, and take your performance to the next level.


Don’t Be a Hater! Overcoming Trainer Woes

December 12, 2013
BPC346482

CycleOps Saris Jet Pro Fluid Trainer at BikeParts.com

As a cyclist, you can either hate the winter, or make the best of it. Some bundle up and dress to embrace the winter chill while others opt for the dreaded trainer. Yet, why do so many cyclist dread the trainer?

Maybe it’s not having the right equipment. Could it be boredom? Or, perhaps it is a lack of discipline.   There are ways to combat all three and make the trainer work for you. Here’s how!

Equipment
Having the right equipment can make your indoor workouts less boring and more effective. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, indoor riding clothes, a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but according to the post, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trainer, it can make all the difference in the world.

Boredom
Sometimes seeing is believing!  Visual effects can have a powerful role in motivation.  Pop in a DVD training video or select a few YouTube clips to get your mind in the game.  Posters, a vision board, books, maps, or pictures of upcoming races can trigger your motivation to not only get on the bike, but maybe even dig a little deeper than you would have otherwise.

A growing and popular option is Cadence TV. It offers the flexibility to log on at any time from any computer that is connected to the internet. You can choose from hundreds of workouts in all different categories. Up pops the workout with your specific Power, HR and PE zones listed. You can see what interval you are doing now, how much time is left in the interval and what is coming up. Using Cadence TV makes it easy because you can just follow what’s on the screen.  The best part?  At $4/month you can’t beat the price.

Discipline
Create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your trainer training time then.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable.

One way to do this is to avoid long rides on the trainer all together. Year round strength training for cyclists matters and substituting your indoor rides with strength training will do more for your cycling later on in the season than doing another trainer session.  In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan your time on the trainer accordingly.

Indoor rides are not a replacement for outdoor rides but with the right equipment and a little planning, indoor rides can be fun and beneficial.


Team Bike: Sam Cory’s new S-Works Demo 8

December 12, 2013

After just one season of racing, the Peak Cycles/Bikeparts.com Gravity Team has proven to be one of the premier downhill squads in Colorado.  One of the junior riders, Sam Cory, just got his race bike for the upcoming season built up.  He’ll be riding a team-replica S-Works Demo 8, size large.  Weighing in at 35 pounds and featuring the most advanced technology in the gravity game, this bike has proven to be the best choice for downhill racers.  A Cane Creek Double Barrel shock, Rock Shox Boxxer Blackbox fork, Avid X0 gravity build kit and a mixture of Renthal and SDG cockpit components illustrate the bike’s pedigree.  The build is rounded out by DT-Swiss DH rims laced to DT-240s hubs.

Jump past the break to check out the bike Sam will be shredding for 2014!

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Sam’s brand new S-Works Demo 8, team replica.

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2014 Specialized Fatboy

December 9, 2013

Never one to be left out of all the fun, Specialized has joined Trek and many small brands in debuting a fatbike for the 2013/2014 winter.  However, unlike Trek and many other brands, the Fatboy is mass produced in great numbers and available world-wide.  With a carbon fork, press-fit bottom bracket and Sram 2×10 drivetrain, the Fatboy is definitely one of the more race-ready fatbikes available.  The Fatboy also shares the same geometry as the legendary Specialized Stumpjumper, the first and longest mass-produced mountain bike in the world.  Not just for racers, though, the frame has rear rack mounts for long rides and multi-day fun!

We’ve got a Fatboy in the shop just in time for winter here in Golden.  Jump past the break to see what bike parts and features make this fatbike stand out from the rest!

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(Photo: Specialized Bicycle Components)

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