Solving the Bike Nutrition Mystery

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

1st Endurance EFS at BikeParts.com

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

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

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

As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition.  While riding, many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel – whether that is in nutrition bars, gels, and liquids. However, oftentimes, a course may dictate other options.  As in, for mountain bike riders, a technical course may present obstacles in taking solid food while riding versus taking fluids.  Furthermore, as the post suggest, “having all of these different (nutrition) options can tend to create confusion and challenges for athletes as to which is ideal and which is best for them. In addition, choosing the right type of fuel depends on many factors such as duration, intensity and what type of activities such as cycling, running or multisport.” The end result: experimentation during training and early season will aid in dialing in proper race day nutrition for your “A” races and events.

But what happens when all the nutrition planning goes wrong? What if you have stomach issues while training and racing?  How do you know what the cause is and what to do about it? As noted in, Stomach Issues while racing – Possible causes and solutions, poor pacing can easily lead to stomach issues, ingesting too many carbohydrates and or too much protein can be another possible cause for stomach issues, as well as too many surges within a long duration race can lead to a shutdown or at the least a slowdown of digestive ability.

Ultimately, solving the bike nutrition mystery is about using your early season training to dial in your bike, bike parts, and nutrition.  Preparing well and listening to your body is the key to minimizing physical issues and optimizing training efforts for success later in the year.


A Different Take On the Benefits of Training Indoors

February 26, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Top Fat Bike FAQ’s

February 19, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

February 12, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Winter Cycling: How to Enjoy It with Winter Layering Basics

February 5, 2015
Jesse of BikeParts.com all bundled up in his winter cycling apparel

Jesse of BikeParts.com all bundled up in his winter cycling apparel

Cyclist ride in all weather conditions – from hot sun to cold and snowy conditions.  Now that winter is officially here, staying warm on the bike is crucial.   But how?  What is the best way to layer clothing for winter riding?

When you are riding, you want to balance your warmth and comfort with the intensity of your bike ride. If you are really bundled up when you start riding, you will likely want to start shedding layers. It may feel good to sweat in 25 degree weather, but you want clothes that are both breathable, wind-stopping, and sometimes waterproof. You also want to evaluate the type of ride you are doing? Is this a training ride? Will you be working really hard? Or are you just going to work?  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado, we’ve been asked all of these questions.  Here is what we have found works, and works best!

Head: You can wear a buff or a cap. Buffs are really good for neck protection as well. Another option are balaclavas – especially so if you want to keep almost your entire face warm.

Eyewear: Sunglasses with yellow or orange lenses help to reduce the undulating motion of the snow surface. You can also get a solution to put on the lens to reduce moisture build up and prevent fogging.  While not as stylish as some of the cycling eyewear we carry on BikeParts.com, you could consider wearing goggles to help protect our eyes and face in snowy conditions.

Upper Body: The key with upper body warmth and comfort in the winter is layering.  Here in Colorado, as in other parts of the country as well, temperatures can change pretty quickly.  It’s best to plan ahead based on varying conditions, as well as, plan for your workout requirements.  You might find that you are either over dressed when you start working hard. Suggestions we make to customers include:

First: A light, long-sleeved jersey that has pockets in the back is a good base layer and gives you the opportunity to put extra cloths in the back pockets. Second: Put another thermal layer on top of the long-sleeved jersey. You want something fairly light, warm, and breathable. Finally, third: You want to top your upper body layering with a wind-stopper jacket that deflects wind and preferably is also waterproof.  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle shop and see which brand fits you best: Endura, Mavic, or Pearl Izumi.

Hands: Cold hands makes it hard to maneuver the bike.  Definitely go for long-figured gloves or liner gloves with thicker gloves.  Fatbike riders may opt for porgies.

Lower Body: In the winter you want to have something covering your entire legs.  Fleece lined chamois are often a good choice. Many bikers also use cross country ski tights under their biking shorts.  Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop has Endura and Mavoc pants, chamois, which will all be good down to about 10 degrees.  There are also waterproof pants to keep the wet off your legs. This is important if you are riding in snowy conditions.

Feet: Who likes cold toes? Nobody!  It’s really important to keep the feet warm on winter rides.  Road and mountain bike cyclist may opt for thick wool socks.  Fatbike riders will want to go with insulated shoes with thick socks. If you can get waterproof shoes, that is even better. There are a number of options out there depending on if fatbike riders  want to ride with flat pedals or clip less pedals. Riding your fat bike in the winter, you can ride with winter snow boots which will keep your feet warm. If you are riding with clipless pedals, Specialized and other companies make insulated biking boots.  Regardless of what type of bicycle you are riding, polypropelene shoe covers are a must when keeping your feet warm because they deflect wind. You can also carry chemical toe warmers in case your feet get really cold.

Seeing is believing.  See for yourself how to layer for winter cycling. Check out our very own video – a great resource outlining when to add certain layers at certain temperatures.


Where to Ride Your Fatbike in Colorado

January 29, 2015

Fatbikes at BikeParts.comFat Biking is abuzz in Colorado. Colorado is already a favorite state for cyclists due to the mountainous terrain, rugged trails, scenic views, and outdoorsy population. But now, Colorado is a hot destination for a new phenomenon in the cycling world: Fat Biking.

Fatbikes can be used during any season and in any terrain, but they are most popular during the winter months and in snowy conditions. Fatbikes have made it possible for cyclist to bike all year, even in states like Colorado with snowy months.

Opportunities to fatbike are popping up all over the state. Nordic centers and ski resorts are beginning to allow fat bikers on groomed trails. Many ski areas also offer lessons with the help of staff instructors. Examples include:

  • Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System
  • Breckenridge Gold Run Nordic Ski Center
  • Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash
  • Latigo Ranch in Kremmling
  • Durango Mountain Resort
  • Howelson Hill Nordic Center in Steamboat Springs
  • Lake Catamount Touring Center in Steamboat Springs
  • Sunlight Mountain Resort
  • YMCA of the Rockies – Snow Mountain Ranch

A number of nordic centers and fat bike enthusiasts are also hosting fatbike races. You might consider trying to race one of these:

Beerd Belly – Evergreen CO

Abominable Winter Fat Bike Race  – Como Colorado

Alley Loop Fat Bike Race – Crested Butte

Leadville Winter Mountain Bike Series:

              – Winterbike at Copper

              – Tennessee Pass Night Jam

              – Mineral Belt Mayhem

              – Eastside Epic

And that’s not all!  There are also fat bike tours in the Colorado area!

  • Paragon Outdoors in Telluride
  • Absolute Bikes Adventures in Salida
  • Front Range Guides in Boulder, Denver, Fort Collins
  • Break Bike Guides in Breckenridge

For our local customers BikeParts.com, you don’t have to go far to ride your fatbike.  There are some really great trails along the Front Range that are great for fatbikes. Some favorites include North Table Mesa in Golden.   In fact, why don’t you demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado?  Stay tuned for more upcoming blog posts on fatbike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and accessories.  Or, take some time and enjoy the following posts for additional reading.


9 Great Fatbike Events for 2015

January 22, 2015
Fatbikes at BikeParts.com

Fatbikes at BikeParts.com

We already told you why fat bikes are all the rage.  We’ve even shared Why We Love the Specialized Fat Boy Bike. Now, you need someplace to ride your fat bike, right?!  

Fatbikes are the hottest trend in the mountain biking world right now and not surprisingly, super fun fatbike events are popping up everywhere.  Following are our top 9 events to get in on the fat bike action.

4th Annual Global Fat-Bike Summit – Snow King Resort, Jackson Hole, WY -January 23-25th, 2015.  Hosted by QBP, along with Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, Hoback Sports, Wyoming Pathways, and Mountain Bike the Tetons/IMPA. Here’s what you can expect:

“On Friday the summit will focus on training sessions and panel discussions featuring the latest in the evolving world of best management practices for fat-bike use on public lands. Management practices will be discussed with a focus on winter use since the majority of access issues fall in the winter months. This interactive training day will include land managers from the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and state and local governments, along with bike advocates and industry representatives.”

The festival portion of the event begins Friday night with a fat-bike night ride and evening banquet, and continues through Saturday and Sunday with a variety of demo rides, product clinics, and riding events that include an optional guided fat bike tour of Grand Teton National Park.”

Winterbike at Copper – Leadville Series – Jan 24th, 2015.  Here’s why you want to try this event.  Join Copper and the Cloud City Wheelers for WinterBike, part of the Leadville winter mountain bike series. Competitors will ride into the night for this cross-country race slipping, sliding and riding on the mountain and throughout the Village. Make it a family affair and bring the tykes for LittleBike, a free fun ride.

Arrowhead 135 – Last week in January.  Here’s what separates the Arrowhead from the other events.  “The Arrowhead 135 is recognized in the book “The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges” by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore as one of the 50 toughest races in the world.  It is a human powered Ultra Marathon taking place in the coldest part of winter in the coldest city in the lower 48 states.  Our average finish rate is less than 50%, the finish rate for new racers is much lower.  2014 finish rate was 35%.”

“135 miles Deep Winter across Northern Minnesota on rugged, scenic Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail from Frostbite I-Falls to Tower, MN Fortune Bay Casino. Pick mode of transport at start: bicycle, ski or foot.  This is our 11th year, beginning with 10 entrants in 2005 to ~150 starters 2014, featuring some of the best winter ultra-athletes in the world.”  Obviously, this event isn’t for the faint of heart – but one definitely to aspire to doing!

Abominable Winter Fat Bike Race – Como, CO – January 31st, 2015.  If you are feeling a little wild, then this event might be for you.  Abominable events are for those with a little wild in them. Not for the timid, they are challenging you to come get after it in the whitest Colorado has to offer. On January 31st get “yeti” for a winter adventure run, fat bike rides hot chocolate and more. Grab your friends, hop in the car, and crank up the heat because it’s gonna be cold, wild one out there!

Alley Loop Fat Bike Race – Crested Butte, CO – February 6th, 2015.  This fun fatbike event takes place simultaneously with the 28th Annual Alley Loop Nordic Marathon.  If you have any skiers in the family, this is a great event to combine your two passions.  The plus side, for those on the fence about whether to race or not, they offer same day registration.

Big Fat Bike Festival – Homer AK – Feb 6-8th, 2015.  Concerned about getting cold while racing your fatbike?  Well, this event lures you in with a cozy bonfire about 8 miles in where you can warm up before venturing on or returning to the start.  “The ride is approximately 16 miles long (or more if you choose), follows the beautiful bluffs of the south shore with ample opportunity to enjoy the view.”

Tennessee Pass Night Jam – Leadville Series – Feb 7th, 2015.  This is part of the Leadville winter mountain bike series.  For customers of our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and locals in Colorado, you’ll note the 12 mile course starts at Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, Tennessee Pass, and the cost of entry is $20.

Frozen Fat Fondo Fest – Davenport IA – Saturday, Feb 7th, 2015.  This event challenges you to be a fatbike hero!  “Make history being a part of FORC’s first Fat Bike challenge, the Frozen Fat Fondo Festival! The FFFFestival will be held — rain or shine, snow or slime — on the beautiful shores of the Mississippi River at the newly rebuilt Credit Island Lodge. Riders will test their mettle on a circuit featuring many technical challenges through thick lowland forest and chunky river shoreline on this 3 hour endurance ride. Participate as a 3-person relay team or solo. 3.5″ tires or greater required! All proceeds from this event benefit FORC to continue maintaining and improving local trails.”

Mineral Belt Mayhem – Leadville Series – March 7th, 2015.  Again, this is part of the Leadville winter mountain bike series.  However, this event starts at the mineral belt trail in Leadville, Colorado. Entry costs $20

US National Fat-Bike Championship – Cable, WI – March 7th, 2015. What? There’s a National Fatbike championship? Yep! That’s how popular these bikes and events are!  The 47-kilometer event will be, for the second year in a row be  the “U.S. National Fat Bike Championships” with cash prizes for the top three women and men. The field limit for the third annual Fat Bike Birkie on March 7, 2015, has been bumped up to 750 riders and is quickly filling.

Eastside Epic – Leadville Series – Apr 18th.  Another great event that is part of the Leadville winter mountain bike series.  This one starts in Leadville and entry is $20.

Does reading about all these great fatbike events make you curious about fat bike riding? Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado and stay tuned for more upcoming blog posts on fat bike bike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and accessories.


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