Destination Hotspots for Colorado Summer Cycling Trips

July 24, 2014
Breckenridge, Colorado

BikeParts.com biking in Breckenridge, Colorado

The lifestyle here in Colorado celebrates the great outdoors. Even better, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike and mountain bike rides in the country.  Some rides are shorter and convenient whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Locals and vacationers alike welcome the challenge of pushing the limits while taking in breathtaking views that only Colorado has to offer.

According to ColoradoInfo.com, what makes Colorado so special is that it claims 53 peaks higher than 14,000 feet and the cycling and hiking trails ascending them are very popular and demanding. The state is something of a mecca for both long-haul road bikers and mountain biking enthusiasts. Bike paths are abundant on the Front Range from Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs to Pueblo. In the mountains there are paved bike paths as well as hundreds of miles of single-track trails for off-road biking.

With that being said, which are the destination hotspots for cycling in Colorado?  No doubt, there’s too many great rides, trails, and locations to name them all, but following are a few of our favorites.

10 Best Colorado Trails
The Athlete’s Guide to Boulder
20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides
Colorado’s Backcountry Biker’s Huts
Top 10 outdoor trips and activities in Colorado

Now, aside from selecting your ideal riding location, there are a few additional elements to lock in to ensure a successful cycling adventure. Extra considerations include preparing for riding in Colorado’s altitude.  The post,  Racing at Altitude. What You Need to Know, gives some quick tips on acclimation and don’t forget about having your cycling essentials on hand. Meaning, make sure you have your maps, bike parts, hydration pack, and arrange in advance the details if you are shipping your bike.

Now, all you have to do is visit!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we invite you to visit Colorado’s cities, towns and mountain communities. Join us on road and mountain bike rides across the state and embrace all the beauty this glorious  state has to offer!


Mid Season Cycling Tips for Staying Healthy and Strong

July 17, 2014
John Polli racing strong and healthy.

John Polli racing strong and healthy.

Enthusiastic recreational riders and competitive athletes can make mid season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity, 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. It’s easy to do during the summer months as the season beckons us to participate in outdoor activities. Yet, there are ways to enjoy ourselves and still stay strong all year long.

Pay attention to your equipment.  Yes, it’s true.  The right bike parts can make a difference in injury prevention.  A good bike fit  can make all the difference as well.  Periodically, review your setup.  Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.  Your body’s position on the bike affects how you ride. It affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. It affects how comfortable you are on the bike. Bottom line, be mindful of your bike components and bike parts.

Strength train the whole year through.  Year round strength training matters. “One of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.”

Add yoga to your fitness routine.  Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins.  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.

Rest and recover.  Plan a day of rest once a week into your training schedule. No running, biking, swimming or strength training. Your body needs a day to recover. It will not hurt your performance, but will actually help it and is critical in muscle recovery.

Ultimately, training is all about stressing your body with hard workouts, and then letting your body adapt to that load.  The summer months invite us all to push the limits but with a little mindfulness, you can balance pushing the limits while staying healthy and strong.


What’s It Take to Ride Like a Tour Rider?

July 10, 2014

Pro cyclists are often all thought to be blessed with nature’s special gifts – a huge heart, enormous lungs and infinite leg power.  Yet, in reality this is hardly the case. The truth is that most of us have the physiology to be a decent racer if we trained as much as they do.  Granted, most of us don’t have the time or the resources available to pro cyclists but we can all optimize the talents bestowed upon us by training properly.  Here’s how.

Start with the basics.  Have good equipment.  Meaning, have a bike that fits, get the right bike parts, and wear the appropriate cycling accessories. It may seem obvious but even small things add up. This is an easy one to dial in, so get it right.

Next, focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.  Some argue work and family commitments distract from proper training but there are other elements you can control.  You can control your the quality of your workouts, your bike technique, and your recovery.  When training, focus your efforts using power and heart rate. Both play a key role in training and you can use both to target weaknesses and strengths.  Dial in your nutrition on an off the bike so that you are properly fueled going into the workout and can bring your best effort to each training session.  Also, schedule specific workouts to build fitness, improve your climbing technique and bike skills.

While it may seem counter intuitive, easy rides or time off the bike is equally as important as training time.  The post, Four Ways to Recover Like a Tour Rider, suggests ways to conserve energy while riding in the peleton (aka your group ride) and use your cycling buddies as teammates to pace you and shield you from the elements.

A little R&R or active recovery is good too.  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.

You may not make it as a Tour rider but you sure can embrace the training elements of a Tour rider lifestyle.  And, if all else fails, put on your best suffer face!


Can You Take the Heat? Heat Acclimation Tips for Cycling in the Summer Months

July 3, 2014

It’s one thing to ride/train in the heat it’s another to RACE in the heat.  It’s that time of year, the summer heat has arrived and is making up for the lack of heat we had from the cooler temps to start off the cycling season.

Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.   Specific to racing, many cyclist have encountered the negative effects of heat on race results. What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.  There are numerous heat–coping strategies to consider when planning a high-intensity workout or doing a race in hot weather.

  • Acclimate.  It takes about 10 to 14 days of frequent exposure to heat for your body to adapt. During this period of time workout daily in hot conditions at a lower-than-normal intensity. After a couple of weeks of near-daily exposure to hot conditions you will begin perform better in the heat than prior although performance will still likely be diminished from what you might have done in cooler conditions.
  • Nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.
  • Hydrate. This one is easy but also easy to forget! Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumptionFor your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand. For longer rides, opt for the Deuter Bike One 20 Hydration Pack- 100oz.  You’ll have enough fluids to get your ride in and also soak up the views.
  • Stay cool. Think shade and proper clothing.  Stay in the shade, warm up in the shade and cool down in the shade.  While it may seem insignificant, every effort to keep your body temperature down is important.  This includes wearing your sunglasses, having a light-colored helmet, and opening your the zipper on your jersey.  For longer rides, draping an ice-filled container around your neck may improve endurance performance.

To train and compete at your best all summer, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  Everyone adapts differently to heat stress.  Need more tips?  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to chat with our racers, mechanics, and other cyclist to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will work for you too.


Consistency: The Secret Sauce to Your Best 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race?

June 26, 2014

Peak Cycles Race Team What makes for a successful first 100 mile mountain bike race?  Is it riding a ton of trails? Picking the best race?

Or maybe, it’s knowing the difference between riding and training.  Sure, many think if they ride a lot it will get them to the finish line.  And it will.  But training and preparing strategically for your 100 miler will not only get you to the finish line feeling your best, but it can actually prepare you for better performances in the future.  Here’s why.

According to the post, Nine Golden Rules for Training, consistency is key. That means consistently training but also, consistently racing builds fitness too.  Consistency in racing builds all kinds of fitness: mental, physical, and psychological fitness.  To ensure a successful 100 mile mountain bike race, you need to train all the systems.

You can start by looking at the type of race or races you like to race.  What types of terrain, geographical areas, and elevations profiles suit your strengths.  What about your weaknesses?  There are numerous 100 mille mountain bike races to choose from including the National Ultra Endurance Series, the 100 Mile Mountain Bike and Running Off Road Race Series and the the Leadville 100 Race Series.  Racing longer distances consistently builds an endurance baseline to build upon year after year.

Consistency in race preparation makes a difference too.  If your race day strategies are scattered, unorganized, and left to chance, all your training leading up to the race can only take you so far.  The post,  Top 10 Tips For Your Best 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race  states the importance of race day preparations.

Other resources reinforce dialing in your race day nutritional needs and bike inspections to avoid mechanicals, flats, and other bike related issues due to not having your bike parts in order for racing.  Imagine doing all the prep work for a major race and having to DNF due to not replacing a chain, derailleur, or tire.

Consistency in training helps you physical body prepare for the physical stresses of racing a 100 mile mountain bike race.  But minimizing or eliminating other stressors like those mentioned above helps you free up your mental and psychological energies so that you can successful focus on the task at hand: racing your best 100 miler ever.


Racing at Altitude. What You Need to Know.

June 19, 2014

trail aThe beautiful scenery and challenging terrain of Colorado’s cycling scene beckons riders from all over the world to ride along the backdrop of blue skies and snow capped mountains.

However, one of the toughest challenges a cyclist can face is completing all of their training at their low-elevation residences, and then traveling to ride or compete in a race at high altitude.  For events like the Leadville 100, The Breck Epic, and The Triple Bypass, many are left questioning what to expect when riding at elevation and what are the best ways to acclimate faster to ensure optimum performance.

For starters, it’s best to understand how the body responds to altitude. The post, Understanding the Challenges of High-Altitude Racing at the Leadville 100 and USA Pro Cycling Challenge, gives us a detailed understanding. “The basics of altitude work like this: as you go higher the air becomes less dense, which means the oxygen molecules are more spread out. As a result, when you breathe in and fill your lungs, there are fewer oxygen molecules in that volume of air.”  More so, as you increase in elevation, heart rate and breathing rates at rest will be increasing elevated as your body tries to pull more air through the lungs so it can grab the oxygen it wants.

While at rest at altitude, you might experience a combination of headache, poor sleep, fatigue, and dizziness. While training, racing, or participating in an event at altitude, most likely you’ll discover an elevated heart rate and reduced power. And, your recovery rate between hard efforts will be longer and maybe not even complete.  So, what can you do if you want to perform your best at altitude?

Obviously, a no brainer is to have your bike and the correct bike parts in order!  If you are accustomed to riding on flat terrain, you’ll want to have the appropriate gearing for your event.  Specific to altitude acclimations, there is definitely science and research behind acclimating for cycling performance but without getting too technical, following are some of most common approaches.

  • Acclimate  - Spending time at higher elevations enables the body to adapt and increase the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This improves your ability to deliver oxygen to the brain and working muscles at all levels of activity, including high-intensity exercise. The longer you can acclimatize – the better.  Keep in mind, true acclimation can take three weeks or more.
  • Hydrate Drink plenty of liquids. High elevations can cause fluid loss, so it’s important to stay well hydrated. Your best course of action is to stick with water or liquids that replace electrolytes and avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages. These liquids act as diuretics and can dehydrate you.
  • Tools – Use your training tools for biofeedback.  It’s important to know your limits going into an event and modify your strategy if necessary. This includes dialing in your race day nutrition requirements, heart rate limits, and using your power meter for feedback. Power meters are especially useful because they help riders to gauge their efforts.  To maximize your opportunity for best performance, consider running course intelligence and learn the course and the conditions due to time of day.  You’ll be better equipped to know when to attack and when to recover as it relates to time of day (heat), and course profile.

Overall, different people respond differently to attitude.  Experiment with what works for you.  And, while you might not get the same results racing at altitude as you do at sea level, the rewards of riding in beautiful Colorado is a reward in and of itself.


How to Improve Joint Health While Cycling Safely 

June 12, 2014

Biking_Graphic ARCWhen you feel great, you probably take your fitness and health for granted. But as many cyclist know, it doesn’t take but a quick spill on the bike to go from a physically fit state to an injured one with limitations on riding and training time. Surface injuries are the easiest to heal but as we’ve seen in the recent crash that injured BMC Racing’s Taylor Phinney at the Volkswagen USA Cycling National Road Championship, broken bones and muscle injuries can make a good season turn bad.

With June being National Safety Month, how can you avoid injuries, improve joint health, and capture the gains of an active lifestyle? Answers can be found in the post, Bike Inspections: A Guide for Injury Free, Enjoyable Spring Cycling, which shares the importance of having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear. More importantly, for safe riding, regular bike inspections are in order.  If you’re not sure what to look for, you want to notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  For instance, saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design. Replacing older items like saddles, cables, tires and brakes provide safety and peace of mind while riding.

Also, consider if the right bike parts can 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’re just starting to ride or you’ve been cycling for a long time, there are numerous benefits to getting a professional bike fit in which you can dial in the appropriate riding position for you as well as the exact bike parts needed to accommodate that fit precisely.

Cycling is safe and effective, fun way to improve fitness as well as joint health. It strengthens muscles which puts less pressure on joints and it is a low-impact exercise limits wear on cartilage around joints .  When you take a few preventative measures, as in bike inspections, bike maintenance and commit to a regular cycling schedule, not only do you improve joint health and fitness, but you also improve your overall peace of mind.  Enjoy a National Safety Month from the view of your two wheeled friend!

 

 


How to Survive or Thrive Your First Century

June 5, 2014

image credit: 303 cycling

For many cyclists, a century ride (100 miles) is a goal that is equivalent to running a marathon. It seems like a crazy long distance but whether you’re pushing your limits to cover 100 miles as fast as you can or you are riding 100 miles for the first time, you can finish fresh and feeling good by planning appropriately. 

Set a Date
The most important step is to set a date and sign up. You will be more motivated to train once you pay an entry fee and have a date on your calendar. Knowing when the big ride is will also help you set your training schedule appropriately. There are several citizen road rides and competitive 100 mile endurance mountain bike races to select your event.  Discovering which one inspires you the most is the easy part!  With so many locations, routes, and rides to choose from, you can opt for a flatter course or one that offers more challenges. Pick one, get it on your calendar and begin your preparations. 

Prep Your Bike Gear 
Is your bike ready for the ride? Should you use a particular bike for the century? If you’re not sure, now is the time to stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.  We’ll help you identify your needs and confirm you’re on the right road bike or MTB for you. Presuming you have your bike and your bike does fit, get it and your cycling accessories ready.  It is not a good idea to make major modifications to the bike the day before the ride.  As you train for your century, it’s important to dial in all of your personal and bike requirements.  This includes your bike parts, helmet, cycling apparel, and bicycle tools for quick fixes.  If you don’t know how to change a flat, you might want to build that, along with performing bike inspections on a routine basis, into your gear preparations as well.  

Train, Train, and Train some more!
Do you know the right way to trainHaving 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.  You may also consider How to Dial in Your Race Day Nutrition Needs. If you are considered about stomach issues and performance, preparing well and listening to your body during training can significantly improve your enjoyment level during your century. 

Ride and Celebrate!
Embark on your century ride and enjoy the experience!  Remember to pace yourself and savor the experience.  Consider breaking the course into sections or have a goal to get to the next aid station.  Smaller goals are little victories aiming you towards the final big one at the finish line. 

Finally - Repeat!  Congratulate yourself on a well deserved accomplishment and sign up for another one! 


Your Complete Summer Guide to 2014 Colorado Cycling Events, Rides, and Bike Races

May 28, 2014

954850_462221050538424_1088116634_nColorado has some of the greatest road bike rides and mountain bike trails in the country.   And, it’s host to one of the world’s favorite bike races – the US ProCycling Challenge.  While some cycling enthusiast plan to visit Colorado for the 7 day stage race, others come to ride and race more frequently in Colorado.

Knowing where and when to ride is half of the trick to enjoyable riding in Colorado.  Whereas being prepared is the other half. The first step in your trip or cycling preparation is selecting the road rides or mountain bike trails you want to ride.  As you’ll soon see from the links below, some rides are shorter, convenient rides whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Locals and vacationers alike welcome the challenge of pushing the limits while taking in breathtaking views that only Colorado has to offer.  Look through the options and choose your favorites.

Next in your planning preparations, you’ll want to gather road ride or trail intelligence.  Meaning, there are key elements you should know before heading out on any unfamiliar route:

  • Know the profile – How much climbing and descending should you expect?
  • Know the route – Where is the start or the trailhead? How long is the route? What is the technical difficulty? What type of terrain will you be riding? And, What are the current trail conditions if opting for a mountain bike ride?
  • Know the weather conditions before, during, and soon after you expect to ride. Colorado weather changes quickly and sometimes, radically. Be prepared.
  • Know what cycling apparel to wear.  Being over or under dressed makes for an uncomfortable ride.
  • Know which bike parts and components are best for the terrain type and the right mountain bike tire to use.

Finally, there’s a checklist of essential items to carry with you.

The next big question is which bike to ride?   Of course, you can ship or bring your own bike. Our shop, Peak Cycles Bike Shop offers rental bikes and all the bike accessories you may have forgotten to pack.  Or, opt to buy a new bike!  Embark on its inaugural rides here in Golden and ship it home. Finally, have you dialed in which cycling events or races are for you?

Not sure yet?  Well, stop by the Peak Cycling Bike Shop for help or visit us at bikeparts.com for maps, information, or general bike components that you may need for your next big event.  And, as a little teaser to whet your appetite for Colorado’s finest, enjoy the cycling videos, pics, and trail reviews.  Happy Riding!

 


See You Monday! Memorial Day Demo Day at Green Mountain Open Space

May 22, 2014

Ride Life Ride Giant Demo @ Green Mountain Open SpaceAre you feeling the itch for a new bike?  Maybe you’ve heard all the rave of the new Giant Anthem 27.5 mountain bikes?  Well guess what?  We’ve teamed up with Giant to host a mountain bike and road bike demo day.

Celebrate your Memorial Day weekend by stopping by Green Mountain Open Space to check out and ride an impressive line up of Giant bikes.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, our job is matching bikes to riders and ensuring that your bike fits properly and that you are happy with it. If you’re considering a new road bike – try a new one out.  If you are thinking of riding trails for the first time in a long time, this is a no risk way to dip your toe in the water while trying out a new mountain bike.  And, if you’re curious as to what a 27.5″ feels like compared to a 26” wheel or a 29′er, here again, you have a chance to find out for yourself!  A short test ride will help you compare different bikes and make sure your new bike suits your needs exactly.

Mark your calendar!

  • When: Saturday, May 26th from 10:00am – 3:00pm
  • Where: Green Mountain Park, 1000 S Rooney Rd Lakewood, CO 80228
  • What to bring: Please bring valid ID, credit card, and helmet to ride.

If you have any questions be sure to stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop at 1224 Washington Ave #145, Golden, CO, give us a ring at 303-216-1616 or chat with us on Twitter or Facebook   You can find more information about the event here  and learn why Green Mountain Trail: Why It’s a Year Long Favorite of ours to ride.

See you Monday!


Late to the Game? Ways to Make up for Lost Training Time

May 15, 2014

image003Even the best made training plans go awry. Work demands, family obligations, illness, injury, or even weather challenges all can take a toll on training.  Now with the Colorado racing season underway, the pressure is on to get into racing form.

But what do you if you are behind the curve? Stress out? Freak out? Beat yourself up?  No! There’s nothing you can do about the past so you have to let it go and move forward.  Here’s how to make the best of what you’ve got.

The post, Making up For Lost Training Time, suggest to focus on what you can control and let go of things beyond your control.  What can you control? The intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  You can also control the elements surrounding your training, as in, your bike parts, bike functioning, and being well prepared nutritionally to get the best out of your workouts.

You can also focus your efforts on training with power and heart rate. Both play a key role in training and you can use both to target weaknesses and strengths.  Other options include Dialing in Your Race Day Nutrition Needs adjusting your goals to reflect your current fitness level and your aims for the season and preparing race strategies that you can build upon as the season progresses.

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.”

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 the best form possible, mentally race ready, and prepared for a healthy and strong 2014 cycling season.


BikeParts.com is Ready!  August 24 – Stage 7 of 2014 USA Pro Challenge 

May 8, 2014

It is no secret that some of the largest crowds in USA Pro Challenge history have been in Boulder, Golden and Denver, so why not put them all in one stage?   That’s in fact what Stage 7 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge is!

On August 24, the race returns to the site of some of the largest crowds in USA Pro Challenge history with a stage between Boulder, Golden, and Denver. Leaving Boulder on Colorado Highway 93, the riders will face several hilly and windswept miles as they head toward Golden. Through Golden, the riders will tackle the four-mile climb of Lookout Mountain. After a quick pass back through Golden, the race will head to Denver for three-and-a-half laps of an abbreviated version of last year’s circuit.

According to  Rick Schaden, owner of the USA Pro Challenge, “The 2014 USA Pro Challenge is going to be the most exciting year yet.” “Boulder, Golden and Denver have been such great hosts over the history of the race, so we decided to work them all into the final day of competition. These three iconic Colorado cycling locations are going to create one grand finale!”

At BikeParts.com, we couldn’t be happier!  As local supporters of the USA Pro Challenge for the past three years, we’ve welcomed locals, travelers, and tourist to road ride, mountain bike, and enjoy all the great cycling that Golden, Colorado has to offer.  The week long race invites tourist from all over the country and world to our city.

As such, it makes Peak Cycles the perfect bike shop to coordinate all of your week long adventure travel plans.  Are you considering shipping your bike to Colorado?  What about picking up bike parts, tubes, or cycling accessories while you are visiting?  Maybe even rent a bike?  Whether your plans include a week long stay for the race or an exciting culmination to the race with Stage 7, bike parts.com is your cycling needs destination.

Here’s to America’s Race – Bring on the 2014 USA Pro Challenge!


How Bikes Are Transforming America with National Bike Month #NBC2014

May 1, 2014

How can you make cycling get even better?  Make a whole month celebration of it!  Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment; or simply to explore your community, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.  Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling.

Here are some important national dates for May this year:

Aside from the joys of celebrating our two-wheeled friends, National Bike Month does more for our businesses, cities, and communities than you know.  Considering that League of American Bicyclists recently announced 80 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) in 29 states and Washington, D.C. These new awardees join a trendsetting group of almost 700 local businesses, government agencies and Fortune 100 companies in 46 states and D.C. that are transforming the American workplace.  Bicycle Friendly Businesses encourage a more bicycle-friendly atmosphere for employees and customers alike. BFBs attract and retain energized, alert and productive employees, while decreasing healthcare costs.

Also, from a business perspective, cycling ups the ante on networking. Across America, entrepreneurs and seasoned executives are sidelining a popular networking activity — golf — in favor of a different group sport. For entrepreneurs, cycling is the new golf. “Unlike golf, cycling is also a great equalizer,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “You’re the same as the person riding next to you. So it makes people more approachable. “

So get on board with celebrating National Bike Month!  Join the 2014 National Bike Challenge. The National Bike Challenge, now in its third year, is a fun, free, game-changing event that runs from May 1 to September 30. Last year, 30,000 Challenge riders from across the country logged nearly 19 million miles. The goals for the friendly, online competition remain the same: to get more Americans bicycling, whether it’s for fun, for work or for health.  Users can pick from Moves,  MapMyRide or Endomondo, allowing users to seamlessly synch their trips throughout the Challenge.  And for much needed bike parts, cycling accessories, and maintenance tools to keep you in the game going strong, visit www.bikeparts.com.

National Bike Month starts TODAY!  Let’s get riding!


How to Dial in Your Race Day Nutrition Needs

April 24, 2014

Preparing for the upcoming Gran Fondo Moab, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Weekend, Ride the Rockies, Triple Bypass or Colorado’s Endurance Mountain bike series, takes methodical planning in terms of training, recovery, appropriate bike parts selection.  Yet, just as important as daily training is to get you to the start line, every day nutrition plays a critical role too.  The season is just beginning are you race ready?  Here’s what you need to know to dial in your daily, weekly, and race day nutrition for optimal performance.

You get a glimpse of the importance of monthly nutritional preparation in the post, Race Day Nutrition for Cyclist.  Overall it is a guide for monthly, weekly, and race week nutrition preparation with a focus on how viewing nutrition in terms of how it can support your physical training cycles rather than just eating for pleasure.  As many cyclist are already lining up on the start line, preparing nutritionally for weeks in advance isn’t an option.

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

But what happens when you have stomach issues while 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, it’s about utilizing the early season races to dial in your nutrition.  Preparing well and listening to your body is the key to preventing stomach issues during competition.

Next up?  Dial in your race day strategies!  Remember to set your goals, recon the route or course, practice race day rituals, and define your success parameters.


Quiz! Do You Know Colorado Rules of the Road for Cycling? 

April 17, 2014

How do you protect yourself as a cyclist?  We’re not talking about helmets , gloves, and protective gear.  We’re talking about riding safe and smart.  Sure you may have a general idea of the rules of the road, but do you actually know the laws?  What about your rights as a cyclist?

Many recreational, as well as seasoned cyclist, consider anticipating what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next is pretty much all that is needed in riding the road safely.  But at Peak Cycles, we know better.  In fact, we are big advocates of safe cycling that we’re hosting a FREE Biking 101 event May 5th at 6:30PM at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado. (REGISTER HERE.)

See how you fare answering these questions.  If you get them right, yay for you! If not, maybe it’s time to freshen your knowledge on the rules of the road, smart cycling tips, bike etiquette, and how to legally and appropriately ride on public roads.

Do you know your bike laws?
True or False?
Colorado has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

True or False?
Colorado has codified a three foot passing requirement in three rules to address the variety of circumstances in which a bicyclist may be overtaken by a motorist

True or False?
Colorado has some of the most specific laws regarding where a bicyclist should ride, and just as importantly, where a bicyclist should not be obligated to ride in the nation.

How’d you do?  What? There are no answers?!  Guess you’ll have to find out at our Biking 101 event!  There will be food, drinks, cycling education, and even bike parts to drool over!  Become a street smart, savvy, safe, educated, conscientious cyclist.   Register now and see you on May 5th at 6:30!


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!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.