How To do a Cycling Year End Review

November 16, 2017

Review Training Performance

It’s that time of year when most are winding down from the season and with the upcoming holiday, you may find yourself reflecting on the past season. It’s easy to focus on super big accomplishments or even disappointments and wonder what went wrong but stepping back from individual races or events, it’s important to evaluate the season from a high level.

In doing so, it’s somewhat like doing a year end cycling review. Examine questions like, What makes a successful cycling season? It is having a good coach? Having a really fast bike? Having the right bike parts for each race or event? Overall, how do you feel about your performance. Do you feel good or are you feeling some disappointment?

How you reflect upon the past year has some bearing as to how you plan for the coming year. A cycling year end review offers insights to truly optimize your training and racing regimen. Following are the questions you want to ask yourself:

  • What goals did you achieve this past season? Reflecting back on your SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) how did you do? Avoid ambiguity and be specific. For example, 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?
  • Did you experiment with your bike setup and bike parts? What worked and what didn’t work?
  • 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?

Evaluating goals and cycling performance is a good thing. Use these questions to identify the steps you must take to achieve your goals next season. After all, there’s reward in pushing yourself, gaining new skills, getting faster, and staying fit. A cycling year end review can expose what you can improve upon from this past year, as well as, identify your strengths to build upon going into the next year.

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How To Stay Motivated to Ride After Daylight Savings Time

November 9, 2017

At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.

And motivation is important!  After all, 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 now with the end of Daylight Savings time and riding conditions are less than ideal, what do you do?  How do you maintain motivation to train through the rest of the year?

Have a goal. The goal can be big, small or in between but having something to shoot for between now and the New Year can inspire you to ride.  Goals can be off the bike or on.  Meaning, setting nutrition or weight goals can support your motivation to ride.  Or, having a goal to ride a certain number of times a week can get you off the sofa and on to the bike.  Pick a goal that inspires you and is manageable.

Fine tune your fitness.  Use a heart rate monitor or power meter to benchmark your efforts. 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.  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! Get 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.

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 to keep riding through the year end.


How to Keep Riding Through the Time Change

November 2, 2017

With the time change this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. You’ve worked hard all year long, it seems a waste to let your fitness fall off.  Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, what are the best strategies for continued training and maintaining fitness?   

Time management – It all begins with time management. Scheduling your workouts in your calendar; shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening; and optimizing your lunch hour as ride time,  are three areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours.  Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it.  If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up.  So, if you do, then night riding becomes your option.

Night riding – To begin, don’t be afraid of the dark!  Get the right bike parts and cycling apparel to ride and you’ll be inspired to do it.  Remember, visibility is crucial – for you and your bike. Outfit your bike with a good light system.  You will want lights for the front of your bike.  Consider having multiple lights for the front of your bike.  One on your helmet so you can shine side roads and traffic and have a second light on your handlebars so you can see at least 10 ft. or more in front of you.  For the rear of your bike, opt for a rear red light-particularly one that blinks. A blinking red light is much more likely to get the attention of a passing motorist who might otherwise not notice you.  

Don’t forget to wear cycling apparel that is visible.  There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands.  Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels.

Indoor riding – Maybe you just can’t swing riding during the day and night riding isn’t your thing.  You can maintain fitness with indoor training on the trainer.  Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer. Yet, there are ways to make it work.  Check out our post, Trainer Techniques for Winter Training for tips and suggestions on getting the best out of your indoor rides.

Now that the time change is upon us, it doesn’t mean you have to put your cycling regime on the shelf!  With an enthusiastic attitude and a few bike part changes, you can shift your end of season cycling experience to be the best one yet! 

 

 


3 Essential Cycling Training Tips for Winter Training

October 26, 2017

Cycling Apparel at BikeParts.com for Winter Riding

Cold, winter weather is right around the corner.  While we are just getting a taste of the cooler temps, not too long from now we’ll be bundled up wondering where the sunshine and dry roads and trails have gone.  The trick to riding through the Winter months is to prepare now. Preparation gets you in the habit before the weather turns poor. Here are our tips how to make the most of it.

#1 Trainer
Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle- specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding.  Ugh. Is there a way to make it work?  Yes!  It’s important to have the right trainer setup. 

When we’re talking about setup, 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, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want 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  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency. 

#2 Build Your Core
Most everyone agrees that
building a stronger core helps you improve your performance on the bike.  Moving into the cooler months, it is easier to cross train and focus on developing core strength.  But what exercises are best for more core strength?

The best way to train all parts of the body is through working with a full range of motion while strength training. A bench press, for example, will only work your arms and shoulders through a fixed range of motion. A great way to gain core strength and work full range of motion with many repetitions and longer durations is through practices that primarily use body weight such as yoga and pilates, for example. Ashtanga and power yoga are styles of yoga that are faster flowing, continuous, and challenging. Yoga is hands down one of the best way to work for aerobic strength gains throughout the entire body. Not only do you focus on many repetitions such as with pushups, squats, and lunges, you work each joint in a full range of motion while doing so, which focuses on core endurance, stability, and flexibility.

In a nutshell, a core group of muscles that fatigues less will allow you to work with increased power ranges for a longer period of time while riding a road bike or mountain bike. With more range of motion, increased flexibility, and a stronger core, you will not only feel better before, during and after each workout, you will be slightly more productive as well.

#3 Dial in Your Cycling Apparel
You don’t want to miss riding outdoors all together.  So, it’s important to dial in your cycling apparel for the type of riding you will be doing.  Specifically, 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? 

With all that in mind, get clear on the type of cycling apparel you have in your existing wardrobe and identify the clothing you need purchase to enable you to ride in a variety of weather conditions.  Be mindful of having waterproof and wind resistant clothing.  Check do see if you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scull cap? What about your base layers?  Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing?  Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs! In fact, we’ve got quite a lot of new cycling clothing in store right now.

When you think about it, it’s easy to embrace winter riding when you are warm and toasty. So prepare now. Get your trainer setup ready – make plans to cross train and build your core – and figure out your cycling apparel needs to avoid a clothing crisis on a Winter bike ride. 


Prepare for a Great Cyclocross Season with These Tips 

October 19, 2017

Cyclocross Bikes at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com

Cross season begins in the early fall and runs through the end of December. You know, the time of year that those of us who live in places that get real, bona fide winters want to hang up our bikes and hibernate under down blankets. But In Colorado, we don’t do that because it’s cross season and cross is worth going out in the cold for!  

Fortunately, the cooler temps and bad weather has escaped us so far; however soon on the horizon, cyclocross racers will be greeted with mud, cold, and nastier racing conditions.  Makes for more fun, right?  Absolutely! So how do you make the most of cross season? 

First, make a decision  to race!  There are lots of reasons to race cyclocross – including: 

  1. Cyclocross promotes silky smooth pedaling 
  2. Cyclocross develops your strength and power 
  3. Cyclocross improves your bike handling skills 
  4. Cyclocross teaches you race techniques
  5. Cyclocross reduces off-season weight gain 

Yet, most who have raced cyclocross, know the primary reason to do it is because it’s fun! Pick one or two of the upcoming cyclocross races along the Front Range: 

  1. Schoolyard Cross
  2. Shimano CX Series: Boulder Res
  3. Feedback Cup
  4. Shimano CX Series: Sienna Lake
  5. Cross of the North
  6. Shimano CX Series: Salisbury

Now, plan some time to develop your cross skills.  Whether you are new to cyclocross or an avid racer, there’s always something new to learn.  With that in mind, you’ll enjoy all the resources we have at Peak Cycles and BikeParts.com:

Finally, what do you bring to a cyclocross race?  Our post, Race Prep: What to Bring to a Cyclocross Race, dials this in for you so you won’t show up unprepared.  

Now that you are motivated, skilled, and have your gear bag ready, it’s time to race cross.  If you are new to cyclocross, check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  Dial in the best bike parts and tire choice.  Finally, don’t forget to register for an upcoming cross race!


15 Tips for Bike Commuting in the Cooler Months

October 12, 2017

Stay Warm all Winter Long with Cycling Apparel from BikeParts.com

Autumn is upon us. And while the weather is still looking similar to our old friend summer, it is bound to drop in temperature very soon.

Many cyclist grieve the loss of summer; yet, fall bike riding offers the chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and enjoy the fitness gains achieved over the summer months.

Many cyclist commit to bike commuting through the cooler months as a new goal. Yet, when faced with shorter days and cold, unpleasant weather, they find their motivation waning. Following are our tips to riding your bike the whole winter season through. 

  1. Have a good route.  Learn how to pick a route you like. Google maps for cycling is a good option.
  2. Invest in a good set of lights. A set of small, modern LED lights is sufficient.
  3. Consider getting a specific helmet for bike commuting.  A brighter color and one that is easy to place a helmet light on top is a good choice.
  4. A repair kit.  It’s good to carry a small multi-tool, a patch kit, a small pump, and a spare tube for those inevitable roadside repairs.
  5. A lock. You should always carry a secure lock whenever you plan to leave your bicycle unattended. The U-locks have proven to be most effective, but like all locks they can be defeated. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have bicycle locks, U locks, and U lock combination kits.  Depending on your bike parts and components, you may opt for one lock or multiple ones.
  6. Make sure you have a secure and safe way to carry things. This could be as simple as a messenger bag or as elaborate as a set of touring panniers.
  7. Be visible. Think Bright colors and reflective materials on your person and on your bike. In fact, staying warm, dry, and comfortable is key to riding during the fall and winter season. Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs. 
  8. Wind Vest – The wind vest is one of the most used pieces of cool weather gear. It keeps your core body protected from frontal winds, but vents in the rear to keep you from overheating. The wind vest is also very versatile and can be added to different clothing combinations, using it with regular jerseys, winter jerseys, and arm warmers. It’s also easily stowed in a pack or shirt pocket.
  9. Arm warmers are a must during the Fall season.  While they don’t take up much room, they are great for temperature control.
  10. Full Finger / Windproof Gloves – When riding in cooler temps, one of the first things to get cold are the fingers. Protect your hands with full fingerers and / or windproof gloves. A popular item to consider are the Endure gloves.
  11. Knickers, Knee Warmers, and Pants – As the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to cover your knees. Many cyclist prefer tights whereas others prefer leg warmers.  There are also knickers which allow more airflow over the legs, and they are good for those in-between days. Consider trying out each option and experiment to dial in your preference.
  12. Head Band or Skull Cap – The vents in your helmet that are such an asset during the summer months become a major liability when the temperatures begin to drop. To prevent from losing heat from your scalp, be sure to wear a thin skullcap or headband under the helmet
  13. Wool Socks – Keeping your feet dry and warm can be a challenge in the cold weather, but nice wool socks are your best bet.
  14. Shoe Covers – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from cold and wind.  There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Toe covers are great for Fall but as you transition to Winter riding, you may wish for a pair that covers your entire foot.  If you’re not a fan of shoe covers, opt for a warmer shoe all together! We have two favorite options.  The Giant Sojourn cycling shoes have a stiff and grippy bottom which are good for walking.  A great option for bike commuters.  The other favorite is the Defroster cycling shoe.  It’s a great option for fall and winter riding and especially on the cold days because these shoes doesn’t require shoe covers. 
  15. Last but not least – you need to have motivation!  Stay motivated and keep after it! The more you do it, the more you love it!

If you are looking for great fall and winter gear that is super durable, then stop by the shop and check out all of the Endura cycling apparel we have in stock.  And remember, Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop has the ability to special order items. Come and ask if you want something! We’re here to support your riding all the way through Spring! 


Late Season Training Tips to Keep the Season Fun!

October 5, 2017

BikeParts.com Team Rider Enjoying a Fall Ride

While we welcome cooler temps and colorful foliage that fall cycling offers, the shorter days and fatigue of the cycling season can beckon cyclist to cut their rides short ñ or skip them all together.

Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesnít seem like much but it does. According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result. As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines. And, inevitable wait gain surfaces. Not fun!

Fall is actually the best time to transition from peak cycling form to a relaxed one. Doing so doesnít include missing rides. It means shifting your mindset to embrace fall cycling while actually boosting your cycling performance for next year.

Focus on Fun!
The key to late season racing and bike events is really to have fun! Earlier in the season, the focus is on improving fitness or achieving goals. Now is the time to enjoy the gains of your hard work. With fitness levels high, late season bike events offer a chance to experiment with race strategies and new cycling accessories. If experimentation isn;t your thing, then at least replace worn out bike parts or catch deals on bike close outs, bike parts and components. Having a fun, relaxed attitude combined with a celebratory bike event is a great way to finish your season.

Focus on Fat! Fat bikes that is!
Instead of missing rides and potentially getting fat, just get a fat bike! Fat bikes are the hottest trend in the mountain biking world right now and not surprisingly now is the time to get on board with them. This year there is more competition in the fat bike market than ever which means lower price tags. In addition to more complete bikes, there is a huge selection of fat bike parts available which makes it easy to customize your ride with wheels, tires, and other components that fit your riding style.

Focus on Off-Bike Activities
Other suggestions for late season gains include strength training and yoga. Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists Matters. 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. And there is a lot to be said for yoga. 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. All key elements in extending the fitness gains you’ve made through the current year.

Finally, keep it fresh and fun. During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the Fall, there is more time for mental wanderings and fun!