Sloppy Cycling — How to Prepare for Muddy Conditions

April 28, 2016

11262324_844053215632107_7239650244783883829_nIt’s inevitable, if you are riding your bike on trails in the spring you are going to hit mud. But a muddy trail shouldn’t be the doom of your ride. Knowing how to prepare for and ride in muddy conditions will help you be a successful wet-weather cyclist.

Preparation

Start by doing your research before a ride to get a sense of what the trails will look like. Ask a friend who has ridden recently, read online forums or social media updates, or scope out the trail yourself (this is especially important if you are racing on a potentially muddy course).

Know which bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel are appropriate for the trail and weather conditions. Some important considerations include:

    • Extra Wheels — Cyclists will often have multiple sets of wheels in preparation for mud and grime. Riding in poor conditions can be disastrous to your bike! It’s not fun to have to deal with broken spokes, loose skewers, and cemented mud, especially while racing. If you have a set of wheels in the pit, you can make a change and be underway pretty quickly.
    • Tires with Traction — Choosing the right tires really hinges on you doing your homework before your ride. Really muddy conditions sometimes warrant extra grippy bike tires with aggressive edges and sticky rubber. But these kinds of tires usually also add some extra weight. For less severe wet-weather conditions, you might want to choose something a little less aggressive. If you’re unsure about which tire is best for your upcoming event, stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and we’ll help you dial it in.
    • Chain Lube — As on any ride, taking care of your drive chain is one of the most important considerations for your bike. Using a wet lubricant during soggy and muddy conditions is ideal because it is thick enough to stay on the chain and thin enough to penetrate all of the small moving parts.
    • Wet-Weather Apparel — If mud is on the ground, then there is a chance that you might face wet weather on your ride. Keeping warm and staying dry, especially in a race, is key. Layering with base layers and jackets that won’t absorb water is your best option.

Knowledge

Now that you have your bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel in gear, you should make sure that you know how to ride in mud. During your ride or race, mud threatens to slow you down or topple you over. Your ability to (1) select a good line and (2) pedal smoothly through mud will likely keep you moving and maybe even give you an edge over other riders. See Bike Radar’s article, “Technique: Winter Skills — Mud Master” for more tips.

Cleaning

After your bike ride, it’s very important to TAKE CARE OF YOUR BIKE. If you like your bike and want to keep it for a while, giving it a good cleaning is of upmost importance. This doesn’t have to be a laborious process but we recommend being thorough. Grab a good brush and do some scrubbing. See How To Clean Your Mountain Bike in 10 Easy Steps from Singletracks for a more thorough explanation.

For more information, or to get a bike check-up after a sloppy ride, stop into our store – Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado. We have tons of advice, as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.


Keys to a Successful Cycling Race: Think Smart, Eat Smart

April 21, 2016

Cycling nutrition_eatingThere are so many things to pay attention to in order to prepare for a race. As a competitive cyclist, you have to be savvy in a number of different key areas such as cycling nutrition, bike maintenance, repairing or replacing bike parts, and knowing how to use various cycling accessories such as power meters and heart rate monitors to maximize performance.

If you also have a full-time job, it’s a lot to think about! In this article, we’re going to help take the load off your mind by focusing on a very specific aspect of race prep – eating before, during and after a race. Hopeful you can glean some useful information for you upcoming competition.

Keep in mind that eating changes depending on the distance and intensity of your race/workout. Not all suggestions may apply.

Before:

We typically find lots of articles that talk about what you should eat after a race, but not as many about what you should eat before. The key is, if you are already eating healthy and balanced meals, you probably don’t have to change much before a race.

One thing you want to make sure you are including in your pre-race diet the night before a race are carbohydrates. Carbs store glycogen in your muscles, which will be burned during the race the next day. Foods like pasta, breads, and rice are carb-heavy that could be on your dinner plate. Try to keep protein dense foods at a minimum.

If you have a long or particularly intense race the next day, you can do what’s called “carb-loading.” Cycling Tips explains that carb-loading typically takes place 2 days before your race. Male athletes can typically store about 1,500 to 1,900 calories of carbs in the blood, liver and muscles combined. And after two hours of exercise, glycogen levels will be depleted. Cycling Tips recommends eating 10 grams of carbs per kg of body weight daily in the two days before the race.

During:

There is no formula that stipulates how much you should eat during a race because different body types and habits cause athletes to have different eating patterns. Some of the variables that determine how much athletes should eat include: lean body mass, metabolic efficiency, intensity, race distance, and environmental conditions.

CoachLevi.com offers some valuable insights into what cyclists might eat during rides at varying distances and intensity.

If you feel that you should be eating differently, here are some questions from Training Peaks that guide your eating habits:

Do you find that you have enough energy for your workouts and races?

    • You should finish strong but spent, not crawling home or hitching a ride!
    • Eat more often if you bonk!

Do you ever get “grumpy” during a long session?

    • If so, you likely aren’t consuming enough carbohydrates.

Do you experiencing GI distress?

    • You might be consuming too much or need to combine different sources of carbohydrate (i.e., glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltodextrin).
    • You can try fewer calories or read labels to find products made with multiple carbohydrate sources and try different brands of products.
    • You might also work on metabolic efficiency to see if you can reduce the number of calories you need.

Do you seem to be able to eat whatever you want, even when the intensity is high?

    • No reason to back off if it is working for you!

After:

Right after a race you want to digest simple carbohydrates such as bananas, a bagel, or maybe even a slice of pizza. These things are often offered at the end of a race. Eating caloric-dense foods will restore your glycogen levels in your liver and muscles and getting some protein will help your muscles recover.

Stay away from the really fatty foods and foods high in protein. We know that some of you may be craving potato chips and whole pizzas, but its not the best thing for you.

See the article, “Maximize Your Post Race Recovery“ from Training Peaks for more information.

For more information, don’t hesitate to visit our website or stop into our store – Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado. We have tons of advice, as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.


Preseason Endurance Race Strategies: Start slow, Build Mental Toughness

April 14, 2016

12748011_968167059887388_245329798008628208_oFor those of you preparing for endurance trail races, we know that you are getting ready to ride long, get dirty, and have the time of your life. And while some you may have trained through the winter months, many have not. So we warn you winter sofa spuds that the alluring call of gorgeous spring days will tantalize you to ride too hard, too fast. This could lead to injuries, poor performances, and an overall unhappy 2016 cycling season.

Here are some ways not to meet that unfortunately end:

Endurance trail cyclists are on the cusp of some of the most favored mountain bike races in Colorado and the American west — races like Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, Thaw Massacre, 18 Hours of Fruita, Desert RATS Classic, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, and The Half/Original Growler. And being success in these races requires you to closely monitor early season training. 

Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  There are coaches and coaching plans to assist with specific and customized training.  Or, you can create your own training program.

Regardless of your approach, for precise bio feedback to align your training plan, you’ll need to use cycling accessories available to you – such as power meters, GPS computers, and/or heart rate monitors.  Early season training lends itself to “false” feedback.  Meaning, because you may be fresh, your perceived effort on the bike may be low causing you to push too hard, too soon. As a result, your training suffers later due to increased recovery time or even injury.  By monitoring your efforts with specific data, you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indictors, as well as when you aren’t pushing hard enough.  This allows your body to adjust to increased training load over time and in a manner that meets your 2016 cycling season goals.

Now, just because you can’t go all-out in your early training, doesn’t mean that you can’t build the mental toughness and focus that you will need during an endurance race. As described in the post, Developing Mental Toughness: Are you Tough Enough?, “mental toughness is your ability to persevere in the face of challenges, to keep going even when things get hard, and to have an unrelenting commitment to your goals. When you develop your mental toughness, obstacles are only temporary and one bad performance doesn’t shake your belief in your ability.”

For more information, don’t hesitate to visit our website or stop into our store – Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado. We have tons of advice, as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.


Don’t Compromise Your Spring Training Recovery Rides! Here’s How…

April 7, 2016
Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Joshua Murdock (Peak Cycles/bikeparts.com team cyclist) climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

When spring comes around every year, the temptation for many cyclists is to jump into race training with all the intensity, determination, and vigor they can muster. While these are positive mentalities to have, its important that competitive bicyclists not let their excitement for spring training cause them to overwork themselves. One of the key stages of training where this takes places is cycling recovery.

While it may not always seem like it, a recovery ride is just as important to a cyclist’s race training as a workout. Together, recovery and workouts are the ‘yin and yang’ that balances a riders preparation and optimizes performance. Three key areas of recovery to pay attention to include post-workout recovery, post-race recovery, and balanced nutrition.

Post-Workout Recovery

One of the easiest ways to undermine training is to ride too hard during a recovery ride. The article, “7 Ways to Nail Your Recovery Rides” from Bicycling Magazine explains this well –

When you train hard you do damage—that’s part of the plan. Your workout breaks down your muscle, empties out your fuel stores, and generally taxes your metabolism above and beyond its status quo. When you recover, your body repairs the damage so you can come back stronger and ready for more. If you skip the recovery part, you’re cheating yourself out of the maximum return on your hard work.

Even though it seems counter intuitive, recovery rides should feel easy! Here are some ways to ensure that you are getting a proper recovery:

  • Ride by yourself. You won’t be tempted to keep up with anyone else.
  • Pull out the beater bike. If you have an older bike, you can spin easy and not be tempted to go faster.
  • Get casual. Wear cloths that will make you feel like you’re just out for a cycling stroll
  • Use a bike computer. Let your gadgets tell you if you are going too fast

Post-Race Recovery

Races are often the hardest workout cyclists will do. They redline for longer periods of time than their training workouts and expend more energy. As a result, the mind sends signals to the body  that aren’t always what the body needs – such as exclusively eating junk food and sitting on the sofa for the rest of the day. The article, “Maximize Your Post Race Recovery from Training Peaks offers some ways that you can recover more quickly from a race:

  • Right after the race, eat simple carbohydrates. Go for that orange slice, banana, and slice of pizza offered at the race.
  • Supplement your post-race pizza and beer with other nutritional and caloric dense foods. Getting some protein will help your muscles recover (high protein intake is not good post-race, however) and caloric-dense foods restore glycogen levels in your liver and muscles.
  • Stay away from really fatty foods and foods that are high in protein.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  • Get your feet up after the race. Yes, we’re giving you permission to chill and get off of your feet. This is best if done right after you are off the bike.
  • Take a walk later that day. Getting up on your feet and moving around a while after the race helps speed the recovery process.

There are lots of resources online for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery. bikeparts.com has lots of different types of nutritional supplements all in one place as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel that can help you with your recovery training. And if you just want to talk to an expert, stop into Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to talk to one of our competitive cyclists. Have fun with your Spring Training!


Spring Cleaning! 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road

March 31, 2016

spring cyclingYou know that dark place in the garage where you never go? You know, the area where all the spiders hang out and no human dares approach for months on end. Well, we are aware that some of you store your bike there over the winter months. But now that spring is here and the roads are clear, you’re going to have to find some courage and release your bike from its dungeon; It’s ready to be ridden.

Before you mount your neglected steed, however, you should conduct a bike maintenance and safety check. Here are some steps that you can follow to make sure your bike are in tip-top shape for the spring cycling season:

  1. Clean Your Bike: Chances are that if your bike has been sitting in the garage for a while, it has accumulated some dust. Dust somehow finds its way into all of the secret nooks and crannies that often don’t see the light of day, so being thorough and methodical in the way that you clean your bike is to your advantage. Grab a rag, a brush, and a biodegradable cleaner and clean everything — the frame, chain, chain rings, cassette, derailleurs, pedals, brakes, and seat.
  2. Paying Attention to Your Chain: When you are cleaning your bike, you are going to eventually get to your chain and cassette. You will want to pay extra attention to these as they are essential for making your bike go. For an easy clean, scrub your chain and cassette with a brush and eco-friendly degreaser and re-lubricate the chain when you are done. For something more thorough, you could buy a chain cleaner like Park Tool’s Cyclone Chain Scrubber, fill it with a non-aerosol degreaser like Pedros Oranj Peelz, turn your crank 15-20 revolutions and let your scrubber do the job for you.
  3. Check your Wheels and Tires: Both your wheels and tires are essential for bike safety and efficiency and are important to inspect before jumping on the saddle. Clean the wheels with rubbing alcohol and dry with a cloth. Check the rims for damage and examine for loose spokes. Your wheel should run smoothly without any side-to-side wobble.
  4. Inspect Your Brakes: When your shredding down a long, winding road or a steep trail grade, what’s going to stop you? Your brakes! Bike brakes use brake pads to stop your wheels from turing. Brake pads wear down over time so you should examine your brake pads for any uneven or extensive wear. If you do find uneven abrasions, you probably need to get your brakes adjusted.

Some basic bike tools that you’ll want to have include:

If you are interested in learning more about how you can maintain your bike, we’d be happy to share information with you. And all the bikesbike parts cycling accessories, and cycling apparel you’ll need can be found on our website – bikeparts.com. We also highly recommend that you get a tune-up by a professional before taking it out on serious rides. Call or stop in to Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to schedule your bike for a full tune-up. We encourage you to think ahead because we get a large influx of bike tune-up requests in the spring.


Why Our New POC Cycling Gear Makes You a Better Rider

March 24, 2016

IMG_3691The introduction of POC Sports’ 2016 line of cycling gear turned some heads in the biking community. New designs and innovations make the gear an attractive choice for cycling accessories and can even make you a better rider.

Aside from the sleek style, the integration of new technology and compatibility adds a new-age touch to POC’s elegant design. For example, Separate components of the new 2016 line are designed to work together to make a more enjoyable and hassle-free cycling experience.

The POC Do Blade sunglasses – light-weight, flexible, and durable – are designed to be used in tandem with the POC Octal Road Helmet. Along with the sensitive lenses designed to increase contrasts on the road surface, the POC Do Blade sunglasses optimize airflow, aerodynamics, anti-fog, and comfort when worn with the Octal Helmet.

Similarly, both the Octal helmet and the POC Tectal mountain bike helmet provide high levels of protection with reinforced EPS liners and unibody shell construction without compromising their low weight and ventilation features. As far as we’re concerned, there is a reason why pros like UCI ProTeam Trek–Segafredo team member Ryder Hesjedal are wearing this POC gear combination.

POC also uses MIPS technology in some of its helmets. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and is essentially a brain protection system which allows for the helmet to slide relative to the head when a head strikes the ground at an angle (which happens in most falls). The POC Trabec Race MIPS helmet uses this technology, which also improves the life the helmet.

At Peak Cycles, we have just received all this POC gear and more. If you would like to learn more, or see hundreds of other types of bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel don’t hesitate to stop into our store or visit bikeparts.com


Your Bike Fit Resource – Improving Cycling Comfort, Efficiency and Performance

March 17, 2016

Peak-cycles-fit-studio-1_tnWhen you get sized for a bike in a bike shop, most people generally think, “will I need a small, medium, or large frame?” But the reality is that there is much more to a bike fit than the size of a frame. Even if you have had your bike for a long time, you might not actually “fit” your bike.

Bikes come in all sizes and shapes, and are endless bike parts and cycling accessories that can be added or swapped to make bikes a better fit for you. When considering a bike that will actually fit you, most bike experts consider things like frame size, frame dimensions, saddle height, top tube and stem dimensions, knee and cleat position, handle bar size, crank length and body angle. While each of these things are important, they don’t cover a complete bike fit. 

At Peak Cycles, we believe that there is much more to fitting a cyclist to his/her bicycle than just the physical dimensions of a bike. Each cyclist has a different history, experience, comfort level, and goal on the bike; each of these variables are important to the bike-fit process. 

peak_cycles_1

George Mullen runs our fit studio at Peak Cycles and, through his experience, he has learned that understanding the athlete’s needs are by far the most important component in the fit. With over fifteen years of fitting experience, over 3000 fits, certifications from Serotta Elements™ and Serotta Advanced Fit™ courses as well as Specialized™ Body Geometry fit school, George has learned that simple but significant questions like these drive a proper fit: 

  • What are your body’s dimensions? Are you long in the inseam or long in the torso?
  • What is your injury history?
  • What does your flexibility look like?
  • What is your sustainable core strength like?

Peak-cycles-fit-studio-2_tn

These questions help channel an understanding of your body type, experience, ability level, and past riding technique to inform a more complete fit using an eleven element functional movement screen. This 3-dimentional assessment  covers things like: 

  • Detailed personal profile interview (cycling history, injuries, nagging pains, goals, etc.)
  • Functional movement screen (in-depth body flexibility testing and assessment)
  • Pre-fit assessment of your current riding position on your bike
  • XYZ plane adjustments (X=horizontal/length reach adjustment, Y=vertical/height seat adjustment, Z=frontal area adjustment)
  • Pedal/cleat adjustment(includes verus/valgus cleat shimming as necessary for pedaling alignment)

We also have a new Chamois fit system, which matches the right chamois size with the right bib size (again small, medium, and large doesn’t usually cut it). If you would like to learn more about how you can get a complete and proper bike fit, please stop into Peak Cycles and ask. 


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