Avoid Early Season Training Injuries with Rest and Recovery

March 29, 2018

Physiophyx for recovery

With the great weather we’ve been having in Golden, Colorado, it’s hard to keep yourself off the bike!  Do you find yourself overtraining? Riding too many long miles? Or simply, skimping on your regular self care? How do you know if you’re pushing the limits too far? Are you recovering enough?

Now that the temperature is getting warmer, the days are growing longer, and the weather is improving, Colorado cyclists are beckoned to ride their bikes. While some may have trained through the winter months, many have not.  And the alluring call of gorgeous spring days lures many unprepared cyclist to ride too hard, too fast which can lead to injuries.  Whether you are planning to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2018, monitoring your early season training sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  

Recently, we wrote about Optimizing Your Spring Training and suggested training right, getting a bike fit, dialing in your bike parts and cycling accessories, and also, performing regular bike inspections.  Yet, there are two other relevant factors that play a role in optimizing your spring training.  That is – recovery and sleep. Whether recovering from a hard training effort or as part of your training cycle, there are quite a few actions you can take to facilitate quicker adaptations beginning with your ride style.  

At the completion of your ride, be mindful to cool down appropriately. Spin your legs out and get your heart rate down. Immediately following your ride, Carrie McCusker, an endurance coach, recommends to “restore fluid and electrolyte balance, to replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores, and to stimulate protein synthesis. You can accomplish this by consuming carbohydrates, protein and fluids within thirty to sixty minutes of finishing your workout. Based on research data, athletes are encouraged to utilize this “glycogen window” to restore the muscles. It is particularly important for glycogen-depleting workouts, those that are longer than two hours or those with high intensity efforts, or if the day involves two or three workouts.”

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, a favorite nutritional product available for recovery post ride is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  

Included in the recovery process is quality sleep.  According to the post, This Is Your Body On Sleep, reduced sleep negatively impacts your HGH production, and your body’s ability to restore its muscle glycogen supply.  Ensure you are going quality of sleep by using the Sleep Cycle App.  This cool app analyzing users’ sleep patterns and displays data showing how well (or poorly) you slept during the night.  You might also add rolling or massage, stretching, compression, and low intensity activity to aid in getting a better night’s sleep. Many cyclist sleep in compression garments because they claim that it lowers perceived muscle soreness the day after a big day on the bike and they can reduce the swelling of legs after prolonged sitting.

Finally, put your mind at ease.  As mentioned, sometimes cyclist train harder in the spring thinking they are behind on training.  The combination of perceived effort versus actual effort can be inaccurate.  This false bio feedback can cause a cyclist to push too hard.  With that said, we suggest taking the subjective aspect out of your cycling performance evaluation.  We have cycling accessories to help you get precise bio feedback to remove the guess work out of your training – specifically power meters and /or heart rate monitors. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power.

So, take your time. Ease into spring. Enjoy quality training now that paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.

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Your Spring Riding Survival Kit

March 22, 2018
BikeParts.com Team Riders Training in Spring Weather

BikeParts.com Team Riders Training in Spring Weather

One thing’s for sure, spring can be unpredictable. Balmy blue skies can quickly transform into rain and then, just as you’re shouting from the rooftops, “It’s tank top weather!” a merciless return of snow.  Here’s our survival guide to make the most of spring cycling.

Basic repair and maintenance kit
There are a few items you should bring with you for bicycle mechanical emergencies. All these items can fit in a small seat bag. The basic supplies you should have in your kit include a spare inner tube, tire levers, patch kit, mini-pump, and a folding multi-tool. In case of a chain break bring a chain master link. A small paper clip or zip tie can help keep the chain together to limp the bike home. While not considered essential items, some cyclist take their basic kit a bit further and include other items like a small amount of duck tape, zip ties or rubber bands.

Water and/or sports drink and a light snack
Staying hydrated is a necessity on a ride of any length, even in cooler weather. You might think that on a shorter ride, a snack is not necessary, but a breakdown or other unforeseen circumstances might put you out on the road or trail longer than you expected. Given that gels and bars are small, just slip a few in your jersey pocket to have on hand.

Cash, ATM card, Personal Identification
You don’t need a lot of cash but a little cash, say $5 or $10 just in case you want to stop for food or water. Also, it’s important to bring some sort of identification. A drivers license works best; others prefer to wear a RoadID. If you don’t wear a RoadID, you will want to carry something that has contact information in case of an emergency.

The right cycling apparel
Whether you want to ride in the new spring cycling styles or spin in your usual cycling gear, the main point to remember is to have clothing options available to you while riding. The weather turns quick and a rain shower or quick drop in temperature can make the best of rides turn sour quickly. Consider having a standby bike ready bag available. Pack it with arm and leg warmers, a headband or cap, rain jacket, and lube.

Despite the fact that most rides go well, there’s a lot that can go wrong on a ride and the chances are they’ll go wrong when you’re at your farthest point from home. Make it easy on yourself and have the right bike parts, cycling accessories, and bicycle tools with you.


Get in on the Fat Bike Action: Register for the Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy! 

March 15, 2018
Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy: A fat bike celebration

Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy: A fat bike celebration

If you joined us for the STAUNTON BLIZZARD Fat Bike Race, then you know how much fun it was!  If not, now you have another chance!  Join us Sunday, March 18th for the Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy!

We’re planning another crazy fun day of fat biking featuring a spectator friendly 8-lap circuit race and other fat bike shenanigans. Racers can go solo or in teams of 2 or 4 so gather your friends, plan your costumes (optional), and get ready for some fat fun. All for a great cause – grooming equipment to make fat biking at Staunton a blast for years to come!  

You might be wondering what all the fuss is about fat biking?  A brief history: fat bikes were originally invented for winter trail riding and racing in sub-arctic Alaska and simultaneously, for touring the deserts of New Mexico. Over the last few years, they have gained severe popularity! Their utility has expanded to include all forms of cycling; they thrive in snow, sand, desert, mud those that ride them, consider it normal mountain biking.  Accompanying the fat bike enthusiasm are manufacturers making newer fat bike models that are lighter. So while the fat tires may throw you off, these bikes are light and fun. 

Yet, as popular as they are, many have yet to experience this cycling bliss!  Following are the top blog posts to help answer your questions about fat bikes. 

Get in on the fat bike action!  Visit Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado for your bike parts and cycling accessories.  Take your cycling to another level of fun and register for the Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy.  See you Sunday, March 18th! 


Cycling Success: A Guide to Launch Your 2018 Spring Cycling Season

March 8, 2018

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing

Spring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation. A given rule of thumb is that all races provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form. Because of that, targeting a handful of high and low priority races and events throughout the year can be useful as learning experiences and opportunities to dial in nutritional needs and race strategies. The question for many is, where to start?

Begin by committing to an event! This March and April, there are many tours, races, and events to choose from in Colorado. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, following are some of our upcoming favorite March and early April cycling events.

– Leadville Winter Bike Series 50k
– Pedaling for St. Pats
– Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy
– Great Divide Grinder
– Louisville Criterium
– Buff Gold Road Race
– Oredigger Classic – Chad Young Memorial TT

Now, using your chosen event, set some goals. For some, early season races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time. However, having defined goals can help reduce prerace anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race. So, begin by identifying what you want to accomplish with this event whether it be a targeted Heart Rate or Power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course and use that to benchmark your success.

Next, evaluate the race route. Specifically, get to know the course and the conditions. Spring weather can alter race course conditions considerably. Take into consideration the bike parts you’ll be racing and confirm you have the bike components and gear needed to successfully race the course. For mountain bike components – consider tire selection carefully when riding wet and muddy trails.

Keep in mind, last racing season was some time ago. Your race day preparations might be stale so begin to prepare some race day rituals that you can use and build upon throughout the 2018 season. Give it some thought: does having a checklist of race day activities help structure your preparation to the start line? Include items such as nutrition, hydration, clothes, gear, extra bike parts and basic bicycle tools. This way, you won’t be forgetting anything as you prepare for your start. Maybe visualization, mantras, and breathing exercises are your thing. Regardless, early season races offer a chance to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for the season going forward.

Remember to include in your race day rituals how you want to start the race! It seems simple enough to show up on the line and be ready for the gun to go off, but your start line mental state makes a difference – especially in early season races when nerves are running high. Your thoughts, emotions, and prerace behaviors are components of your mental state, so take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals. It’s easy early season to compare your training and fitness to others. This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. Stay true to your goals – not others.

Finally, evaluate your results based on your goals. What worked? What didn’t? What can you do next race to get a better result? Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event. Remember to evaluate your bike and cycling accessory selections. Did you race the right bike? Would a different wheel set make a difference? Did you suffer from mechanical issues? Now is the time to dial in, replace, and buy the bike parts that you need going into your next event.

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, planning your early season events can lay a foundation for confidence and physical fitness in which to build upon for the cycling season. Enjoy the March cycling events in Colorado and use them to catapult you into a great 2018 cycling season.


Optimization: Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Spring Cycling 

March 1, 2018

Early Season Training for Peak Cycles Race Team

The winter months aren’t very conducive to maintaining a solid level of fitness and keeping in shape.  Yet spring is right around the corner and with the warming temperatures and the start of daylight savings time it’s fair to say we’re seeing the first signs of spring.  This can be both hugely exciting, and also slightly nerve racking for cyclists who have spent the winter months working towards spring or summer goals. So, what are the best ways to optimize your cycling to prepare best for the upcoming season? Rest assured, we’ve got you covered.  Read on. 

Optimize your fitness with a power meter:
Whether you plan to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2018, monitoring your early season training and racing sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  Our tip to do this? Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you. Given that 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, and then 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 2018 cycling season goals.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, to dial in which training aid is best for you. 

Optimize biological feedback with a heart rate monitor:
Speaking of heart rate, heart rate monitors are a funny thing – they can be completely useless or extremely valuable depending on how you use them. Heart rate training has been viewed in many ways over the years, from very precise to not so precise. Now, a growing number of coaches and exercise physiologists support the use of heart rates as an important part of biological feedback, as heart rates are a direct reflection of what is happening internally.  If you’re new to training with heart rate monitors, the post, The Variables and Trends of Heart Rate Training,  walks you through the steps of learning your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate.  But before you begin to analyze data, you actually have to have a heart rate monitor to get started!  Visit us at Peak Cycles Bike Shop or BikeParts.com to check out the heart rate monitors for the 2018 cycling season. 

Optimize your riding position with a bike fit:
An often overlooked, yet incredibly powerful tool for improved cycling is a bike fit.   If you haven’t ridden much through the winter, now is the best time for a bike fit.  Why?  Because your body is unaccustomed to the riding position.  You have an opportunity to optimize your position and make needed upgrades to your road bike or mountain bike.  Think of it this way – leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  And, a bike fit goes beyond just setting saddle height and bar reach. To get the most enjoyment and reward from your training programs it’s critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.

Optimize bike mechanics with 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.  Remember, pre season bike maintenance and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.

There you have it! Plan for a successful cycling season by training right early season.  A good bike fit, steady riding, and the use of training tools paves the way for a healthy, injury free 2018. 


Registration and Prep Tips for the STAUNTON BLIZZARD Fat Bike Race

February 22, 2018

STAUNTON BLIZZARD FAT BIKE RACE

If you’re a winter cyclist, you are tough. You’re love of cycle overcomes any inhibitions to stay inside during cold, windy, and snowy winter weather. And while it’s not always easy to be outside in winter, you love the chill on your face and the wind whipping through your helmet holes. And that is why you want to race a fat bike this weekend at the first ever STAUNTON BLIZZARD!

The Staunton Blizzard is the first ever Front Range fat bike race! Be a part of history and join us Sunday, February 25th at Staunton State Park in Pine, Colorado to ride along a beautiful 12.1 mile loop that includes the following trails: Staunton Ranch – Borderline – Mason Creek. The views and the course will take your breath away! Fatties roll out at 8,100 feet for a route that includes 2,000 feet of breathtaking elevation gain.

If you are new to fat bikes, you might be wondering how to prepare for fat bike riding. In our post, Fat Bike Essentials for First Time Fat Bike Riders, we give you the lay of land and basically, this is what you need to know.

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

SMART CLOTHING CHOICES AND POGIES & GLOVES
Obviously, if you are going to be riding out in the cold, you’ll want to dress warm and dress appropriately. But what does that mean exactly? You have to think a little bit harder before and during your fat bike rides in the cold. Generally the most important tip for keeping warm is to layer, and to carry a pack to put your extra layers away. Some people prefer to wear ski goggles and a ski helmet, and lots of people wear winter boots. Poagies, insulated hand covers that slip over your handle bars, are also very useful for keeping your hands warm. Keeping your feet warm is key. Wearing boots, preferably water proof, with thick socks on flat pedals or clipless boots with multiple pairs of socks works.

FACE AND EYE PROTECTION
Obviously, cover your head! You can wear a buff or a cap and headgear. Buffs are really good for neck protection as well. Another option are balaclavas – especially so if you want to keep almost your entire face warm. Remember to wear appropriate eye protection too! The glare from the snow can be blinding. While not as stylish as some of the cycling eyewear we carry on BikeParts.com, you could consider wearing goggles to help protect our eyes and face in snowy conditions.

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

A FAT BIKE
You have to have a fat bike to ride one! Finding the fat bike that works for you will depend on the type of riding that you do and, more importantly, your budget. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are all big fans of fat bike riding. Stop by to buy a fat bike or demo one. And if you want even more fat bike ideas, or need for cycling apparel, bike parts, and cycling accessories, stop in the shop for that too! We’ve got all the gear and cycling accessories for you riding needs!

So what is stopping you? Get in on the fat bike action! Register today for the STAUNTON BLIZZARD and we’ll see you this Sunday!


First Ever Front Range Fat Bike Race – STAUNTON BLIZZARD

February 15, 2018

STAUNTON BLIZZARD FAT BIKE RACE

In recent posts we have told you why fat bikes are all the rage. We’ve even shared Why We Love the Specialized Fat Boy Bike. Now, you need someplace to ride your fat bike, right?! Well guess what fat bikers – registration is now open for the STAUNTON BLIZZARD!

The Staunton Blizzard is the first ever Front Range fat bike race! Be a part of history and join us Sunday, February 25th at Staunton State Park in Pine, Colorado to ride along a beautiful 12.1 mile loop that includes the following trails: Staunton Ranch – Borderline – Mason Creek. The views and the course will take your breath away! Fatties roll out at 8,100 feet for a route that includes 2,000 feet of breathtaking elevation gain.

If you are new to fat bikes, you’re invited to read our top three blog posts on the subject: Fat Bike Essentials for First Time Fat Bike Riders, Top Fat Bike FAQ’s, and Are you Fat Bike Curious? The Questions You Want Answered!

As you can see, we love fat biking and we want others to love it too! Our passion for fat bike riding has inspired us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and Big Ring Cycles to partner with 285 Nordic and Staunton State Park to raise money for a grooming machine at Staunton.

Join us Sunday, February 25th at Staunton Ranch and help creating a great location for fat bike riders for years to come, right here in the front range. Get all your bike parts, cycling accessories, and any fat bike questions answered at our shop.  And, we’ll see you at the Staunton Blizzard for a fun day of racing! Register today!