Late Season Rally – Tips to Maintain Your Fitness and Motivation

August 10, 2017

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing in Colorado

With school starting and only about a month and half left of the Colorado cycling racing and touring season, many are filling up their calendars with the last big events of the season hoping to capitalize on the fitness gains made during the season.

Some of the popular Colorado races and tours on tap for August include:

Yet, as we transition from summer to fall, many cyclist find their enthusiasm for riding dwindling.  Have you noticed that 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 and cyclist. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation just plain lacking.  With that in mind, what are the ways to maintain motivation while also capture added gains towards next year’s goals? 

The key to late season racing and bike events is really to have fun! Try new events, ride routes, and races. 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. Venture out of your comfort zone and try racing a new road bike or mountain bike for one of the events mentioned above.

If experimentation isn’t your thing, then at least replace worn out bike parts or catch deals on bike close outsbike parts and components. Stock up on cycling apparel for the fall and winter months to keep motivation high through the transitioning season.

Or, maybe training is too grueling for you this time of year. Switch from training to riding to work.  Bike commuting helps get in the miles while offering up time for other fun activities. Other fun activities include strength training and yoga.  Both of these activities help to extend the fitness gains you’ve made through the current year.

Another option for fun is adding in some skill training. During peak training periods, bike skills and technique is often overlooked.  Why not spend some time improving your bike skills? The video: Five key skills to improve your bike handling offers great visuals and the post, Body Position on the MTB, dials in where you need to be on the bike to ride your best.  Experimenting late season avoids the risk of injury during peak races but also can offer a new challenge – like learning how to do a track stand.

Enjoy the fitness gains you have made through the season. Have fun!  Having a fun, relaxed attitude combined with a celebratory bike event is a great way to finish your season.


The Cyclist Guide to Black Friday – Getting the Gifts You Want and Need 

November 17, 2016

11895116_879913045419413_8627429630943288070_oMost cyclists, whether competitive or not, enjoy being at the front of the pack.  Sure, it’s safer, but it’s also cool to be in front.  As the Thanksgiving Holiday is right around the corner, now’s the time to position yourself to be at the front of the pack – shopping that is!

Leading out the shopping season is Black Friday.  From the start, you have a chance to cash in on bike components, cycling apparel, bicycle parts including trainers and all sorts of bike goodies.  Here’s what you’re going to want to stock up on! 

Start small and go for the usual suspects for stocking stuffers including multi tools, tubes, bottles, socks, head warmers, arm warmers, shoe covers, gloves, lube, energy bars, gels, chews and similar items. Add these to your wish list or invite family and friends to purchase them for you. You can never have too many of these items, so indulge! 

Next, evaluate what is missing in your cycling program.  Are you in need of new cycling apparel?  As in jerseys, layering options, or cycling shoes. What about your bike?  Do you need new bike parts?  And, don’t forget about nutrition and supplements!  Now’s the time time to select the cycling accessories and other much needed items that you would like to see show up under the tree.

Yet, let’s not forget for a moment that holiday wish lists and making the most of Black Friday is all about what you need, right?  Isn’t it about dreaming big? Which training elements would you love to have, but don’t?  A new heart rate monitor? Or a power meter?  The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to purchase, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters, beginning at $1000. Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

Don’t stop there! Drop the hammer and make your wish list epic! Go big! Get a new road bike, mountain bike, or fat bike! Take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday for savings and specials.  Great road bicycles don’t have to come at a hefty price tag either.  Right now, in our Golden, Colorado shop we have a variety of bikes that are light and fast for racing.  If a new bike isn’t in your budget, then start with the basics.  Have good equipment.  Meaning, add some bike parts to your list.   

As a reminder, our shop BikeParts.com offers a huge selection of road bike partsmountain bike partsBMX bike parts and more. If you need it for your bike, then we have it! Because we sell our bicycle parts online, we are able to help customers all over the world helping them – and you – to get the gifts you want and need. 


How to Master Race Day Jitters  

July 28, 2016
BikeParts.com team rider Joshua Vogt mastered the jitters! #1 at the Rattler Series #3

BikeParts.com team rider Joshua Vogt mastered the jitters! #1 at the Rattler Series #3

Before a race or a big event, do you ever feel overwhelmed? Nervous? Anxious?

For the most part, experiencing those sensations is normal. Yet, oftentimes, negative self talk can exasperate the problem.

Thoughts like, “I haven’t trained enough” or you find yourself caring too much about what other people think.  Maybe looking around the start of an event you take a mental inventory and think other cyclist look more fit or have better bikes. Worst case scenario, you notice the weather and assign its condition as to how you think you will perform. Whatever the case may be, managing your thoughts and creating successful race day routines is well within your scope of control.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we’ve found that a little preparation can aid in reducing race day jitters.  Here’s what works!

Register for an Event – In order to experience race day jitters, you actually have to be registered for an event!  If you don’t have anything planned, select a road race and / or  MTB race for the upcoming month. Here’s what we have on tap for Colorado racing

Set Goals – Everyone has different goals.  For some, races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time.  For others, it’s making the podium. For most cyclist, it’s about achieving personal bests.  The most important aspect of having a goals it that it can help reduce pre race anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race.  Identify 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.

Race Route – Know the course and the conditions.  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.  Familiarity with the race course and weather conditions aids in having confidence to tackle anything that comes at you during your big event. 

Race Day Rituals – Designing and refining a pre-event routine is an important part of building a successful race season.  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 bike tools. This way, you won’t forget anything as you prepare for your start.  Maybe visualization, mantras, and breathing exercises are your thing.  Regardless, each event offers you a chance to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for your next race.

Start Line Mental State – Your thoughts, emotions, and pre race behaviors are components of your mental state; with that in mind, take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals.  It’s easy to compare your training and fitness to others.  Here is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. 

Success Parameters – 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 mechanicals?  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, you’re always likely to suffer from some race day nerves. However, with a little planning you can gain confidence.  No matter what your training has been like up until this point, having successful race day strategies in place puts you way ahead of a lot of other people on race day. 


Motivation and Planning – The Key to Making Cycling Resolutions Stick 

January 7, 2016

Make it Happen in 2016It’s tough being a bike rider from January through late March. The holidays are over, the winter weather is in full swing and the idea of keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet many cyclists, both competitive and recreational, have committed to New Year resolutions but are battling regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom.  What can a cyclist do?

Granted, the amount of downtime you can afford to take in winter depends on your goals for the coming year. If you have a century ride, a bike trip, or a hard race scheduled for June or July, you can probably get away with a layoff.  On the other hand, if an athlete wants to maintain fitness over the winter it it’s important to you get your motivation in gear now to make these gains and keep your cycling training on track.  Here’s how.

Define your goals.  What do you want to accomplish in 2016?  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.  The trick is to really dial those goals in. As in, a goal to consistently hitting heart rate zones or power zones for specific workout.  Use cycling accessories that are available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors to provide objective feedback.  Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. You may also want to check out our post, Heart Rate Training – What You Need to Know for our staff picks at Peak Cycles Bike Shop. Based on your goals, you can then get an action plan together by defining your training objectives.

Define your training objectives.  Now that you have your sights set for some events in 2016, it’s time to take inventory of your abilities to meet your goals for these events. What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?  For every area of improvement, decide what activity is needed to improve that.  If you have poor bike handling skills, then schedule time each week for bike drills.  If your core is week, schedule time for yoga or strength training. And, if you are like most cyclist, you could use a little stretching. Make time for stretching to improve your flexibility.

Define your approach.  Get a game plan together of how you plan to train and race.  Again, taking stock of last year’s performances, where can you improve?  Some cyclist focus exclusively on race day performance and evaluate results on a single day. However, take a look at how the days leading up to your event impacted the result.  How was you bike nutrition? How was your sleep? Did you have a race strategy in place? Were you familiar with the logistics of the event, as well as, the course profile itself?  All of these factors impact day of results.  Take time now to review and plan ahead.  Experiment with new ideas, products, and approaches. As in, maybe try a new on bike nutrition product. Experiment with different bike parts and bike components.  Consider designing and refining a pre-event routine, like a race day ritual.  This thoughtful process brings a fresh approach to 2016 and keeps you motivated through the winter months.

Ultimately, motivation for keeping your resolutions 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, connect with that and pedal your way to a successful 2016 cycling season.  Happy New Year friends!


Get In Gear Before Winter – Favorite Fall Rides Along Colorado’s Front Range

September 10, 2015

Fall bike riding offers the chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and reinvigorate our spirits with the freedom riding a bike inspires.  Officially, fall begins September 23, early in the morning.  While we’re only two weeks away from the official fall season, you can see the season transitioning.  Days are shorter. The temperatures are cooler.  Kids are back in school. And, sadly, vacationing is nearing an end. Now is the time to mark your calendar to get in your favorite rides before winter heads our way.

Mountain bike enthusiast will enjoy several of our local trails.  In fact, surprisingly, Green Mountain Trail is a year long favorite for us.  Because Green Mountain is less technical than some of the surrounding trails in Golden, some consider it to be boring.  Yet, to others, it can be a great trail to do intervals or even test ride a new bike or dial in new bike components before heading out to a more challenging trail.  For some, Green Mountain offers the mental ease of road riding, but on dirt.  For others, it’s an opportunity to work heart rate and power zones.  Either option works, but what we like best about riding Green Mountain trail is that it’s a staple in the trail riding system along the Front Range.

Now, if you prefer grueling climbs, steep and narrow descents and tight switch-backs, then White Ranch may be the trail for you.  White Ranch Trail, located in Golden, Colorado near the Peak Cycles bicycle shop, offers an extensive trail system of 20 miles of multi-use trails over both gentle and rugged terrain.  You can read why this popular trail is a favorite of ours here.

Close to our shop is also Golden’s Apex Park –the Enchanted Forest trail. This mountain bike ride contains 11+ miles of trails of stellar single track and a delightful surprise with the Enchanted Forest trail.  True to its name, the Enchanted Forest provides lush tree cover and is considered a favorite among local riders.  Watch our video to see why!

Finally, a favorite to many, the Buffalo Creek trail system is a hands down favorite trail in the greater-Denver region. Why? With a diverse trail system consisting of 20 plus miles of sweet single track and 2,700 feet in elevation gain, you’ll enjoy mountain views, majestic rock formations, great downhills, smooth roller coasters, and almost ALL single track.

Aside from Green Mountain, most of these trails are unrideable in the winter months. Enjoy them now or maybe opt for some fall road rides. As many know, Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides in the country. Some are shorter, convenient rides whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Check out our list of 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides and make plans to get your rides in.

A third option for enjoying the fall leaves and maintaining fitness is bike commuting.  Granted, we don’t have a favorite bike commuting route, but we do know that selecting a good route matters! Learn how to pick a route you like. Google maps for cycling is a good option.  Because the days are getting shorter, be mindful of the time and we suggesting having a set of small, modern LED lights on hand in case you get stuck at the office.

It’s easy to embrace the transition from summer to fall when you have great rides to look forward to riding.  Being mindful of the best clothing options, cycling apparel, bike parts, and nutritional needs during the changing season helps too!  So, whether you are enjoying the vibrant mix of autumn hues from a scenic country road, a bike path, or a trail, fall bike rides in Colorado are the best way to get up close and personal with the season’s colors  while filling up their lungs with crisp Colorado air.


When Lack of Training Motivation Rears Its Ugly Head – Do this!

January 15, 2015

training motivationIt’s tough being a bike rider from December through late March. Keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet, this time of year, many cyclists, competitive and recreational, are fighting regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom.

Granted, the amount of downtime you can afford to take in winter depends on your goals for the coming year. If you have a century ride, a bike trip, or a hard race scheduled for June or July, you can probably get away with a layoff.  On the other hand, if an athlete wants to maintain fitness over the winter it it’s important to you get your motivation in gear now to make these gains and keep your cycling training on track.  Here’s how. 

First, it’s important to review your goals for the coming year and create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your training time.  Do you train better with a partner?  Then, enlist the help of your family and friends.  Is your bike riding properly?  Check out your bike components, determine which bike parts you need, and get your bike in proper riding condition.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable. This makes sitting on the sofa eating bonbons a little less attractive and harder to do!

Also, keep it fresh! Winter is a time to build for the year ahead.  Trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength.  The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with lower and upper body, while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists or 7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes to get you started and also – to keep you motivated through the winter months.

Another option?  Focus on nutrition.  Many subscribe to the idea of eating pasta and carbs for fueling training and racing.  Yet, there is a growing shift in nutritional information towards a strong focus on vegetables, fruits and lean meats as fuel.  Consider experimenting with your diet and nutrition as a means for making gains in your 2015 cycling program.  For ideas, read Five Ways To Get Started With the Paleo Diet.

Everything else aside, if you still don’t feel compelled to train through the winter, then at least feast your eyes on bike parts, cycling accessories, and new bikes.  Or, bring your bike in for service at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.  At a minimum, you are fueling your desire to ride when the weather improves!   But, what it boils down to is that an essential element to being a successful athlete is staying motivated throughout the year.  Remember, cycling is supposed to be fun.  Set small goals, create a supportive structure and atmosphere for your training environment, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do in 2015!

 

Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your 2014 Cycling Season

December 26, 2013
Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

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

While the year may not be quite over, many are already planning their 2014 race and cycling season.  Sure, it’s fun to have lofty new goals, new ambitions, and new venues to fuel your cycling passions through the winter months and holiday season, but not pausing to reflect on what has recently come to pass during the previous season is missing a valuable opportunity to make personal gains that only you can make.   Personal reflection offers insights to truly optimize your training and racing regimen.

Before setting your sights on new goals for 2014, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with an objective, yet critical eye.  The post, Athlete-Coach Season Review, poses 10 questions to review your past season’s performance:

  • 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?
  • 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?
  • Do you have any extra comments and insights on this season?

With these personal insights in mind, you are better equipped to plan and execute a rewarding and successful 2014 cycling season.  Take the lessons and insights from these questions to make SMART goals for 2014.  When you make your resolutions SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound), not only do you boost your chance of  attaining your goals, but you also  become a better cyclist in the process.  Aside from the traditional resolutions to ride more, to lose weight, and to explore new rides, consider taking on some different resolutions.  Explore how these suggestions can add to your training or mental preparation for the upcoming season.

Set a personal goal for the miles you want to ride in 2014.  Using a cycling computerheart rate monitor, or power meter offers options in calculating mileage and other fitness related variables.  Try a new tool and see if it makes adding up the miles a little easier.

Learn to maintain your own bike. For some, bike maintenance  can be a chore, but having the right set of bike components and tools can make all the difference.  Consider creating a pre-ride bike check or an ongoing maintenance program to follow.  Bike maintenance can be a great way of engaging in your cycling passion the whole year long.

Bike commute and do it more often. Bike commuting improves fitness, health, saves money, and also benefits the environment by keeping one less car on the road.  If you aren’t a bike commuter now, maybe in 2014 you will be.  And, if you already bike commute, perhaps resolve to commute by bike more frequently.

Inspire others to get out and ride.  Bike inspiration comes in many forms, from DVD‘s, to books, to new bikes and bike parts, to riding with others.  Share your bike passion with others in ways that are meaningful and inspiring to them.  How many friends do you think you could inspire to be two wheeled friends in 2014?

Give Back.  Cycling by nature brings out the best in us all.  Consider volunteering your time, skills, or resources at local bike races and bike events.  Event participants will be in your gratitude but you may get back more than you give!  Many volunteers are inspired to participate, race, or take on bigger goals than they previously imagined due to volunteering and helping others to reach their goals.

Commit to a Positive Attitude.   Nothing is more contagious than a positive attitude!  Resolve in 2014 to embrace power thoughts and bike parts that motivate you to get on your bike and ride. Surround yourself with fellow cyclist aiming for similar goals.  Remember, your attitude determines your altitude.

For cyclist, attaining goals is part motivation, part perspiration, and part having the right tools to help you reach your goals.   Here’s to a bright and rewarding New Year ahead!