How to Develop a Winning Mindset for Early Season Races  

March 16, 2017

Team Rider at BikeParts.com / Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Planning and preparing for race season is part of a cyclist’s yearly ritual. Looking forward to focused training and racing is what keeps most coming back season after season. However,  a common misconception is that all of an athlete’s time needs to be devoted to the bike when race preparation begins.  Not true.  Having the right pre season mindset can be a game changer for performance and satisfaction.   

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 early season races –  whether it be a targeted heart rate or power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course.

Pre Race Bike Preparations – While you may have been training on your road bike or mountain bike, race conditions may require more from your bike.  Before you head for the start line, you should conduct a bike maintenance and safety check.  Know which bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel are appropriate for the trail or road route you will be racing.  Remember, because it’s early season, the weather fluctuates, so consider variable weather conditions and the bike tools and bike parts you may require under different conditions.  Preparation eliminates the frustration of experiencing a mechanical; so while bike maintenance may not always be fun, it’s worthwhile.  

Establish Race Day Rituals – Most likely it’s been a while since your last race; so remembering what your routines and rituals that worked last season may be absent for this seasons first races.  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.  Consider having a timer count down so you don’t loose track of time.  This way, you won’t forget anything as you prepare for your start.  Use each early season race 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.  This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. 

Mid Race Mental Toughness – Generally at some point during the race, something is going to go wrong – or at least, not quite as ideal as expected.  Either you suffer from a mechanical issue or your race day nutrition is off or you just feel the suffering from a hard effort.  This is the time to dig deep and exercise mental toughness. 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.”  Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year. 

Post Race Evaluation  – 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.

A winning mindset isn’t a set it and forget it type of thing.  Consistency and flexibility are crucial elements in the ongoing approach to your races as the season unfolds.  Be consistent in your preparations yet build upon what you have learned to fire up the engine and get out there and race better with each race!


Valentine’s Day Love to Our Two-Wheeled Friends 

February 9, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day from BikeParts.comOur two wheeled friends have a way of bringing people together. Whether it is for a competitive group ride, a casual bike ride with friends, or a stroll with our significant other.  

Riding bikes has a way of unleashing powerful emotions.  You know, like the sense of power you get when the wind is at your back.  Or, the seance of wonder and appreciation you feel upon glancing at our natural environment.  Emotions are an expression of the joy we get from riding our bike.  

Since bike riding gifts our spirits and bodies with so much, why not share the love this Valentine’s Day with your bike?  

Upgrade dated or worn bike parts
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your bike some love! At BikeParts.com we have ongoing closeouts that save on bike parts, cycling apparel, and cycling accessories. With that in mind, replace bike parts regularly.  

Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before investigating.  Some parts of a bike have a set “wear life”. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, this includes chainscassetteschainringsbrake pads, and cleats.  Stay one step ahead of the game by purchasing these types of bike parts on sale and have them on hand when you need them. 

Bike Maintenance 
Bike maintenance can be a chore, but a necessity. Regular maintenance is essential to any good relationship, right? Including the relationship with your bike! There are several ways to show your bike some love.  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. 

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.

Experience something new
Demo a fat bike!  That’s right! Fat bikes are all the rage – they thrive in snow, sand, desert, bogs and mud as well as riding what is considered normal mountain biking.  In fact, fat bikes are the fastest growing segment in the bike industry.  Book a fat bike demo. Better yet, purchase a new bike. 

There are other ways to show some love for our sport this Valentine’s Day.  Consider donating unused or older bike parts to someone or an organization in need.  Pledge to support bike programs like People for Bikes or Bike Denver.  Maybe show your own heart some love and invest in a new heart rate monitor and take your fitness to a new level.  

Regardless of how you express your love for bikes and cycling, all of us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, encourage you to embrace your true love of the sport this Valentine’s Day.


Daylight Savings Ending – Fear Not! Cycling Training Strategies for Daylight and Night Hours  

November 3, 2016
Training Tips at BikeParts.com

Training Tips at BikeParts.com

With the time change this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. But fear not, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have training strategies that can help you make the best of the daylight and night hours!

Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, there are ways to make the most of the daytime hours.  It requires a little planning and creativity.  Also, time management plays an important role here. 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.  However, as other bike enthusiasts know, riding at night can be fun, relaxing, and a delightful end to the day.  If you are up for a little adventure, here’s how to make night time riding work for you! 

Be a well lit cyclist. Purchase 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. You do not notice it during the day and it shows up white at night.  And, as the temperature drops, it’s hard to know what to wear when it’s 50 degrees and sunny outside versus 30 – 35 degrees and cloudy.  Riding in transitional weather can be a challenge!  But, with clothing that is versatile, lightweight, and easy to pack down, you can find a cycling wardrobe that works for you. Watch our video, How to Dress for Winter Cycling to get ideas. 

Explore your ride options. Riding in the dark makes the riding of any technical section immediately harder than in the day.  It takes a good while to overcome this, so don’t set yourself a task to ride the most demanding trails or bike paths you have.  Ease yourself in as the nights start earlier and downgrade your expectations.   Remember, you will inevitably ride and travel more slowly than in daylight.  A way to overcome this is to invest in a good set of lights. With that being said, be mindful that your route doesn’t exceed your lights battery capacities.

Become a fan of bike maintenance: Experiencing mechanical difficulties in the cold and at night is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride.  Yet, for some, bike maintenance can be a chore.  Having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference.  When prepping your bike for for the colder temps and night riding, there are several things you want to do to keep your bike in good working order.  A good thing to always do is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  As the weather changes, rain, snow, ice, 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.

Also, remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity for winter riding.  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, since you can’t see what you are rolling over in the dark, it’s a good idea to frequently inspect tires, wheels, and brake pads.  Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires. 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. 

Daylight riding or riding at night – it’s all good!  As you can see, there’s no need to fear the time change.  The time change can mark the end of the season and bring on a new adventure.  Embrace creativity and plan your rides during daytime hours.  Or, seek adventure and embrace the challenge and make night riding work for you! 


5 Money Saving Bike Tips for Fall 

October 13, 2016
Replace Drivetrain parts in the Fall

Replace Drivetrain parts in the Fall

Each season has its own ups and downs.  Spring and summer seasons are marked with event registrations, travel, and enjoying the cycling lifestyle.  The winter season is the least expensive as most cyclist scale down their training or ride more indoors.  

However, the fall season is somewhat of a mixture of all that. Racing continues yet weather conditions cause havoc on bikes and bike gear. When you add up all the gear, maintenance, and event fees, then riding bikes can be expensive.  Following are 5 ways to save money saving bike tips for fall. 

  1. Patch your tubes.  When you get a flat, don’t just throw the tube away. Hang on to it and patch it when you get home. Patches are fairly inexpensive and can give your tube new life.
  2. Clean and maintain your bike regularlyThe maintenance schedule for a bike can vary somewhat on how often it’s ridden. However, performing regular bike inspections can provide injury free and enjoyable riding. Also, regular bike maintenance can extend the life of your bike parts and cycling accessories.  
  3. Look for discounted gear online and at bike swaps.  At BikeParts.com we have ongoing closeouts that save on bike parts, cycling apparel, and cycling accessories.  Check out those options.  Another option is to check out the annual Veloswap here in Denver, Colorado on October 22nd.  
  4. Replace bike parts regularly.  Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before investigating.  Some parts of a bike have a set “wear life”. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, this includes chains, cassettes, chainrings, brake pads, and cleats.  Stay one step ahead of the game by purchasing these types of bike parts on sale and have them on hand when you need them. 
  5. Sign up early for races or events.  Waiting last minute to register for events can be costly.  Avoid late or day-of registration fees for races and events by signing up ahead of time. You’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket—not to mention the extra motivation that comes with making a financial commitment. 

With a little planning, it’s easy to save money and continue to embrace the transition from summer to fall.  Enjoy! 


5 Cycling Activities to do this Memorial Day Weekend 

May 26, 2016

BikeParts.com Racer in ActionWondering what to do with your day off this upcoming Memorial Day weekend? Ride, of course!  As the cycling season kicks off, there are plenty of casual and competitive cycling activities to do.

Rescheduled from a previous date, the infamous Koppenberg Race leads the weekend actives for competitive road bike athletes. The Koppenberg Race featuring a 17% grade climb and is considered the queen of the spring time cycling events in Colorado.  This event jump starts the cycling season with an impressive 5.5 mile road race circuit, with 300ft of elevation gain per lap, and includes 2 miles on a packed dirt road.  Join in the fun if you are ready for a lung burning, leg twitching feast! More information can be found here. And, while you’re at it, you can prepare to recover well from this race with our compression gear and nutritional recovery supplements- specifically bars, gels, and recovery drinks.  You have to get ready for the next ride, right?

Speaking of next rides, the 2016 – Cafe Velo Gran Fondo is on Sunday.  This event starts and finishes in Monument, Colorado at the Pikes Peak Brewery.  What’s great about this ride is that you have the option to choose from 1, 2, 3, 4 or up to 5 loops (110 miles, 9110 foot elevation gain) making it a great recovery ride from the Koppenberg Race or a great season starter if you are just now getting back on the bike. The ride covers a scenic 22 mile loop with an 1822 foot elevation gain through scenic Northern El Paso County; so plan according to your level of fitness.

While not local to the Front Range, this weekend also hosts the famous Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in Durango, Colorado.  The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is one of the oldest cycling events in the country (since 1972) and is a multi-event bicycling weekend for cyclists of all levels.  Beautiful 10,000-foot mountain passes on the ride or race to Silverton on Saturday. Wonderful Sunday events in downtown Durango including kid races, the costume ride, road circuit race and mountain bike race. Monday completes the weekend with an individual time trial.
You’ll want to visit their website for more information.

If road riding isn’t your thing, consider making the trip to Gunnison, Colorado for The Original Growler endurance mountain bike race. This popular event usually fills up so fast you generally can’t get in to the event. Fortunately, this year’s Sunday’s Full – Growler and Half Growler are still open for registration.  Keep in mind, the course takes place in rugged, isolated backcountry terrain. That means, check your bike for the right bike parts, have your hydration pack full, bring your nutritional items, and have all your necessary cycling apparel on hand.  Why? Because the event is remote, organizers responding to mechanicals or an injured rider could be time consuming and difficult on this course.  Plan accordingly.

Finally, maybe traveling this weekend isn’t your thing.  No worries – we’ve got you covered!  Check out Our Guide to The Best Bike Trails in Golden, Colorado to create an adventurous day of trail riding.  Or spend some time preparing for the upcoming season.  Consider performing bike maintenance, schedule a bike fit, or shop for new cycling apparel. We bet Our New POC Cycling Gear Makes You a Better Rider.

Whichever rides or races you opt to do, Happy Memorial Day weekend to you!

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.


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.