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!


Fitter, Faster, Stronger – with Power Meters

February 23, 2017

Power – we all want it! But how do we get it?  Gaining power on the bike isn’t an overnight achievement but one that is obtained through hard work and discipline.  In the past, power was somewhat of a subjective thing but today, with so many cycling training tools available, power is quantifiable.  In fact, the main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives.  How can using power help you to get fitter – faster- and stronger on the bike? 

Why train with power?  It’s all about “balancing how much work you do with your body’s response.” It’s the best way to measure work and intensity, as in, Power (watts) = Torque (how hard you pedal) x Cadence (how fast you pedal).  “Doing too much work means injury and overtraining risk. Too little means you’re not getting the maximum benefits you want. When power is measured your training becomes that much more effective.”  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve found the benefits of training with power include:

•Establishing your baseline fitness

•Accurately measuring even the smallest fitness gains

•Quantifying intensity, duration and frequency – instead of guessing

•Prevention of overtraining

•Accurately measuring energy use for nutrition planning

•Proper pacing for time trials 

Sounds great!  And it is!  But how do you know which power meter is best for you?  With so many bike parts and cycling accessories available, choosing the ideal product for your training and fitness goals is important. Fortunately, the post What to Know Before Buying a Power Meter, offers a breakdown on available power meters. Now, you might be wondering about costs? In the recent past, training with power was outside of the price range for most cyclist.  However, times have changed and power meters are much more affordable.  Our most popular are 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 favorite is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

Finally, the next question – how to get started?  Training with a power meter is one of the most effective way to get results. However, to get those results you need to know what those numbers mean and how to use the data to dial in your training. A great resource available via Training Peaks is a Free Ebook: How To Start Training With Power.  The Ebook starts by covering the basics like determining your threshold and setting your zones. It also explains the metrics behind power, how to analyze your data, see long term trends and how to use the numbers to get faster.  

Do you have questions on which power meter fits your fitness needs or budget? Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to dial in your specific needs. You can browse the variety of cycling apparel and bike parts we have in the store while getting all your power meter questions answered.  We hope to see you soon!


Fat Bike Essentials for First Time Fat Bike Riders 

February 2, 2017

Demo a Fat Bike at BikeParts.comLess daylight, cold weather and difficulty planning winter workouts all contribute to less time on the bike.  But, if you want to get fitter, faster, and more efficient on the bike, then guess what? You got to put your time in.  So what do you do? Ride a fat bike!  First time fat bike riders may question the bike parts and cycling apparel needed to ride comfortably, so below are our fat bike essentials to make fat biking work for you. 

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 apparelbike parts, and cycling accessories, stop in the shop for that too! We’ve got all the gear and cycling accessories for you riding needs! 

Get in on the fat bike action!  Take your cycling to another level of fun and sign up for one of the upcoming fat bike races. Check out our  2017 Colorado Fat Bike Racing Calendar.  Stop by the shop for bike parts, cycling apparel, and get all your fat bike questions answered!   


How to Stick with Your 2017 Training Plan 

January 26, 2017

Out with the old – in with the new.  That’s pretty much the motto of the New Year. Many cyclists, both competitive and recreational, commit to New Year cycling resolutions; but, it’s right about now, late January, when those resolutions begin to fade.  Whether is is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom, many find the resolutions of the New Year in the rear view mirror.  Is there a way to make resolution stick?  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we think so! Following are the 4 components to making your resolutions stick.

#1 ENJOYABLE: Plain and simple.  If you enjoy what you are doing, you’ll do more of it.  So, make winter riding more fun.  Get the right clothing, winterize your bike, and get going!  Check out the post,  21 Ways to Have More Fun on Your Bike, for more fun ideas including singing, testing new bike parts, experimenting with new cycling apps, and opt for new cycling accessories

#2 CONSISTENT: Consistency in training helps you physical body prepare for the physical stresses of  the upcoming season.  According to the post, Nine Golden Rules for Training, consistency is key. That means consistently training but also, consistently racing builds fitness too.  Consistency in racing builds all kinds of fitness: mental, physical, and psychological fitness.  The post, 4 Habits to Increase Your Consistency, offers more suggestions on increasing consistency, such as, being purposeful, following your plan as best as possible, and getting in shorter rides when you have less time to train.

#3 CONVENIENT: The winter months make riding outdoors less desirable. So, riding outside may not be the most convenient option.  Instead, schedule your workouts inside on the trainer.  Before you groan, read our posts  Don’t Be a Hater! Overcoming Trainer Woes for great suggestions on making trainer workouts work for you.  Additionally, shared in the post, 3 Indoor Cycling Workouts Under 1 Hour, are effective workouts to pair technology with your over/ under intervals, power intervals, and speed intervals.  Without the distractions of outdoor scenery, using these tools aids in motivation by setting time goals or power goals to engage your brain.  Another motivation technique includes using the technology tools as valuable feedback for precise and strategic cycling in specific zones which adds to up to greater gains later in your cycling season.

#4 REWARD: There is true satisfaction to be gained by following your fitness routine.  Whether that is increased fitness, a sense of well being, or making progress towards your 2017 cycling goals.  But rewarding yourself can take on other pleasures as well.  Consider purchasing new bike parts or new cycling apparel as a reward for your hard efforts. Treating yourself to these pleasures invites more motivation to stick with your training plan through the cold, winter months.  

It’s easy to keep your resolutions when you focus on having fun.  When you love what you are doing, you’ll keep doing it.  Here’s to your best year yet!


Trainer Techniques for Winter Training

January 19, 2017

Trainers at BikeParts.comAs a cyclist, you can either hate the winter, or make the best of it. Some bundle up and dress to embrace the winter chill while others opt for the dreaded trainer. 

Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle- specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding.  Ugh. Is there a way to make it work?  Yes!  Fortunately, there are now many apps that make your time on the trainer more productive and entertaining. Additionally, these apps record your workout so you can analyze your effort and get your best bang for the buck workout wise. 

The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App, offers a list of apps and a description of how they function to help you decide which is best for you.  Some of our favorites from the list include ZwiftCycleOps Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad.  

Granted, apps can make your ride more enjoyable; yet, having the right equipment can make a difference too. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency.  

If you find yourself really averse from riding the trainer.  Break your workout in half.  Spend half as much time on the trainer and the other half running, hiking, or doing another sport. One way to do this is to avoid long rides on the trainer all together. Year round strength training for cyclists matters and substituting your indoor rides with strength training will do more for your cycling later on in the season than doing another trainer session.  In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan your time on the trainer accordingly.

Indoor rides are not a replacement for outdoor rides but with the right bike parts, cycling apparel, and equipment, indoor rides can be fun and beneficial. 


The 2017 Colorado Fat Bike Racing Calendar

January 5, 2017
Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com Teem Rider enjoying a Fat Bike

Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com Teem Rider enjoying a Fat Bike

Fat biking is abuzz in Colorado! Colorado is already a favorite state for cyclists due to the mountainous terrain, rugged trails, scenic views, and outdoorsy population. But now, Colorado is a hot destination for a new phenomenon in the cycling world: Fat Biking.  

If you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy riding during the colder months or if you are looking to jump start your 2017 training, then consider starting the year off right by racing a fat bike.  Following is the 2017 Fat Bike Race Calendar

January 2017  

February 2017

March 2017

April 2017

Granted, racing implies you actually have a fat bike.  But if you don’t,  you can demo one of our Specialized FatBoys at our store! And if you want even more fat bike ideas, or need for cycling apparelbike parts, and cycling accessories, stop into Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. We would love to help you! 


4 Cycling Experience Gifts Worth Giving  

December 15, 2016
Demo a Fat Bike at BikeParts.com

Demo a Fat Bike at BikeParts.com

Many holiday shoppers are looking to gift a different type of gift this year.  Moving from purchasing products to gifting experiences.  But what does that mean for the shopper who’s favorite cyclist has everything?  it means, instead of purchasing more cycling apparel and cycling accessories, purchase gifts that offer an experience.  When you think about it, bike riding is a joyous adventure in and of itself. Following are our favorite cycling experiential gifts worth giving.  

Gift a Bike fit.  Does your cyclist complain of hands falling asleep while riding? Or shoulder or neck pain after a long ride? A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Consider the gift of giving your favorite cyclist a bike fit for Christmas. This will aid your cyclist in pain free and enjoyable riding all year long.  The bonus on this is that , not only can we help them with the fit, but we carry all the bike parts required to get the bike in the very best setup for their riding needs.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

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 for your favorite cyclist that will up the giggle factor to their normal winter riding program.  Who can’t smile while riding a fat bike?

Power Up! Is your cyclist a data junkie?  Then, this is the ideal gift for your favorite cyclist!  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.  Using power data elevates the cycling experience offering new challenges unavailable without one.

Relax and Recover.  Many cyclist push themselves relentlessly without a break or even listening to their bodies until their bodies are injured.  Gift an experience of relaxation.  Consider a gift certificate for a message or a yoga class.  Another option is the ongoing gift of recovery using compression. Medical compression stockings have been used to treat poor blood flow for many years.  Recently, the technology has been made available to cyclist of all levels.  While the many claim it is difficult to prove that an immediate performance gain from wearing compression garments, many do 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, if all else fails, gift your cyclist with bike parts! Experimenting with new cycling accessories and parts has a way of increasing the enjoyment felt when riding a bike. So, indulge this holiday season and give a gift that keeps on giving!