2017 Year in Review: The Best of Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com Blog

January 4, 2018

Happy 2018 from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com

As the New Year unfolds and before we fully embrace 2018, reflecting and reviewing upon the previous year is a great way to close out and move forward.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com, we’re delighted to look back at the year’s most succesfful blog post and what we’re looking forward to in 2018. 2017 Year in review: What our readers enjoyed most!

Training Indoors
Trainer Techniques for Winter Training

Motivation
How to Stick with Your 2017 Training Plan

Strategy
How to Develop a Winning Mindset for Early Season Races
Managing Early Season Race Day Jitters
Effective Training Techniques for Cycling in the Heat
3 Essential Cycling Training Tips for Winter Training
How To do a Cycling Year End Review

Fat Bike
Fat Bike Essentials for First Time Fat Bike Riders

Cyclocross
Cyclocross Newbies – Tips to Prep for Your First Cyclocross Race
Prepare for a Great Cyclocross Season with These Tips

Cross training
5 Ways to Cross Train for Fitness Gains in 2017

Training Aids
Fitter, Faster, Stronger – with Power Meters

Race Checklists
Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing
What Do You Carry With You When You Ride?

Bikes!
What mountain bike should you buy?
Answering the unanswerable: What wheel size should I buy? (And what’s the difference, anyway?)
Do You Know These 5 Important Bike Fit Tips?

So, what’s ahead for 2018? We’re looking forward to helping our customers get fitter and faster on the bike! Whether that is outfitting others with the best cycling apparel or improving bike efficiency with new bike parts or a bike fit, at Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we’re all about creating the ultimate ride experience. Happy 2018 to all!

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The Year End Review: Not Just for Work But for Your Cycling Program Too 

November 10, 2016
Cycling Goal Setting for 2017

Cycling Goal Setting for 2017

While the year may not be quite over, many are already planning their 2017 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 upcoming 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.   In fact, a proper season review is the best way to identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop a comprehensive plan for the upcoming season.   

Too often, we get stuck in the same winter cycle of: strength, base, aerobic work, anaerobic work and repeat this cycle year after year. We never adapt our training because we are creatures of habit. We like sticking to the same routine year after year. Now’s the time to sit down with some paper, a pencil and/or your coach to review how your season went and determine how to improve for next year. Initial questions to ask yourself include the easiest ones.  Did you reach your goals? Where did you excel? What were your weaknesses? How, overall do you think your training paired with meeting your goals?

Now, drill down a bit more.  Before setting your sights on new goals for 2017, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with more detail.  A favorite 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 2017 cycling season.  Granted, most of these questions are performance based questions – not bike related. In as much as evaluating your training, it’s important to take inventory of your bike performance too.  For instance, were you performing well but your bike, bike parts, or gear held you back?  If you have a heavier bike, perhaps now is the time to upgrade to a lighter road bike or mountain bike.  Did you suffer from mechanicals during the season?  That’s an easy fix for 2017 – just replace worn out bike parts with new ones. Maybe your time would be faster with a new wheel set.  

You won’t know what to do to improve for next year until you take stock of the previous season’s performance with an objective mindset. A performance review of your training program, nutritional support, and your bike and bike parts is critical to creating an objective review of the past season so you can prepare best for a fresh, new season in 2017.   


Vacation Interfering with Your Training? Here’s What to Do About It

July 21, 2016

Summer is a great time to travel.  It’s exciting to travel to new locations, spend time with friends and family but for many cyclist, there’s that nagging thought lingering in the back of your mind which prevents you from fully embracing the vacation experience. 

How much fitness do you lose when you stop training?  It’s a scary thought.  When you think about it, you’ve worked hard all year to increase fitness and maximize result on the bike. One option is to take your bike with you on vacation. However, that involves logistics, extra luggage, as well as,  the challenge of coordinating your bike riding with non cycling family and friends activities.   

Is there a way to take a vacation from your bike and not loose fitness?  

For starters, a little time off from the bike might not be a bad thing.  The post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan,  suggest a few options for recalibrating your weekly training schedule.  The big take away is the mindset. “Often remind yourself of the big picture. It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

With that in mind, there are some options to mitigate fitness loss and accelerate your re-entry to training upon return from vacation. 

While on vacation, splurge a little with your food but be mindful too. Eat well.  Vacation treats offer irresistible food temptations adding extra pounds to your waste lines.  Moderate your reaching for the goodies and opt for nutritious snacks. Eating poorly during vacation can affect your mood and motivation towards training when you return.  Mix a variety of non cycling exercise into your vacation.  Instead of driving to a close by scenic spot, opt to walk instead.  Look for hikes to do as a family. Enjoy other outdoor activities like disc golf or jogging. Discover all the different bike shops in the town you are visiting and make a goal to walk or run to explore the shop, discover the local cycling scene, and browse at bike parts

When you return from vacation, don’t beat yourself up for missed training! You don’t want to jump right back in to your training and riding routine where you left off before vacation. Ease back into it and give yourself some slack. Great suggestions to do this are made in the post, Making up For Lost Training Time.  Basically, be mindful of what you can control.  You can control the intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  Don’t go too hard to soon or riding too many miles right away.  You can also control the elements surrounding your training, as in, your bike parts, bike functioning, and being well prepared nutritionally to get the best out of your workouts.  Remember, while you may feel fresh, you did take some time off so be gentle with yourself.  You can also focus your efforts on training with power and heart rate. All play a key role in bringing your training back to where you want it to be. 

Enjoy vacation and time off from the bike.  With a little planning you can experience all the reward of vacation with minimal fitness loss.


Sloppy Cycling — How to Prepare for Muddy Conditions

April 28, 2016

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

Preparation

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

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

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

Knowledge

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

Cleaning

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Post-Workout Recovery

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

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

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

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

Post-Race Recovery

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

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

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


The Secret Sauce to Making Fitness Gains in the Off Season 

November 12, 2015

Gone are the epic rides of summer only to be replaced with cooler temperatures, shorter days, and less time on the bike.  Aside from cyclocross, the 2015 cycling season is over, but, this part of the cycling season may just be the most important season of them all.  It’s the off-season.  It is dream season!  Now, is the time to leverage the off season for bigger gains in 2016.  In fact, there’s a saying in the cycling world, “the off season is where you can make the greatest gains” and at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we couldn’t agree more. 

There are tried and true methods for training during the off season. Many of which focus on the psychical aspect of training with specific cycling workouts in combination with other forms of exercise including yoga, running, and weight lifting.  But what about the mental aspect of training? Mental fatigue accumulates through the cycling season just as much as physical fatigue.  A key element in off season gains is mental pause, reflection, and planning.  

The post, Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your Next Cycling Season highlights this fact offering 10 questions to evaluate the past season’s cycling performance.  In doing so, as a cyclist, it offers you time to pause and reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and make improvements to the upcoming year.  Armed with this insight, you’re better prepared to make better training choices now that lead to better performance in 2016.  

With that being said, what is the secret sauce to making fitness gains in the off season?  To make those gains, check out the posts, Making the Most of Your Off-Season and 10 Off Season Training Tips for Mountain Bikers to take advantage of the off-season period.  You might also enjoy reading Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains.  Using technology to track and build fitness can add an extra level of motivation as you benchmark progress.

All in all, making the most of fall season training is about keeping it fresh, trying something new, and also, targeting some fitness goals. The off season can be a great opportunity to get new bike parts.  During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the off season, there’s more time for mental wanderings and fun! Check out our daily closeouts and overstock items to spark renewed interest in your off season cycling program.


How the Fall Season Can Help You  Manage Over Reaching and Over Training 

September 11, 2014

IMG_2146At the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation waning.  Oftentimes, throughout the season, cyclist find themselves over reaching and over training in their training.  What is the difference between the two and how can the Fall season help?

The term over-reaching was adopted by exercise scientists to describe the short-term overload that can be managed within a few days. However, over-reaching can develop into over-training (from which it can be more difficult to recover) if the athlete does not mitigate the factors that caused the over-reaching or fails to allocate proper recovery time.  The symptoms of the overtraining syndrome are difficult to define since there can be many and they are seldom exactly the same in any two overtrained athletes. According to Joe Friel,  physiologically, the only ones that are common are poor performance and fatigue.  However, there are a few other indicators.  The symptoms of overtraining are many and include the lack of motivation to race and train, inability to complete most workouts due to fatigue, loss in power, and general overall irritability.

So, How Long Does it Take to Recover From Overtraining? “Most athletes will recover from overtraining syndrome within 4-6 weeks up to 2-3 months. This will all depend on a few factors such as how overtrained you really are, genetics, and age. Determining how overtrained you are can only be answered by the amount of time it takes you to recover.”

The Fall season can be an opportunity to rest and recharge while still maintaining fitness on the bike.  The post, How Cyclists Can Manage the Fall Season, shares that this time of year can be very beneficial in letting you recharge the batteries and gain some mental freshness. Right now you’re setting the stage for your mental acuity going into next season. Ignoring mental fatigue right now can actually end up being detrimental to your coming season.

Also, as mentioned in our previous post, The 10 Essentials of Fall Cycling, having access to resources, tips, and a supportive environment makes it easier to enjoy all the benefits cycling has to offer.  Knowing where your body is as it relates to your training cycle, motivation, and energy levels can make a difference.  The Fall season can be a great opportunity to get new bike parts.  During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the Fall, there’s more time for mental wanderings and fun! Check out our daily closeouts and overstock items to spark renewed interest in your cycling program.

All and all, whether you have pushed your limits to the max or not, rest and a reduction in training volume is the only cure to getting back into the groove when it domes to motivation and excitement for training.  Use the Fall season to transition into a better 2015 cycling season.