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.   

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3 New Years Resolutions Worth Keeping

December 31, 2015
Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

New Year’s has always been a time for reflecting on the past year, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.  However, for all too many resolutions, failure is virtually assured at the offset because the resolutions are not made with serious intent and deliberation. Basically, they are just wishful thinking.

The first trick to making a resolution stick is to choose the right resolution in the first place!  Make it SMART!  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 loose weight, and to explore new rides, consider taking on some different resolutions.

Resolve to set bigger goals! Set your sights high! Reach for bigger goals in 2016!  Many cyclist resolve to ride more frequently or adventure on longer rides in the coming year; yet without actually quantifying the specific actions required to support these goals, no gains are actually made. 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 and arms you with insights to making better training choices that lead to better performance in 2016.  In addition to goal setting, using cycling accessories – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors can aid in bio feedback, data, and analysis towards obtaining your goals.  Armed with SMART goals and biofeedback, the only thing you have to do is actually ride!

Resolve to try something new! If you are a roadie, try riding a mountain bike.  If you only ride trails, opt for a gravel grinder event.  Gravel grinder events are great for roadies and mountain bike riders and they are popping up all over the country.  Generally, they are unsanctioned, unsupported endurance bicycle races on primarily gravel and dirt roads, with little or no outside support, course markings, fees or prizes.  That translates to a day of adventure on the bike!  If the endurance route isn’t your thing, consider riding a fat bike.  Fat bikes offer a whole new level of fun and adventure to riding.  Why not try something new? You have nothing to lose and only fun, adventure, and new cycling thrills to gain! 

Resolve to treat your body right!  Sure, as a cyclist you probably think about proper hydration and eating well but there’s more to taking care of your body than that.  Have you thought about yoga? Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.  Another way to prevent injury and take care of your body is to get a proper bike fit. Leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts and possibly even your 2016 cycling resolutions.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  A bike fit doesn’t simply consist of setting saddle height and bar reach. It’s more than that and it is even more critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.  

The New Year is all about out with the old and in with the new.  Maybe last year’s cycling resolutions were to get in shape, build fitness, or get stronger on the bike.  This year, branch out! Create resolutions worth keeping and watch your cycling soar to new heights in the coming year! At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re wishing you a year that is filled with all the joys, personal rewards, and the grand adventure that cycling brings.  Happy 2016!


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.


Off the Back on Training? Dial in Your Training for Spring Racing

March 13, 2014
Spring Racing at Peak Cycles

Spring Racing at Peak Cycles

Daylight savings time is here!  That means longer days and more ride time.  Before you know it, the Spring racing season will be off!

Are you ready?

Like many, the winter weather has many off on the sidelines but there are ways to get in shape just in time for Spring riding.

The trick is efficiency.  With your goals that is. If you aren’t clear on what you are trying to accomplish, chances are, your training will fall short.  The post, Using the “Power of 3” to Reach your Goals, shares 3 important questions related to positioning your Spring training and racing: What We Want to Do, What We Can Do, What We Did Do.  It illustrates the point that as you go about setting and obtaining your cycling goals, attacking them from 3 different angles will greatly increase your chances for success.

Starting with what you want to do –  it’s important to Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your 2014 Cycling Season. What do you want to accomplish?  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.  Clearly define your goals for early season riding and racing so that they are realistic yet goal worthy.

Moving on to what you can do –  you can begin now to monitor your efforts and begin incorporating Zone 3 Efforts.  What does that mean?  According to the post, Improve Cycling Endurance Using Zone 3, it means,For cyclists entering into their late base training phases, increasing muscular endurance and strength on the bike needs to become a greater focus. The greater your muscle endurance, the less fatigue you will experience towards the end of a long race and the more intensity you can handle while training.”  Use a power meter, heart rate monitor, and other valid bio feedback tools to optimize your workouts.  Make your time on the bike matter.

Finally, evaluate what you did do.  Did you stick with your training plan? Did you complete your strength training? Have you registered for your upcoming races?  Reflect back on what you said you were going to do and objectively answer – did you do it?  Note where you fell short and why.  You can beat yourself up and feel guilty for missing training.  Or, you can learn from your mishaps and restructure your training plan to accommodate things you have control over.

The post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ 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.”

The key here – start pedaling.  Longer days means more sunshine and time to ride.  Now’s the time to dial it all in – your goals, your training, your bike parts, and your races for Spring 2014!


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!