5 Tips to Transition Toward Spring Cycling Races

April 6, 2017

Spring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation.  A given rule of thumb is that all races and events provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form.  

However, while some may have trained through the winter months, many have not.  And the alluring call of gorgeous spring days lures many unprepared cyclist to ride too hard, too fast which can lead to injuries or a set back in the 2017 cycling season. To avoid injury or setback, follow these tips to help transition into a healthy and rewarding Spring cycling season.  

Tip #1
Whether you plan to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2017, monitoring your early season training and racing sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  Our tip to do this? Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you. Given that early season training lends itself to “false” feedback.  Meaning, because you may be fresh, your perceived effort on the bike may be low causing you to push too hard, too soon, and then training suffers later due to increased recovery time or even injury.  By monitoring your efforts with specific data, you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indictors, as well as, when you aren’t pushing hard enough.  This allows your body to adjust to increased training load over time and in a manner that meets your 2015 cycling season goals.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, to dial in which training aid is best for you. 

Tip #2
An often overlooked, yet incredibly powerful tool for improved cycling is a bike fit.   If you haven’t ridden much through the winter, now is the best time for a bike fit.  Why?  Because your body is unaccustomed to the riding position.  You have an opportunity to optimize your position and make needed upgrades to your road bike or mountain bike.  Think of it this way – leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  And, a bike fit goes beyond just setting saddle height and bar reach. To get the most enjoyment and reward from your training programs it’s critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.

Tip #3
Get your bike race ready – It’s obvious, but often overlooked with the excitement of the season – but that is getting your bike ready to race. Our post, Spring Cleaning! 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road, walks you through all the bike maintenance and safety checks needed before embarking on epic training rides.  Fortunately, all the bikesbike parts cycling accessories, and cycling apparel you’ll need can be found on our website – bikeparts.com.  And, if you aren’t into doing bike maintenance yourself, Call or stop in to Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to schedule your bike for a full tune-up. 

Tip #4
Be prepared.  April kicks off the season in Colorado with the Boulder-RoubaixFront Range ClassicFruita Fat Tire Festival, and Koppenberg Road Race.  Not only are you testing your fitness in these early season races, but you’re also testing your memory!  Don’t forget necessary event and race itms. We’ve prepared a handy, comprehensive checklist for Spring racing.   

Tip #5
Early season cycling tempts cyclists  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.  Recovery is critical.  Our post, Don’t Compromise Your Spring Training Recovery Rides! Here’s How… offers resources for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery.

Finally, have fun! Enjoy the launch of the cycling season!  


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.


3 Cycling Strategies to Manage Stress During the Holidays 

December 1, 2016

Happy Holidays from BikeParts.comWhile the holiday season brings times of joy and celebration, it is often tainted with juggling holiday parties, kids events, family gatherings, and travel.  While all fun activities, they can contribute to a stressful experience.  As athletes, we all know that there is only an infinite amount of stress the body can handle.  Holiday stresses of staying up too late, eating tempting treats, and overall training fatigue can create a loss of training motivation or just plain not riding.  Not fun, given exercise can aid in reducing stress.  So, what is the balance during the holidays to reduce stress, maintain fitness, and still hit all the holiday parties and complete those endless shopping lists? 

Manage Expectations!  Are your expectations for the holidays realistic? Asking yourself this question is the first step to managing holiday stress. Make a list of what you expect from yourself and your family during the holidays. Hidden within these expectations you might find your potential holiday stressors — the things specific to you that can cause stress.  Once identified, you can then write down what changes you can make to prevent or defuse stress. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado, we get a lot of input from our customers as to common holiday stressors.  Here’s what we’ve got to say to beat the stress and still maintain your fitness.

Stress #1 – Weight gain.  Obviously, increased caloric intake combined with less exercise is going to add a little weight.  A little gain in the off season isn’t so bad; however, you don’t want  a little weight gain to grow into a lot.  So, focus on eating well. The holidays offer irresistible food temptations adding extra pounds to our waste lines and robbing us of precious energy.  Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, opt for nutritious snacks. Eating poorly during the holidays can affect mood and motivation towards training.  Focus on good nutrition and choose your bike nutrition when you need it most- on the bike.  Being mindful of your food choices can positively affect your energy levels and help maintain your ability to ride and perform better.  It will help you feel better about yourself too! 

Stress #2 – Too Many Things to Do.  The holidays can make anyone feel scattered and worn out.  Yet, the flurry of holiday activities makes time precious.  Take the time you need to prioritize your ride schedule.  You may not have time for a lengthy ride, so make the most of the time you do have. Employ the strategy of focus and control. Increase your focus on what you can control.  Let go of things beyond your control.  Think about it and write it down. What can you control? Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.  Regarding your cycling training, you can certainly focus the intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  Using a heart rate monitor or power meter can help. 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.

Stress #3 – Guilt.  Yep, there it is.  As a cyclist, you want to ride. You know you should ride. And yet, you don’t. And, you beat yourself up for not riding.  We’ve all been there.  The strategy for dealing with guilt is just to accept it and move on.  Give yourself a break mentally and physically knowing the holiday season doesn’t last forever.  If you just can’t find the time or motivation to ride during the holiday season, at least feed your velo passion with pictures of new road bikes , new mountain bikes, and cool bike parts.  This will feed your spirit and breathe life into next year’s bike season.  In fact, 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.”

While the holiday season can be stressful, it doesn’t have to be.  It’s all in your approach. Try your best to make good food choices, exercise, and relax to restore energy.  Balance is key and you’re in control  Happy Holidays! 


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. 


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.


Motivation for Trainer Riding – It’s an Inside Job

January 28, 2016
Cycling Motivation from BikeParts.com

Cycling Motivation from BikeParts.com

“I love riding the trainer!”  – said no one – ever!  The trainer can be a love / hate relationship.  As a training aid, you 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!  There is!  With a mixture of planning and dose of discipline, you can motivate yourself to get in quality trainer rides.  Here’s how. 

First and foremost, set up your trainer right.  Having the right equipment and bike parts can make your indoor workouts less boring and more effective. 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, indoor riding clothes, 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 according to the post, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Trainer, it can make all the difference in the world.  Aside from the actual cycling components, setting up your trainer right means creating an inviting cycling environment. Do you need bright lights to keep you motivated?  An upbeat playlist? Be mindful to the “little things” that either inspire you or detract you from getting on the trainer.  By noticing those elements that dissuade you, you can take actions to create a better trainer environment for yourself. 

Another way to make riding indoors work is to shorten your ride and add strength training to your workouts.  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 and substitute ride time for strength training time. 

Sometimes seeing is believing!  Keep your motivation strong with visual effects.  Pop in a DVD training video or select a few YouTube clips to get your mind in the game.  Posters, a vision board, books, maps, apps, or pictures of upcoming races can trigger your motivation to not only get on the bike, but maybe even dig a little deeper than you would have otherwise.  If that doesn’t motivate you, another option is to focus on form. One way to improve form is by not rocking your hips while seated and spinning. Maintaining level hips, along with a tight core will place more emphasis on the leg muscles, working them just a little harder through the revolution. This will lead to increased leg strength over time. The torso, shoulders and arms also need to be engaged at all times. Focusing on strong arms, bent elbows and a strong upper torso will increase upper body muscle endurance, being of great value on race day.  Shifting your mental focus to your riding form can make the minutes on the trainer tick away faster.  

Granted, trainer rides will never replace the joy of cycling outside. However, you can take pride in that you are getting your rides in and building your cycling base for the season ahead.  


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!