Can You Take the Heat? Heat Acclimation Tips for Cycling in the Summer Months

July 3, 2014

heatIt’s one thing to ride/train in the heat it’s another to RACE in the heat.  It’s that time of year, the summer heat has arrived and is making up for the lack of heat we had from the cooler temps to start off the cycling season.

Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.   Specific to racing, many cyclist have encountered the negative effects of heat on race results. What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.  There are numerous heat–coping strategies to consider when planning a high-intensity workout or doing a race in hot weather.

  • Acclimate.  It takes about 10 to 14 days of frequent exposure to heat for your body to adapt. During this period of time workout daily in hot conditions at a lower-than-normal intensity. After a couple of weeks of near-daily exposure to hot conditions you will begin perform better in the heat than prior although performance will still likely be diminished from what you might have done in cooler conditions.
  • Nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.
  • Hydrate. This one is easy but also easy to forget! Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumptionFor your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand. For longer rides, opt for the Deuter Bike One 20 Hydration Pack- 100oz.  You’ll have enough fluids to get your ride in and also soak up the views.
  • Stay cool. Think shade and proper clothing.  Stay in the shade, warm up in the shade and cool down in the shade.  While it may seem insignificant, every effort to keep your body temperature down is important.  This includes wearing your sunglasses, having a light-colored helmet, and opening your the zipper on your jersey.  For longer rides, draping an ice-filled container around your neck may improve endurance performance.

To train and compete at your best all summer, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  Everyone adapts differently to heat stress.  Need more tips?  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to chat with our racers, mechanics, and other cyclist to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will work for you too.

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Quiz! Do You Know Colorado Rules of the Road for Cycling? 

April 17, 2014

How do you protect yourself as a cyclist?  We’re not talking about helmets , gloves, and protective gear.  We’re talking about riding safe and smart.  Sure you may have a general idea of the rules of the road, but do you actually know the laws?  What about your rights as a cyclist?

Many recreational, as well as seasoned cyclist, consider anticipating what drivers, pedestrians, and other people on bikes will do next is pretty much all that is needed in riding the road safely.  But at Peak Cycles, we know better.  In fact, we are big advocates of safe cycling that we’re hosting a FREE Biking 101 event May 5th at 6:30PM at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado. (REGISTER HERE.)

See how you fare answering these questions.  If you get them right, yay for you! If not, maybe it’s time to freshen your knowledge on the rules of the road, smart cycling tips, bike etiquette, and how to legally and appropriately ride on public roads.

Do you know your bike laws?
True or False?
Colorado has no helmet law. It is legal for all persons of any age to operate a bicycle without wearing a helmet unless otherwise provided by a municipal regulation.

True or False?
Colorado has codified a three foot passing requirement in three rules to address the variety of circumstances in which a bicyclist may be overtaken by a motorist

True or False?
Colorado has some of the most specific laws regarding where a bicyclist should ride, and just as importantly, where a bicyclist should not be obligated to ride in the nation.

How’d you do?  What? There are no answers?!  Guess you’ll have to find out at our Biking 101 event!  There will be food, drinks, cycling education, and even bike parts to drool over!  Become a street smart, savvy, safe, educated, conscientious cyclist.   Register now and see you on May 5th at 6:30!


How to Plan Your Cyclocross Training Week

November 21, 2013

What is the best way to get good at cyclocross and have fun at the same time?  Simple –  race cyclocross – a lot!   You’ll learn technique, skills and race strategy as you go.

But for those athletes who want to focus their efforts and manage their time, a good plan it to structure your cyclocross training week .  But what does that look like?  While training time, heart rate and power zones vary, a typical training week usually includes the following.

Monday – Off Recovery is equally as important as training. The recovery period is when fitness gains are made and you reap the benefits of the hard work you’ve done. Sleep, Stretching, Hydration, and Nutrition are the SSHNs of Recovery.

Tuesday – Hard Day with Efforts.  Cyclocross races are very high intensity and extremely demanding. The racer is at or above lactate threshold for the entire race.  As such, your training efforts need to prepare you for your cyclocross race, but not tax you either.

Wednesday – Tempo Ride.  Also, a great day midweek to check your bike and bike parts.  Replace broken bike parts and components and prep your bike for the race weekend ahead.

Thursday – Recovery or Skills day.  Efficiency is Paramount.  A great racer is not only fit, but also smooth and efficient. The energy saved through skilled bike handling and smooth transitions on and off the bike directly translates into a faster race pace. So, if you’re struggling with the technical aspects of ‘cross (barriers, runups, transitions on and off the bike, general bike handling), take the time each week to practice these skills until they become second nature during a race.

Friday – Travel Day and/ or Openers.  The goal of the day is to “prime the engine” for the weekend. Intervals are meant to sharpen, not fatigue.

Saturday/ Sunday – Game ON! Race day! Good reminders to keep in mind on race day.  Leading up to your race, it’s important to stay dry.  Yet, during your race, keeping your hands and feet warm are critical.  Opt for cold weather gloves and booties and shoe covers to keep your hands and feet warm.   If you tend to have cold feet, opting for warmer socks  may help too.  While hard core racers opt to keep their clothing to a minimum, others opt for a few extra comforts including knee warmersarm warmers, and hats.  Once you have finished your race, it’s important to get undressed and get warm.  You may consider bringing a few trash bags to stow your cycling kit, cycling shoeshelmet, gloves, socks, and anything else that is soaked and muddy. Also, it’s also a good idea to have on hand your favorite post race nutritional product.

Overall, have fun! Cyclocross is a sport meant to be fun, otherwise, there wouldn’t be beer handoffs, money pits, crowds heckling the pros, or pros heckling the crowd. Unless you’re aiming for World Cup titles, there’s no reason to take this sport too seriously. Train, race hard, but above all, remember that it’s supposed to be fun.


Rising Stars: Peak Cycles Gravity Team

September 5, 2013

In its first year, Peak Cycles gravity race team took 2nd overall in the Winter Park Trestle Gravity Series!  We’re super proud of our racers as they finished ahead of many long-established teams!

Peak Cycles Gravity Team

What make them so successful? Of course, their awesome handling skills and great talent.  But, we also have to tip our hat to the great mtb bikes and bike parts that help them race their best.  You can spot our racers sporting the best helmets to keep those noggin’s safe.

on course sarah

And of course, there’s those super fast yet grippy tires and safe pedals needed for downhill action

course

Finally, our racers are stylin’ in our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop Jerseys

podium

Way to finish the season!  Congrats to our Gravity Race Team!


Don’t forget to buckle your helmet.

June 21, 2011

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