Don’t Be a Hater! Overcoming Trainer Woes

December 12, 2013

Peak Cycles Race TeamAs 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. Yet, why do so many cyclist dread the trainer?

Maybe it’s not having the right equipment. Could it be boredom? Or, perhaps it is a lack of discipline.   There are ways to combat all three and make the trainer work for you. Here’s how!

Equipment
Having the right equipment 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.

Boredom
Sometimes seeing is believing!  Visual effects can have a powerful role in motivation.  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, 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.

A growing and popular option is Cadence TV. It offers the flexibility to log on at any time from any computer that is connected to the internet. You can choose from hundreds of workouts in all different categories. Up pops the workout with your specific Power, HR and PE zones listed. You can see what interval you are doing now, how much time is left in the interval and what is coming up. Using Cadence TV makes it easy because you can just follow what’s on the screen.  The best part?  At $4/month you can’t beat the price.

Discipline
Create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your trainer training time then.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable.

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 equipment and a little planning, indoor rides can be fun and beneficial.

Advertisements

Go Big or Go Home: The EPIC Bike for an Epic Adventure

March 14, 2013

2013 Specialized EpicPowering your fitness goals matter. Motivation doesn’t happen by accident.  Sure, warmer temps and the calling of seasonal races beckon us, but it is going for BIG that really gets the blood flowing.  How BIG are you thinking this cycling season?  “If your dreams don’t scare you they’re not big enough.” There is magic in thinking big: it moves us past limitations, sparks expansion, and delivers on new results. As cyclist, most are gunning for improvement so thinking BIG can serve us well.

How do you think big?  At BikeParts.com we think of BIG in terms of bikes, bike parts, and epic rides.  One of our favorite bikes, the Specialized EPIC, sets the standard for thinking BIG.  It’s a powerhouse and because it’s a bona fide winner, you ride like a champ whether you are one or not.

Here is why you want it:  A three-time XC World Championship winner, the EPIC was the first full-suspension XC bike to capture the coveted Rainbow Jersey. Available in both carbon fiber and alloy models, the Epic features Specialize’s proven 29er geometry, 100mm of FSR suspension, and is equipped with the unique Brain suspension which reads the terrain to provide the perfect ride—whether sprinting uphill or descending at speed on rocky trails.  It offers unrivaled control, speed, and efficiency.  We find one of its best features to be an all carbon wheelset.  And….it’s hot!

Here is where you want to ride it:  Epic rides are the ones that push the limits.  They take a monumental effort to complete.

So think about it.  Do your goals thrill you? Or scare you? Or both?  What will it take for you to step up your game?  Thinking big challenges your confidence and abilities to make your goals come true. Stop by Peak Cycles bike shop or visit us online at BikeParts.com to get the mtb parts you need to set up your 2013 cycling season to be BIG.


Train the Brain: The Power of Mental Suffering

January 24, 2013

When we catch ourselves visualizing or fantasying about racing, winning or accomplishing something big in our race dreams, rarely do we visualize ourselves falling apart.  On the contrary, we view the victory as coming rather easily.  Even if the scene involves us digging to the depths of our inner being to pull something out of nothing, that agonizing pull from our inner selves is viewed in fantasy world as masterfully manifested.

In real life, we all know it doesn’t actually work like that.  Many of us can suffer but there are breaking points and limitations to the line we cross. And while we aspire to be our better selves and pull out the magic in a moment of victory, the magic won’t be there if we don’t train it to be there.  Sure, we know how to train the body for suffering on the bike.  But the real master to train is the brain.

How are you training your brain?  Daily workouts offer opportunities to dig deeper.  Extended minutes at threshold heart rate or within specific power zones offer challenges.  Conquering a hill climb or masterfully navigating technical sections on the mountain bike  build confidence.  While these rides garner motivation to go beyond our limits, bigger challenges garner insights to training your brain for mental suffering.  Take these early season races and rides as an example.

Compare your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it” when considering a race like the Triple Bypass  or the Copper Triangle versus a training ride with a group of spirited athletes.  The level of digging deep and mental suffering for a race exceeds that of a fast paced training ride.

Bigger challenges help to prepare for the mental suffering athletes are bound to encounter during the season.  They also help build mental fitness and confidence.  On the other hand, it is true, some athletes and recreational enthusiast focus on the bike itself.  As in, “Is it light enough?”   “Does it have the latest and greatest bike parts?”  Granted, having the right bike components and bike accessories makes a difference but to perform your best, you have to train your brain.


4 Ways to Pedal the Winter Blues Away

January 10, 2013

For those who think they don’t have time to get into shape and start moving, now is the time to take action.  The 2013 ride and race season planning in Colorado is well underway.  Sure, the motivation to train in the winter months can be taxing.  Staleness or burnout from the previous season may linger, or maybe just the colder temps and shorter days weaken our resolve to get on the bike.  Yet, there are ways to combat the winter blues.  Here’s how!

1. Support Structure
Create a supportive environment that supports your goals.  Is there a time of day that works best for you?  Then, schedule your training time.  Do you train better with a partner?  Then, enlist the help of your family and friends.  Is your bike riding properly?  Check out your bike components, determine which bike parts you need, and get your bike in proper riding condition.  Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable.

2. Atmosphere
Does it matter where you ride?  Winter months create weather and lighting challenges.  Yet, there are definite options.  Inside riding on a trainer or rollers  can offer consistent pedal time and the ability to focus on heart rate and power easier than riding outside.  If you enjoy listening to music, don’t just play the hard stuff.  Consider modulating your listening to slower and medium tempo tunes that simulate heart rate goals and tempo riding.  Also, visual cues offer stimulation. A well lit room can create inviting energy and a unique atmosphere to train in.

3. Visual Effects
Sometimes seeing is believing!  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 , 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.

4. Competition Sparks Motivation
One way to stay motivated during longs stretches of training with little competition is to set small training goals. Working to achieve small training goals will make every training session meaningful. It will also provide small successes offering a sense of accomplishment while training for future competitions.  In fact, have you scheduled your 2013 races yet?  Here are a few worth checking out:

An essential element to being a successful athlete is staying motivated throughout the year.  Remember, cycling is supposed to be fun.  Set small goals, create a supportive structure and atmosphere for your training environment, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do in 2013!


Are Your New Year’s Cycling Resolutions SMART?

December 27, 2012
Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

2013

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.

The first trick is to choose the right resolution, for the right reasons, and making them 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.

Set a personal goal for the miles you want to ride in 2013.  Using a cycling computer, heart 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 2013 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 2013?

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 2013 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!