Managing Early Season Race Day Jitters

May 18, 2017

BikeParts.Com Team Rider Racing in Colorado

Course strategies, break aways, riding in a small group or a large peloton – these are the thoughts and questions of cyclists wondering how to perform their best during in the first races of the 2017 cycling season.

The cycling season is just starting in Colorado and many are filling up their calendars with the big events.  While not a comprehensive list, following are some of the favorite Colorado May road and mountain bike races: 

Sounds good, right? Absolutely! So many different road and mountain bike events to choose from.  The main question is how to prepare? How do you know if you are race ready? Do you have a comprehensive checklist for Spring racing?  Early season races can bring on the nerves like nothing else!  After all, it’s been a while since you raced.  For the most part, experiencing those sensations is normal. Yet, oftentimes, early season jitters can exasperate the problem.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we’ve found that a little preparation can aid in reducing race day jitters. The post, 5 Simple Strategies for Overcoming Race Day Nerves, guides us through easy ways to shift the perspective of nervousness to be an enabler of positive sports performance. And there are other ideas for managing pre race nerves too.  

As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition to dial in your preferences as to get your fuel – whether that nutrition is in bars, gels, and liquids.  Also, while it may seem obvious, give your race bike a once over.   Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. Consider replacing worn bike parts and purchasing new cycling accessories you plan to use for your A races later in the season.  This gives you a chance to dial in your needs early season and optimize performance in later events. 

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, you’re always likely to suffer from some race day nerves. However, with a little planning you can gain confidence. The best part about early season races is the opportunity to assess your fitness level.  Enjoy the May cycling races in Colorado and use them to catapult you into a great 2017 cycling season. 


5 Awesome Cycling Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 

May 11, 2017

Mother’s Day Cycling Gifts at BikeParts.com

You love your Mom and your Mom loves to ride. So what do you do for Mother’s Day? Celebrate it with cycling gifts. We’ve pulled together our best Mother’s Day gift ideas, with recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

Get a New Bike! Surprise your Mom with a new road bike or mountain bike.  If you aren’t sure which one to get her, read up on our post, Here’s How to Buy a New Bike. It will guide you through the process of dialing in the type of bike your Mom wants for the type of riding she will be doing.  

Get New Bike Parts!  If a new bike isn’t an option, then opt for upgraded bike parts.  Help your Mom spin faster with a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Or, consider purchasing some new, lighter tires for your Mom’s wheels. A third option is to reconsider the current crank set and pedals setup.  Wheels aren’t the only bike parts to upgrade.  Look for worn parts to be replaced with newer, lighter cycling components.  

Get Cycling Apparel! Every woman wants to ride in style. With that in mind, you can never go wrong in getting your Mom cycling apparel!  She can’t have too many jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, sunglasses, or cycling shoes!  Having a variety of cycling apparel to wear keeps cycling fresh and makes it fun to get out and ride!  

Get a Bike Fit!  If your Mom has a bike but doesn’t ride as often as she would like, ask her if her bike is comfortable.  Maybe a bike fit would help.  A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Give your Mom the gift of riding comfortably.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Get Gift Certificates!  If all else fails, get your Mom a gift certificate.  It can be used for purchasing bike parts and cycling accessories and allows your Mom to select the precise gift that will make her the happiest.  

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, you couldn’t pick a better time to shop for a new bike, cycling accessories, or bike parts. There are so many attractive choices today. Visit us at Peak Cycles in Golden or online at bikeparts.com and we can help with your decision making and offer advice you need to make this Mother’s Day the best ever! 


How to Optimize Your Pre-Season Cycling Training

March 9, 2017

Peak Cycles Race TeamThe weather has been amazing in Colorado!  The warmer temps are beckoning recreational and competitive cyclist to ride!  Enthusiasm is high;  but, caution should be in order!  Athletes can make early season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long, or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.  

Whether you are planning to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2017, monitoring your early season training sets the stage for a successful year ahead.

Train right:
From a training perspective, key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  There are coaches and coaching plans to assist with specific and customized training.  Or, you can create your own training program.

Regardless of your approach, for precise bio feedback to align your training plan, you’ll need to use cycling accessories available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors.  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 2017 cycling season goals.

Optimize Your Bike Fit:
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.

Perform Bike Inspections:
Does your bike have cobwebs on it from non use during the winter months?  Now is the time to dust it off, put some air in those tires, and do a thorough bike inspection.  It seems simple enough but there are some critical areas to pay attention.

What do you look for? Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design.  While your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike.  Handlebarsstems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. Make sure all is well before embarking on longer rides which could lead to lasting discomfort.

How important are brakes?  Obviously, a lot!  When you don’t have them, or they aren’t working properly, then you know the importance of well maintained brakes for your road or mountain bike.  Another important component to spring riding is checking out your wheels.  Unquestionably, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Spring is a great time to upgrade bicycle components. 

With a little preparation and planning, your pre season bike maintenance and training can pave the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable 2017 cycling season.  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the bike parts you need to launch your best cycling season ever!


5 Ways to Cross Train for Fitness Gains in 2017 

February 16, 2017
Cross train with a Fat Bike from BikeParts.com

Cross train with a Fat Bike from BikeParts.com

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, giving your body a break, or just finding a way to stay fit through the winter months, diversifying your activity is a great way to keep things interesting and your body bike-ready.

It’s important to fuel your desire for your sport.  One way to do that is by not losing interest in your routine—or even the sport itself. You need variety, and you need to have fun.  Hence, enter the picture for cross training!   Following are our cross training tips for fun and fitness gains. 

  1. Running – Some question if running is good for cyclist. Fortunately, it is!  Running is good for you whether you are a road cyclist, mountain bike cyclist, or cyclocross cyclist.  The post, Is Running Good for Cyclist shares more in detail, but the bottom line is, running adds extra gains when used as a cross training aid. 
  2. Yoga – Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.  The next question – how to get started? Check out our post, Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You? for ideas and inspiration. 
  3. Hiking – Hiking is a great way to get your nature fix while mixing in a little exercise.  Hiking helps build up your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, and hip muscles—crucial muscles that can help your riding.  As a bonus, it helps with bone density because it’s a weight-bearing exercise. Aim for shorter and longer hikes to mix it up. 
  4. Strength training – For some cyclists, strength training is a welcomed part of the training process; however, for others, it is a necessary evil. Many cyclist wonder if they should train year round?  Answering these questions, the post, Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists  states , “one of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.  For ideas and inspiration on strength training, read our post, Why Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists Matters.  
  5. Bike parts – Hmmm? You might be wondering, how does cross training apply to bike parts? Well, consider doing different types of workouts and rides on different bikes.  Use your road bike for intervals, your mountain bike in the nastier weather and to do drills to improve bike handling, and race your fat bike on the snowy days.  Mixing it up keeps it fresh!

Get started cross training to make 2017 one of your best years yet! 


Cross Train for Extra Gains in 2017 

January 12, 2017
Yoga and Stretching at Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com

Yoga and Stretching at Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com

 We all know that cycling is the best sport out there, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of good reasons to mix it up with a few others.

In fact, when the weather is cold and the days are long, many cyclist are more apt to consider cross training to maintain fitness while minimizing those cold, bone chilling rides outside.

There are ways that cross training can help you to improve your fitness.  Not only can cross-training flat-out make you a better cyclist through core support and enhanced focus, but it can also help your body in tons of ways cycling can’t—like building up bone density and strengthening underused muscle groups. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, here are two of our favorites. 

Yoga – Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.  The next question – how to get started? Check out our post, Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You? for ideas and inspiration. 

Strength training – For some cyclists, strength training is a welcomed part of the training process; however, for others, it is a necessary evil. Many cyclist wonder if they should train year round?  Answering these questions, the post, Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists  states , “one of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.  For ideas and inspiration on strength training, read our post, Why Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists Matters.  

Bike parts – Hmmm? You might be wondering, how does cross training apply to bike parts? Well, consider doing different types of workouts and rides on different bikes.  Use your road bike for intervals, your mountain bike in the nastier weather and to do drills to improve bike handling, and race your fat bike on the snowy days.  Mixing it up keeps it fresh! So, get started cross training to make 2017 one of your best years yet! 


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! 


You Want to Get Fat this Thanksgiving. Here’s Why!

November 24, 2016
Fat Bikes at BikeParts.com

Fat Bikes at BikeParts.com

Thanksgiving is prefect for celebrating and sharing gratitude for the blessings in our lives.  Yet, it isn’t exactly an ideal day for healthy eating and staying fit. Fortunately, you can make it through Thanksgiving with your figure and fitness intact. How to do it? It’s no mystery! Get a fat bike!  

This may sound like a trick, but it’s not.  Simply enjoy all the food you want during Thanksgiving while also splurging a bit by riding a fat bike.  Riding a fat bike is so much crazy fun!  

Imagine floating over snow and sand. Gliding over familiar trails discovering how your fat bike handles twists, turns, bumps, and jumps. You can practically ride a fat bike anywhere. And, riding a fat bike brings out your inner kid making you feel like an 8 year-old again, bouncing  gleefully all over the trails.  Maybe the idea of riding a fat bike is new to you. Following are common asked questions and answers about fat bikes.

How are fat bikes different than other mountain bikes?  Many fat bike models today are similar to “normal” mountain bikes, which have slacker head tube angles, lower stand-over heights, thru axles, and tapered head tubes.  The main difference is the tires. The wider ties have more traction in both dirt and snow. They climb better than almost any mountain bike and the fit tires provide greater cushion that feels like extra suspension.  But what makes them special is they entice you to ride outside when it’s cold! According to the post, Fat Biking 101: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Biking in the Snow, most people do not ride when it is cold because, well, it’s cold. Fat bikes offer a unique experience and allow you to explore familiar trails in a new light. Fat biking lifts the winter doldrums by giving you a new freedom to ride off-road.

In what kind of conditions can I ride my fat bike? Fat bikes can ride pretty much anywhere. They do really well on dirt but they are also very capable in the snow. Packed snow will feel very much like riding on dirt. Pushing through heaps of freshly fallen snow will provide more of a challenge and there will be some days when riding is simply impossible. Remember, while sliding around on ice may be fun, ice is ice. The bike will still go down if you are not careful riding on slippery substances.

How do I stay warm on my fat bike in the winter?  You have to think a little bit harder before and during your fat bike rides in the cold. Generally the most important tip for keeping warm is to layer, and to carry a pack to put your extra layers away. Some people prefer to wear ski goggles and a ski helmet, and lots of people wear winter boots.  Poagies, insulated hand covers that slip over your handle bars, are also very useful for keeping your hands warm.   Keeping your feet warm is key. Wearing arm boots, preferably water proof, with thick socks on flat pedals or clipless boots with multiple pairs of socks will help to keep your feet comfortable.

How do I keep my water from freezing?  Even though you might not feel the urge to drink as much when riding your fat bike in the cold, it is still important to drink fluids. There are a couple of tricks your water from freezing. During shorter rides, carry an insulated water bottle and start with really warm water. You can also add electrolytes or other ingredients to change the freezing point of the fluid, but may find limited success. When using a CamelBak or something similar, stick the bite valve in your jacket and blow out all the water in your hose. You can also buy neoprene insulators for the hydration hose to help keep water as a liquid substance.

Should I use clipless or flat pedals on a fat bike?  It’s your choice! The biggest problems people have making this decision is deciding how to best keep their feet warm. Having flat pedals will allow you to wear thick winter boots, which are more conducive to keeping your feet warm. However you can buy clipless boots that are designed to handle colder temperatures. Using a clipless pedal could prove annoying in snowy terrain if you have to dismount and remount frequently during your ride.

What kind of tires should I use? How wide? What pressure do I run? Tube vs. Tubeless?  You have to match tire pressure with conditions. Softer snow conditions: 6psi. Harder conditions: 8-10psi. (much lower than the normal bike). Fat-bike tires are typically marked as 26 x 4.0 though most are really more like 26 x 3.7 or 3.8. The actual size of the mounted tire will vary depending on the rim width used for the wheel.  Many riders prefer tubeless because they reduce over a point of rotation weight and they provide better traction.

What kind of fat bikes are on the market?  The fat bike market has exploded in recent years. Brands include Specialized, Mongoose, Polaris, Kona, Gravity, Kawasaki, Borealis and more! Manufacturers are creating frames out of tons of different materials including aluminum, carbon, titanium, bamboo, real steel, and Wal-Mart steel. Most fat-bikes that you will come across have a fully rigid frame. However fat bikes with front fork suspension and full-body suspension have started to emerge.  Finding the fat bike that works for you will depend on the type of riding that you do and, more importantly, your budget.  However, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are all big fans of the Specialized Fatboy Bike. We have found the Specialized Fatboy to be a highly rated, mid-range fat bike that is usable for a wide range of ages and skill-levels.   

Where can I ride my fat bike? Fat biking is abuzz in Colorado. Colorado is already a favorite state for cyclists due to the mountainous terrain, rugged trails, scenic views, and outdoorsy population. But now, Colorado is a hot destination for the fat bike phenomenon.  There are also a ton of really fun fatbike events across the nation.

Whew! Lots of questions but one final one.  Are you feeling the urge to splurge this Thanksgiving?  Enjoy mass quantities of food and take on this fun fat bike phenomenon! Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Check out our fat bike bike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and accessories.  Plus, get even more of your questions answered in person! Happy Thanksgiving!