How to Develop a Winning Mindset for Early Season Races  

March 16, 2017

Team Rider at BikeParts.com / Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Planning and preparing for race season is part of a cyclist’s yearly ritual. Looking forward to focused training and racing is what keeps most coming back season after season. However,  a common misconception is that all of an athlete’s time needs to be devoted to the bike when race preparation begins.  Not true.  Having the right pre season mindset can be a game changer for performance and satisfaction.   

Set Goals – Everyone has different goals.  For some, races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time.  For others, it’s making the podium. For most cyclist, it’s about achieving personal bests.  The most important aspect of having a goals it that it can help reduce pre race anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race.  Identify what you want to accomplish with early season races –  whether it be a targeted heart rate or power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course.

Pre Race Bike Preparations – While you may have been training on your road bike or mountain bike, race conditions may require more from your bike.  Before you head for the start line, you should conduct a bike maintenance and safety check.  Know which bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel are appropriate for the trail or road route you will be racing.  Remember, because it’s early season, the weather fluctuates, so consider variable weather conditions and the bike tools and bike parts you may require under different conditions.  Preparation eliminates the frustration of experiencing a mechanical; so while bike maintenance may not always be fun, it’s worthwhile.  

Establish Race Day Rituals – Most likely it’s been a while since your last race; so remembering what your routines and rituals that worked last season may be absent for this seasons first races.  Designing and refining a pre-event routine is an important part of building a successful race season.  Does having a checklist of race day activities help structure your preparation to the start line?  Include items such as nutrition, hydration, clothes, gear, extra bike parts and basic bike tools.  Consider having a timer count down so you don’t loose track of time.  This way, you won’t forget anything as you prepare for your start.  Use each early season race to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for your next race.

Start Line Mental State – Your thoughts, emotions, and pre race behaviors are components of your mental state.  With that in mind, take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals.  It’s easy to compare your training and fitness to others.  This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. 

Mid Race Mental Toughness – Generally at some point during the race, something is going to go wrong – or at least, not quite as ideal as expected.  Either you suffer from a mechanical issue or your race day nutrition is off or you just feel the suffering from a hard effort.  This is the time to dig deep and exercise mental toughness. As described in the post, Developing Mental Toughness: Are you Tough Enough?, “mental toughness is your ability to persevere in the face of challenges, to keep going even when things get hard, and to have an unrelenting commitment to your goals. When you develop your mental toughness, obstacles are only temporary and one bad performance doesn’t shake your belief in your ability.”  Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year. 

Post Race Evaluation  – Evaluate your results based on your goals.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What can you do next race to get a better result?  Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event.

A winning mindset isn’t a set it and forget it type of thing.  Consistency and flexibility are crucial elements in the ongoing approach to your races as the season unfolds.  Be consistent in your preparations yet build upon what you have learned to fire up the engine and get out there and race better with each race!


Stocking Stuffer Ideas That Also Keep Your Favorite Cyclist Safe  

December 8, 2016
Stocking Stuffers at BikeParts.com

Stocking Stuffers at BikeParts.com

Most of us want to give holiday gifts that have value. Not just cute little trinkets but items that really make a difference.  

Unfortunately, oftentimes holiday stocking stuffers fall into the camp of cute but not really useful.  But, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve compiled a list of inexpensive bike parts to make your stocking stuffers useful, as well as, coveted gifts.  

Consider this – have you ever thought that what a cyclist keeps in their back pocket of their jersey or their saddle bag as a necessary item of safety?  Cyclist riding road bikes and mountain bikes often find themselves in isolated locations.  With that being said, it’s important to be as self reliant as possible.  Our list of stocking stuffers will bring a grin to their face and also keep them safe! 

  • Tubes: This is one gift you absolutely positively will get used. Make sure you get the right size of tube. If you aren’t sure, stop in the Peaks Cycling Store and ask one of our friendly staff to help you. Or, visit us online at bikeparts.com  
  • Bottles: Every cyclist has a ton of bottles, but that’s not the same as having good bottles. Buy a good bottle and stuff it with other goodies.
  • Warmers: We’re talking about head warmers, ear warmers, arm warmers, leg warmers, and shoe covers – all the necessities to keep your favorite cyclist warm and comfortable out on those chilly winter rides.  They nice thing about these is that they fit nicely in a holiday stocking in as much as they do a cycling jersey!
  • Nutrition: Think energy bars, gels, and chews.  Instead of chocolate, fill the stocking (or water bottle) with nutrition, bars, gels, and drinks that your cyclist can use on the bike.
  • Lube: Every cyclist goes through it and we’ve got tons of it.
  • Bicycle tools: These are much needed for on the fly bike repairs and maintenance.  Key items to include are a patch kit, tire levers, pump, and a multi tool.

Spend your holiday money wisely! Invest in bike parts and cycling accessories that delights your favorite cyclist and also keeps them safe and sound.  Doing this pretty much guarantees that you’ll make Santa’s nice list for next year! 


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.


Red, White, and Blue: 5 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July on Your Bike 

June 30, 2016

Happy 4th of July from BikeParts.comFrom 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.  

While many American’s hang an American flag from their home, car, or work building, why not celebrate the 4th from your two wheels?  You can decorate your bike with bike bells, streamers, and the like; but why note take it a step further and include your bike riding in your holiday festivities? Here’s how! 

Celebrate the 4th with a new ride!
Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides and mountain bike trails in the country.  Knowing where and when to ride is half of the trick to enjoyable riding in Colorado.  For ride ideas, check out the post, 20 Colorado Front Range Bucket List Rides.  If that doesn’t inspire you, maybe this post will: Colorado Summer Vacations: Travelers Guide To Golden, Colorado Mountain Biking

Celebrate the 4th in style – get some new threads!
This year, the introduction of POC Sports’ 2016 line of cycling gear turned some heads in the biking community. New designs and innovations make the gear an attractive choice for cycling accessories and can even make you a better rider. Aside from the sleek style, the integration of new technology and compatibility adds a new-age touch to POC’s elegant design. For example, separate components of the new 2016 line are designed to work together to make a more enjoyable and hassle-free cycling experience.  At Peak Cycles, we have just received all this POC gear and more.  Ride in style this 4th with some new cycling apparel.

Celebrate the 4th with the Pro’s!
July marks our favorite bike race – the Tour de France.  Pick your favorite routes, cheer for your favorite pro cyclist and stay abreast of what’s going on right from the start with the  Tour de France Guide

Celebrate the 4th by drinking up!
While you might think of the 4th of July as an opportunity to consume adult beverages, we’re actually talking about water and other nutritional products. It’s hot out there folks -hydration and proper fueling for riding is important! Many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel while riding – whether that is in nutrition bars, gels, and liquids.  Some of our favorite nutritional products for summer are: Oslo nutrition ,  Scratch Labs, and Honey Stinger products. Stock up now and be ready to roll all month long. 

Celebrate the 4th by bike commuting!
Commute to parades and 4th of July outings by bicycle.  Along the Front Range, and in particular, our home town of Golden, Colorado, it’s easy to commute by bike.  Not only do we have a vast network of well maintained bike paths, but at bikeparts.com, we also have all the road parts and mtb parts, commuter bikes, and cycling accessories to make any bike commute easy and fun!  Remember to plan a safe route, make sure your bikes are well maintained, and get out there and have some fun! 

As a reminder this 4th of July, 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 – even if you don’t celebrate the 4th. Stop by our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to pick up your 4th of July cycling accessories or visit us online at BikeParts.com.  Happy 4th of July friends! 


Ride Hard – Recovery Harder: Ways to Speed Up Recovery

June 23, 2016

Recovery Tricks To Get You Back on the Bike At the end of a strenuous training ride or race, cyclist quickly reach for their recovery drink with the intention of refueling their body to prepare for the next round of hard cycling efforts.  But what exactly is the goal of “recovery”?  What are the best ways to recover in the training cycle? And, is there a way to accelerate recovery?  Here’s a hint: recovery is not just drinking a carb loaded fluid after a hard effort.   

Think of it this way, according to Rowe and King, “all effective training plans are structured and involve carefully placed recovery phases. A recovery phase can be a single day in the middle of a training block, or up to a week to really recovery and peak before a specific event.  However, a common mistake made by cyclists is to repeat the same training, week after week, all season or all year round. It is the progression and overload, paired with recovery that leads to improvement.  Without allowing yourself to recover, you will stop making progress, increase the risk of injury and illness, run the risk of overtraining.”

Here’s what’s happening when you train – you stress your body and break down your muscles. According to Joe Friel, endurance coach and author, “recovery days come in two forms: days of complete rest (“passive” recovery) and days with light exercise (“active” recovery). Passive recovery is generally best for novices. If they take the day off from exercise the day after a workout they will improve greatly. For the pure novice any form of training may very well be too stressful. As fitness improves, the recovery days are better spent doing some very light exercise. For the novice this could be light cross training in a sport such as swimming or cycling. Novice runners should never run on a recovery day. It’s simply too stressful even for somewhat advanced novices.  The advanced, experienced athlete is best advised to train lightly on a recovery day as this maintains some of the most basic gains made in previous, harder sessions, especially economy of movement and aerobic endurance. Given the advanced athlete’s high level of fitness, such a light training session is not stressful. But it must be easy. Making these sessions too hard is the most common mistake in training at this level. Regardless of one’s level of experience or fitness, the harder the hard workouts, the easier one’s recovery days should be.”

Is there a way to accelerate recovery?  Whether recovering from a hard training effort or as part of your training cycle, there are quite a few actions you can take to facilitate quicker adaptations beginning with your ride style.  At the completion of your ride, be mindful to cool down appropriately. Spin your legs out and get your heart rate down. Immediately following your ride, Carrie McCusker, an endurance coach, recommends to “restore fluid and electrolyte balance, to replenish muscle and liver glycogen stores, and to stimulate protein synthesis. You can accomplish this by consuming carbohydrates, protein and fluids within thirty to sixty minutes of finishing your workout. Based on research data, athletes are encouraged to utilize this “glycogen window” to restore the muscles. It is particularly important for glycogen-depleting workouts, those that are longer than two hours or those with high intensity efforts, or if the day involves two or three workouts.”

Included in the recovery process is ongoing proper nutrition, sleep, rolling or massage, stretching, compression, and low intensity activity. Compression gear has risen to new heights in recent years.  Medical compression stockings have been used to treat poor blood flow for many years.  Recently, the technology has been made available to cyclist of all levels.  While the many claim it is difficult to prove that an immediate performance gain from wearing compression garments, many do claim that it lowers perceived muscle soreness the day after a big day on the bike and they can reduce the swelling of legs after prolonged sitting.

There are lots of resources online for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery. Bikeparts.com has lots of different types of nutritional supplements all in one place as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel that can help you with your recovery training. And if you just want to talk to an expert, stop into Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to talk to one of our competitive cyclists. Have fun with your summer training!


5 Hot Weather Cycling Posts to Help You Keep Your Cool 

June 2, 2016
PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

Avoid Muscle Cramps! PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

June is finally here!  Welcoming the summer months also means riding in hotter temperatures.  As the weather improves, it makes it easier to increase your mileage and saddle time. Yet, to the unprepared cyclist, riding longer in hotter weather can be counterproductive to training.  

Over enthusiastic riders may take on too much, suffer from improper fueling, and maybe even fatigue from not having a properly fit bike or the ideal bike parts for the ride planned.  The best approach is to ease into the summer riding months and aim to balance nutrition, hydration, recovery along with the increased mileage and intensity.  

Not sure how to do it?  Well, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve got you covered.  Read our favorite posts to optimize recovery, avoid heat stress and unnecessary fatigue, and actually train effectively in the warmer temps.  

There are lots of resources online for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery. Bikeparts.com has lots of different types of nutritional supplements all in one place as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel that can help you with your recovery training. And if you just want to talk to an expert, stop into Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to talk to one of our competitive cyclists. Have fun with your summer training!


Don’t Compromise Your Spring Training Recovery Rides! Here’s How…

April 7, 2016
Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Joshua Murdock (Peak Cycles/bikeparts.com team cyclist) climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

When spring comes around every year, the temptation for many cyclists is 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. One of the key stages of training where this takes places is cycling recovery.

While it may not always seem like it, a recovery ride is just as important to a cyclist’s race training as a workout. Together, recovery and workouts are the ‘yin and yang’ that balances a riders preparation and optimizes performance. Three key areas of recovery to pay attention to include post-workout recovery, post-race recovery, and balanced nutrition.

Post-Workout Recovery

One of the easiest ways to undermine training is to ride too hard during a recovery ride. The article, “7 Ways to Nail Your Recovery Rides” from Bicycling Magazine explains this well –

When you train hard you do damage—that’s part of the plan. Your workout breaks down your muscle, empties out your fuel stores, and generally taxes your metabolism above and beyond its status quo. When you recover, your body repairs the damage so you can come back stronger and ready for more. If you skip the recovery part, you’re cheating yourself out of the maximum return on your hard work.

Even though it seems counter intuitive, recovery rides should feel easy! Here are some ways to ensure that you are getting a proper recovery:

  • Ride by yourself. You won’t be tempted to keep up with anyone else.
  • Pull out the beater bike. If you have an older bike, you can spin easy and not be tempted to go faster.
  • Get casual. Wear cloths that will make you feel like you’re just out for a cycling stroll
  • Use a bike computer. Let your gadgets tell you if you are going too fast

Post-Race Recovery

Races are often the hardest workout cyclists will do. They redline for longer periods of time than their training workouts and expend more energy. As a result, the mind sends signals to the body  that aren’t always what the body needs – such as exclusively eating junk food and sitting on the sofa for the rest of the day. The article, “Maximize Your Post Race Recovery from Training Peaks offers some ways that you can recover more quickly from a race:

  • Right after the race, eat simple carbohydrates. Go for that orange slice, banana, and slice of pizza offered at the race.
  • Supplement your post-race pizza and beer with other nutritional and caloric dense foods. Getting some protein will help your muscles recover (high protein intake is not good post-race, however) and caloric-dense foods restore glycogen levels in your liver and muscles.
  • Stay away from really fatty foods and foods that are high in protein.
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  • Get your feet up after the race. Yes, we’re giving you permission to chill and get off of your feet. This is best if done right after you are off the bike.
  • Take a walk later that day. Getting up on your feet and moving around a while after the race helps speed the recovery process.

There are lots of resources online for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery. bikeparts.com has lots of different types of nutritional supplements all in one place as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel that can help you with your recovery training. And if you just want to talk to an expert, stop into Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to talk to one of our competitive cyclists. Have fun with your Spring Training!