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.

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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!


Motivation and Planning – The Key to Making Cycling Resolutions Stick 

January 7, 2016

Make it Happen in 2016It’s tough being a bike rider from January through late March. The holidays are over, the winter weather is in full swing and the idea of keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet many cyclists, both competitive and recreational, have committed to New Year resolutions but are battling regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom.  What can a cyclist do?

Granted, the amount of downtime you can afford to take in winter depends on your goals for the coming year. If you have a century ride, a bike trip, or a hard race scheduled for June or July, you can probably get away with a layoff.  On the other hand, if an athlete wants to maintain fitness over the winter it it’s important to you get your motivation in gear now to make these gains and keep your cycling training on track.  Here’s how.

Define your goals.  What do you want to accomplish in 2016?  When? How do you know you’ve reached your goals?  Making SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goals not only boosts your chances of attaining your goals, but you also become a better cyclist in the process.  The trick is to really dial those goals in. As in, a goal to consistently hitting heart rate zones or power zones for specific workout.  Use cycling accessories that are available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors to provide objective feedback.  Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. You may also want to check out our post, Heart Rate Training – What You Need to Know for our staff picks at Peak Cycles Bike Shop. Based on your goals, you can then get an action plan together by defining your training objectives.

Define your training objectives.  Now that you have your sights set for some events in 2016, it’s time to take inventory of your abilities to meet your goals for these events. What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?  For every area of improvement, decide what activity is needed to improve that.  If you have poor bike handling skills, then schedule time each week for bike drills.  If your core is week, schedule time for yoga or strength training. And, if you are like most cyclist, you could use a little stretching. Make time for stretching to improve your flexibility.

Define your approach.  Get a game plan together of how you plan to train and race.  Again, taking stock of last year’s performances, where can you improve?  Some cyclist focus exclusively on race day performance and evaluate results on a single day. However, take a look at how the days leading up to your event impacted the result.  How was you bike nutrition? How was your sleep? Did you have a race strategy in place? Were you familiar with the logistics of the event, as well as, the course profile itself?  All of these factors impact day of results.  Take time now to review and plan ahead.  Experiment with new ideas, products, and approaches. As in, maybe try a new on bike nutrition product. Experiment with different bike parts and bike components.  Consider designing and refining a pre-event routine, like a race day ritual.  This thoughtful process brings a fresh approach to 2016 and keeps you motivated through the winter months.

Ultimately, motivation for keeping your resolutions is not something that can be given to you. Rather, motivation must ultimately come from within.  Just like the passion you have for cycling.  Dig deep, find what inspires you, connect with that and pedal your way to a successful 2016 cycling season.  Happy New Year friends!


Drinking During a Cyclocross Race?  It’s Not What You Think!

September 17, 2015

Did you hear that?  That was a cowbell ringing!  Because somewhere in the world, there’s a cyclocross race going on!  As customary to the cyclocross culture, there’s lively banter, cheering, cowbell ringing, and festivities accompanying a cyclocross race.  As many who participate in either cyclocross racing, heckling (or both)  know, the cyclocross culture is rich with enthusiasm.  It’s a crazy fun cycling discipline inspiring cyclist to an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leaves athletes sucking wind, barely able to see straight…and desperately seeking fluids!  

Traditionally, drinking fluids during a cyclocross race was an unheard of activity.  This was partially due to mounting/ dismounting the bike to jump over obstacles as well as shouldering the bike for run ups; however, this was also related to the UCI rules and regulations for professional athletes.  However, just recently, the UCI has clarified their stand.

“Riders may carry fluids on their bicycles and install bottles on their spare bicycles in the pit area. Hands-free water carrying systems such as backpacks are permitted, and riders may also carry water bottles in their jersey pockets. However, it is forbidden to receive a bottle from anybody along the course. Extra fluids can only be obtained during the race when a rider takes a spare bicycle, already equipped with a bottle, from the pit area.”

So yes, that means you can drink during cyclocross races.  While you might think of it an an opportunity to consume adult beverages, we’re actually talking about water and other nutritional products.  Because racers can now drink while racing cyclocross, what are the best options: bottles or a hydration pack?  Your choice may come down to individual preference but there are several factors to consider.  Weather conditions play a factor as well as course considerations.   If the course is slick with mud and minimal safe passing zones, then bottles may be undesirable. The same applies for tricky descents in which a bump tosses the bottle right out of its cage.  Then again, if the course dictates multiple run ups requiring shoulder mounts, then having a backpack may be limiting.  At a minimum, it’s important to have water bottles and containers available pre-race that can be tossed aside before the start. Equally important is having bottles and nutritional support available immediately post race for adequate refueling and recovery

Regardless of how you take in your fluids, hydration is important.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re all about supporting good cycling habits – whether that is proper hydration, having a bike that fits, access to the right bike parts, or availability to the best cycling accessories for you. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, cyclocross has something to offer everybody and so do we.  Check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  

Wait! Did you hear that?  There’s that cowbell again!