5 Tips for Cycling in Hot August Weather 

August 3, 2017

Team Rider at BikeParts.com Riding in Moab

Here in Colorado, we’re now into super warm temps and managing the heat while riding and racing is critical not only to comfort, but also performance. Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.

Think about it. Heat is the ultimate enemy for a cyclist, because after a point, the hotter you get, the slower you’ll go.  If the weather won’t cooperate to be cooler, then what can you do about it? 

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.

Tip#1
If you haven’t exposed yourself to the warmer temps, you should.  One tip is to 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.

Tip #2
This is obvious, but an often overlooked component. Hydrate. 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 consumption. For your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your road 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 hydration pack as well as have extra bottles on hand.

Tip #3
Protect yourself from the sun.  While some enjoy exposure to the sun, a sunburn does more than fry your skin – it contributes to fatigue and increases your metabolism. Always wear sunscreen; choose jerseys, shorts, and arm skins with built-in sun protection; and wear a cap under your helmet to shield your head. 

Tip #4
Plan ahead. Planning your route in advance and knowing where the nearest sources of water can be handy in case you find yourself running low at any point. Also, planning a route with options to shorten the ride or take a shortcut back to your starting point in case you start to struggle is also a good plan.  If possible with your schedule, consider riding during the cooler times of the day.  

Tip#5
Recover. This seems like another overlooked strategy but after a long day in the saddle and the heat, you really do need to cool off. Get your legs up. Stay in the shade or AC. It is important to get your core body temperature down so you can recover. We all know that recovery is a critical element of preparing for the next bout of exercise.  One of our favorite recovery products at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is PhysioPhyx.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine.  In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs +Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive. 

With that said, training and riding in the heat doesn’t have to be so bad.  Wear cooling cycling apparel.  Ride a bike with proper functioning bike parts to avoid over excretion. Need more tips?  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to chat with our racers, mechanics, and other cyclist to see what works for them.


A Cocktail for Cyclist? Cherry Juice, Beet Juice, and Supplements

October 27, 2016
PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

As athletes, we all want to get fitter, leaner, stronger, and faster!  Regardless of age or athletic ability, inherent in every cyclist wish list is a secret weapon to get faster without expending more effort.  As such, many turn to nutritional supplements.  And, there’s good reason to do so too! As it turns out, many products, including beet and cherry juice, are proving to aid in recovery and providing performance-enhancing benefits for endurance athletes.  Here’s an overview of what you need to know.  

The benefits of tart cherry juice for endurance athletes includes better sleep, ability to fight inflammation, reduced muscle pain, and immunity boosting. Sounds great, right! And drinking tart cherry juice tastes great and is a nice bedtime snack. To maximize its effects, Coach Lynda Wallenfels suggest mixing in 20g of the slow digesting protein casein to boost protein synthesis while you sleep. Also, consider taking another dose of tart cherry juice the following morning to maximize the performance-enhancing benefits it has to offer.

Another natural food worth investigating is beet juice.  A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests adding some nitrate-rich beetroot juice to our workout plan can enhance our stamina, strength, and endurance.   How does it work?  According to the post, Using Beet Juice to Improve Performance, “Beets contain a large amount of inorganic nitrates. These compounds are the precursor to a very important signalling molecule that our body needs to function- Nitric Oxide2. NO is made naturally within our bodies but we can dramatically increase its availability by eating nitrate rich food. Among other roles, NO acts as a vasodilator in functioning skeletal muscle, increasing the size of blood vessels to allow more oxygen flow. “ Granted, beets are not going to make you fast on their own, but for the athlete that cares about marginal gains, they could provide the race winning boost.   

In addition to food based nutrition for enhanced performance, there are cycling specific supplements too.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, a favorite nutritional product available post ride is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?!

Overall, a solid training program combined with a healthy lifestyle provide the greatest platform for sustained and improved performance.  Adding supporting elements like these mentioned can help. While you are at it, you can make improvements to your bike too!  Improve bike performance with lighter bike parts. Minimize mechanicals by replacing old drivetrain parts with new ones. Support your body with a bike fit or cycling apparel like compression gear for recovery.  Again, there may not be a single best option for fitness gains but every little bit helps! 


Overtraining? How Nutrition and Sleep Play a Role in Recovery 

July 14, 2016

PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.comWith the great weather we’ve been having in Golden, Colorado, it’s hard to keep yourself off the bike!  Do you find yourself overtraining? Riding too many long miles? Or simply,  skimping on your regular self care? How do you know if you’re pushing the limits too far? 

First off, it’s important to note that during the summer months it is easy to get swept away in the joys of riding. The temps are great – the trails are great- riding a new mountain bike or road bike is great! All in all, riding in general is just plain amazing.  But, with all the bike riding accompanies fatigue and over doing it.  In fact, there are three stages of overtraining.  Each stage is defined by certain levels of fatigue and recovery time.  But in a nutshell, there are common symptoms cyclists can experience when they overtrain.

  • get a washed-out feeling
  • feel tired
  • get grumpy and experience sudden mood swings
  • become irrational
  • feel a lack of energy for other activities
  • suffer from depression
  • have a decreased appetite
  • get headaches
  • get an increased incidence of injuries
  • have trouble sleeping
  • feel a loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  • experience a sudden drop in performance

Yikes! That doesn’t sound fun – especially when the mountain bike trails and fun adventure road rides are beckoning.  What can you do about it? Consider the tools at your disposal to aid in recovery.

Nutrition Options: A favorite nutritional product available post ride is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?!  Speaking of overdrive – you may enjoy reading more on the subject of nutrition and recovery in these post: 

Sleep: Included in the recovery process is quality sleep.  According to the post, This Is Your Body On Sleep, reduced sleep negatively impacts your HGH production, and your body’s ability to restore its muscle glycogen supply.  Ensure you are going quality of sleep by using the Sleep Cycle App.  This cool app analyzing users’ sleep patterns and displays data showing how well (or poorly) you slept during the night.  You might also add rolling or massage, stretching, compression, and low intensity activity to aid in getting a better night’s sleep. Many cyclist sleep in compression garments because they 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. 

Ultimately, the best way to identify if you are over training is by listening to your body. If you can’t keep yourself from riding, then maybe try the distraction technique! Distract yourself from the trails and road rides with some bike bling!  Swap a training ride for a visit to Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.  Check out the new bike parts we have in stock. Try on some of the new Specialized  Merino wool jerseys  that offer evaporative  cooling. Explore new tire or wheel options.  The possibilities are limitless.  And, once you have that spark back in your legs, you’ll enjoy your riding even more!


Our Favorite Nutritional Products to Avoid Muscle Cramps

July 30, 2015
PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

There are a lot of opinions about why muscle cramping occurs and everyone has their own advice when the topic comes up. Many sports drinks tell you that they key to preventing cramps is magnesium, bike fitters will tell you your saddle is too high or you have incorrect bike parts, and there are also dozens of different home remedies.

Unfortunately, muscle cramping is something cyclists deal with at all levels of the sport.  The big question is what to do about muscle cramping, and what can you do to avoid them in the first place.
Interestingly enough, new insights as to what causes cramps is available.  The post, The Real Cause of Muscle Cramps, offers insights into root causes of muscle cramps.  And it’s not what you think! Muscle cramps aren’t the muscle; it’s the nerve.  While this research continues to evolve to learning more about the root cause of cramps, we can at least use tried and true methods to prevent them. Here’s what we have found works.
Avoid muscle cramps in the first place by hydrating properly before and during your ride.   If you’re a female cyclist, you may want to try out Osmo nutrition.  There are three options:
  • active hydration
  • acute recovery
  • preload hydration
What we like about this product is that it is nutrition “based on peer-reviewed science. The science is simple. Hydration, which refers to the maintenance of water in your blood, is critical to maximizing power, endurance and reducing fatigue. When you’re thirsty, you’ve already lost two percent of your body water—and 11 percent of your power.”
For all riders, another option is Skratch Labs.  Again there are several options to sleet including:
  • All day – daily electrolyte mix
  • Single workout – exercise hydration mix
  • Hyper nutrition – hyper hydration mix
  • Rescue hydration – for dehydration
Finally, an all time favorite!  Honey Stinger products – tasty edibles on the ride.
  • waffles
  • gels
  • energy bars
  • organic chews
All of those are great nutritional products while riding, but what products are available post ride?  As we all know, recovery is a critical element of preparing for the next bout of exercise.  New in our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?!
Overall, preventing muscle cramps in the first place is the ideal solution. Stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado or chat with us on Twitter or Facebook about your nutritional needs.  We’re happy to share our tried and true methods for avoiding muscle cramping while riding!