Tips to Conquering Colorado’s Climbs 

June 7, 2018
BikeParts.com Team Rider Getting Ready to Climb

BikeParts.com Team Rider Getting Ready to Climb

Colorado has some of the best road bike and mountain bike hill climbs. Additionally, there are countless rides and events like Ride the Rockies, Leadville100, and the Colorado Summit Cycling Series that challenge riders to either push on or blow up.  No doubt the suffering imposed by climbing may cause us cyclist to fret, but the the post, Why You Should Love Climbing, suggests otherwise.  

“Hills also make you happier. Longer, sustained efforts trigger the release of mood-lifting chemicals like endorphins and cannabinoids, which, as the name suggests, are in the same family of chemicals that give pot smokers their high, kick in. Research also shows that regular efforts in the lactate threshold range, which incidentally is where you climb, may help ward off mood disorders like depression. Additionally, research also shows all that the fresh air, sunshine, solitude, and sweeping vistas that you soak in as you make your way up and over hills and mountains provide their own unique benefits.” 

With that motivation, how can we learn to love climbing?  

Ride Hill Repeats
Hill repeats are a foundation of any good training plan.  Basically, the plan is to riding up the hill as hard as you can, recovering on the way back down and then doing it again. A good heart rate monitor and power meter can aid in bio feedback and motivation and help you to judge your effort better.  However – remember that whilst power numbers respond immediately to increased effort, heart rate takes time to accumulate – so expect it to take a few minutes for your heart rate to reach your target zone.

Decide to Sit or Stand
To sit or stand while climbing – that is the question.  Actually, it depends on rider preference; however, we’ve found lighter riders prefer to stand while heavier riders prefer to sit.  Regardless, you may want to train doing both. Opt to sit on one climb or hill repeat, then stand on the next. Testing the limits of your ability to climb in both positions will make you a stronger all-around climber.

Focus on Your Breath
Obviously while climbing, you are excepting more effort. That requires more oxygen.  So, a simple way to to maximizing your oxygen uptake is learning to take deep breaths.  Avoid shallow ones and breathe to your belly. This may require you to straighten up to allow your belly and ribs to actually expand.  Given your bike fit, you may or may not need to adjust bike parts so be mindful of your body position when climbing so that you can inhale for optimum oxygen intake.

Gear Adjustment
Gears can be a complicated thing. In fact, many people buy a road bike or mountain bike and never modify their gears.  Yet, depending on the climbs you are doing and your aspirations, you may consider swapping the cassette or chainset.  If you’re struggling to turn the pedals on the climbs, changing your gear set up – going for a smaller chainset and wider ratio cassette – will help as you’ll be able to spin more quickly.

Relax
A deathtrap on the handlebars, swinging your body around, and tense muscles make climbing much more difficult.  Also, it’s a waste of precious energy!  Just relax! Find your rhythm and get into a groove that you can sustain.

Pick one or all of these tips and try them out.  Give yourself some time to evaluate your progress.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, our bet is after a few weeks of one or all of using these tips, you’re climbing performance will increase.  Whether or not you actually fall in love with climbing is another matter – but at least you will be better at it! 

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Optimization: Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Spring Cycling 

March 1, 2018

Early Season Training for Peak Cycles Race Team

The winter months aren’t very conducive to maintaining a solid level of fitness and keeping in shape.  Yet spring is right around the corner and with the warming temperatures and the start of daylight savings time it’s fair to say we’re seeing the first signs of spring.  This can be both hugely exciting, and also slightly nerve racking for cyclists who have spent the winter months working towards spring or summer goals. So, what are the best ways to optimize your cycling to prepare best for the upcoming season? Rest assured, we’ve got you covered.  Read on. 

Optimize your fitness with a power meter:
Whether you plan to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2018, monitoring your early season training and racing sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  Our tip to do this? Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you. Given that 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 2018 cycling season goals.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, to dial in which training aid is best for you. 

Optimize biological feedback with a heart rate monitor:
Speaking of heart rate, heart rate monitors are a funny thing – they can be completely useless or extremely valuable depending on how you use them. Heart rate training has been viewed in many ways over the years, from very precise to not so precise. Now, a growing number of coaches and exercise physiologists support the use of heart rates as an important part of biological feedback, as heart rates are a direct reflection of what is happening internally.  If you’re new to training with heart rate monitors, the post, The Variables and Trends of Heart Rate Training,  walks you through the steps of learning your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate.  But before you begin to analyze data, you actually have to have a heart rate monitor to get started!  Visit us at Peak Cycles Bike Shop or BikeParts.com to check out the heart rate monitors for the 2018 cycling season. 

Optimize your riding position with a 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.

Optimize bike mechanics with regular inspection:
Bike maintenance can be a chore, but a necessity.  As you ride more through the early season, some things that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential.  There are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order for the early season cycling months.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame.  Rain, snow, mud, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts.  Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.  If you are concerned about how to maintain and clean carbon frames, check out this video for best suggestions.  Don’t forget to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, inspect your brake pads. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.  Remember, pre season bike maintenance and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.

There you have it! Plan for a successful cycling season by training right early season.  A good bike fit, steady riding, and the use of training tools paves the way for a healthy, injury free 2018. 


5 of The Best Healthy Valentine’s Day Gifts for Cyclists

February 8, 2018

Happy Valentine’s Day from BikeParts.com

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many get stumped as to what to buy.  Sure, there’s the standard flowers, a card, and some chocolate, but why not capture the love that our two wheeled friends bring us?

Riding bikes has a way of unleashing powerful emotions. You know, like the sense of power you get when the wind is at your back. Or, the sense of wonder and appreciation you feel upon glancing at our natural environment.

Since bike riding gifts our spirits and bodies with so much, why not pass on the chocolate this Valentine’s Day and opt for healthier options instead? Following are our top picks for a healthy Valentine’s Day.

#1 Give the Valentine’d Day Gift of Nutrition
Nutrition matters. We all know it – but that doesn’t mean we eat and drink what we know we should. And athletes suffer from poor choices too. The symptoms of poor nutrition rears its ugly head in many ways: via muscle cramping, struggling to complete workouts, and unsuccessful race efforts. Eliminate all the frustration with improved bike nutrition. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have several options including nutritional products just for women. Specifically, Osmo nutrition – This product is specific to women offering three options: active hydration, acute recovery, and preload hydration. Other favorites for both men and women are Scratch Labs and Honey Stinger Products.

#2 Give the Valentine’d Day Gift of a Power Meter
Is your cyclist a data junkie? Then, this is the ideal gift for your favorite cyclist! The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to purchase, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters. Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today. Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter. A third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

#3 Give the Valentine’d Day Gift of a Great Fitting Bike
Gift a Bike fit – Does your cyclist complain of hands falling asleep while riding? Or shoulder or neck pain after a long ride? 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. Consider the gift of giving your favorite cyclist a bike fit for Valentine’s Day. Not only can we help them with the fit, but we carry all the bike parts required to get the bike in the very best setup for their riding needs. Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

#4 Give the Valentine’d Day Gift of Adventure
Gift a fat bike demo! That’s right! Fat bikes are all the rage – snow or no snow! They thrive in snow, sand, desert, bogs and mud as well as riding what is considered normal mountain biking. Book a fat bike demo for Valentine’s Day and brighten up the normal winter riding program. Who can’t smile while riding a fat bike?

#5 Give the Valentine’d Day Gift of Bike Parts
And last but not least, what is a cyclist dream gift? Bike parts! As a reminder, our shop BikeParts.com offers a huge selection of road bike parts, mountain bike parts, BMX 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. In addition to bike parts, we also carry a large selection of cycling accessories.

Share the love with your favorite cyclist and your bike! Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us a Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop!


Making the Most of Winter with Trainers, Rollers, and Indoor Riding

January 25, 2018

Trainers and Rollers at BikeParts.com

While the weather conditions have been warm and dry across the state of Colorado, recently we finally got a hint of Winter with our recent snow fall. No doubt a joyous occasion for those riding fat bikes! But for those forced to ride inside, how do you make the most of winter riding? It brings up the trainer vs roller debate, as well as, how to stay motivated to ride indoors altogether.

When it comes to rollers vs the trainer, the debate is far from over as it really depends on individual preference. Both come with many different levels of resistance and accessories to fine tune the experience.

For most, a trainer will have more appeal. They are good for any type of ride from casual to the all out sprint. Trainers don’t require a lot of concentration either, so the option to flip through channels on the TV, reply to email, send text messages, or take a quick break is easier. And, trainers are great for virtual training tools like Zwift.

On the other hand, rollers offer some advantages too. They create more of a road-like feel than trainers do. Rollers help your cycling form as your legs spinning pattern becomes much more efficient. And, riding rollers keeps you a bit more mindful and engaged so that you don’t fall off!

Some things you want to take into consideration, whether you opt for rollers or the trainer, is to set it up correctly. Having the right equipment and bike parts 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 or rollers, but we’re also talking about having a fan, 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 it can make all the difference in the world.

Make your indoor riding really count. It’s hard to stay motivated riding indoors for days in a row. So, another way to make riding indoors work is to shorten your ride. 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 or rollers accordingly.

Granted, trainer rides will never replace the joy of cycling outside. However, you can take pride in that you are getting your rides in and building your cycling base for the season ahead.


Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Cycling Dads 

June 15, 2017

Father’s Day cycling gifts at BikeParts.com

Are you a last minute Father’s Day shopper looking to give your Dad a different kind of Father’s Day gift this year?   If  you’re stuck wondering what to get your cycling Dad for Father’s day, then look no further!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have all the  cycling apparel and cycling accessories, your Dad wants. 

A no brainer for Father’s day are bike parts! Think new drivetrain parts, brakes, saddle, and wheel set.  We have it all!  Top that off with some extra water bottles, nutrition items like gels and waffles and your Dad is all set.  Granted, you might not know the precise bike parts your Dad wants, so opt for a gift certificate. He can pick out his favorite items and you get the credit for being a great kid! 

Next up – gift a Bike fit.  Does your Dad complain of hands falling asleep while riding? Or shoulder or neck pain after a long ride? 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. Consider giving your Dad with a bike fit for Father’s Day. This will your Dad ride pain free all year long.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Finally, gift your Dad with some super powers!  Well, not exactly super powers but you can gift your Dad the gift of power – power meter that is! The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to purchase, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters, beginning at $1000. Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.  

See how easy it is to get your cycling Dad a great gift for Father’s Day? If by chance you are still in need of ideas for creative Father’s Day gifts, stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado or give us a call at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop (303) 216-1616 and we’ll gladly help you out!  Happy Father’s Day!


Slow Down Now to Go Fast Later This Cycling Season

May 4, 2017

No matter how fast you go, you want to ride your bike faster.  Don’t you?  While recreational cyclists are often happy just to get out and enjoy the fresh air, exercise and scenery, almost every cycling enthusiast is always trying to go faster on their bike

Now that the temperature is getting warmer, the days are growing longer, and the weather is improving, Colorado cyclists are beckoned to ride their bikes. While some may have trained through the winter months, many have not.  And the alluring call of gorgeous spring days lures many unprepared cyclist to ride too hard, too fast which can lead to injuries or a set back in the 2017 cycling season.

It may seem counter intuitive to a cyclist, but it is okay to go slow.  

According to the post, Why It’s Cool To Be Slow in the Spring, unless you have a very early season event you were hoping to be in peak condition for, then basically, it’s okay to be a little slower right now.  

At Peak Cycles, we suggest taking the subjective aspect out of your cycling performance evaluation.  How you feel may vary differently from your actual performance. With that in mind, we have cycling accessories to help you get precise bio feedback to remove the guess work out of your training – specifically power meters and /or heart rate monitors. 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.  You can also learn steps in discovering your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate.  Theses bike parts and cycling accessories put the power of data in your hands so you don’t have to feel slow and can actually track your progress as your fitness improves. 

But, when is it okay to be a little slow on the bike and when is it time to worry about turning that slow into go? Again, the post Why It’s Cool To Be Slow in the Spring tells us, “The short answer—so long as you have a normal base level of fitness—is about eight weeks before you want to be fast.”

So, take your time. Ease into spring. Enjoy quality training now that paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.


5 Tips to Transition Toward Spring Cycling Races

April 6, 2017

Spring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation.  A given rule of thumb is that all races and events provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form.  

However, while some may have trained through the winter months, many have not.  And the alluring call of gorgeous spring days lures many unprepared cyclist to ride too hard, too fast which can lead to injuries or a set back in the 2017 cycling season. To avoid injury or setback, follow these tips to help transition into a healthy and rewarding Spring cycling season.  

Tip #1
Whether you plan to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2017, monitoring your early season training and racing sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  Our tip to do this? Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you. Given that 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 2015 cycling season goals.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, to dial in which training aid is best for you. 

Tip #2
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.

Tip #3
Get your bike race ready – It’s obvious, but often overlooked with the excitement of the season – but that is getting your bike ready to race. Our post, Spring Cleaning! 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road, walks you through all the bike maintenance and safety checks needed before embarking on epic training rides.  Fortunately, all the bikesbike parts cycling accessories, and cycling apparel you’ll need can be found on our website – bikeparts.com.  And, if you aren’t into doing bike maintenance yourself, Call or stop in to Peak Cycles in Golden, CO to schedule your bike for a full tune-up. 

Tip #4
Be prepared.  April kicks off the season in Colorado with the Boulder-RoubaixFront Range ClassicFruita Fat Tire Festival, and Koppenberg Road Race.  Not only are you testing your fitness in these early season races, but you’re also testing your memory!  Don’t forget necessary event and race itms. We’ve prepared a handy, comprehensive checklist for Spring racing.   

Tip #5
Early season cycling tempts cyclists  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.  Recovery is critical.  Our post, Don’t Compromise Your Spring Training Recovery Rides! Here’s How… offers resources for you to learn about recovery best-practices and get the fuel and equipment you need for adequate recovery.

Finally, have fun! Enjoy the launch of the cycling season!