Preseason Endurance Race Strategies: Start slow, Build Mental Toughness

April 14, 2016

12748011_968167059887388_245329798008628208_oFor those of you preparing for endurance trail races, we know that you are getting ready to ride long, get dirty, and have the time of your life. And while some you may have trained through the winter months, many have not. So we warn you winter sofa spuds that the alluring call of gorgeous spring days will tantalize you to ride too hard, too fast. This could lead to injuries, poor performances, and an overall unhappy 2016 cycling season.

Here are some ways not to meet that unfortunately end:

Endurance trail cyclists are on the cusp of some of the most favored mountain bike races in Colorado and the American west — races like Rocky Mountain Endurance Series, Thaw Massacre, 18 Hours of Fruita, Desert RATS Classic, 12 Hours of Mesa Verde, and The Half/Original Growler. And being success in these races requires you to closely monitor early season training. 

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 – such as power meters, GPS computers, 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. As a result, your 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 2016 cycling season goals.

Now, just because you can’t go all-out in your early training, doesn’t mean that you can’t build the mental toughness and focus that you will need during an endurance race. 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.”

For more information, don’t hesitate to visit our website or stop into our store – Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado. We have tons of advice, as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.


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!


3 New Years Resolutions Worth Keeping

December 31, 2015
Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

New Year’s has always been a time for reflecting on the past year, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.  However, for all too many resolutions, failure is virtually assured at the offset because the resolutions are not made with serious intent and deliberation. Basically, they are just wishful thinking.

The first trick to making a resolution stick is to choose the right resolution in the first place!  Make it SMART!  When you make your resolutions SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound), not only do you boost your chance of  attaining your goals, but you also  become a better cyclist in the process.  Aside from the traditional resolutions to ride more, to loose weight, and to explore new rides, consider taking on some different resolutions.

Resolve to set bigger goals! Set your sights high! Reach for bigger goals in 2016!  Many cyclist resolve to ride more frequently or adventure on longer rides in the coming year; yet without actually quantifying the specific actions required to support these goals, no gains are actually made. The post, Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your Next Cycling Season highlights this fact offering 10 questions to evaluate the past season’s cycling performance and arms you with insights to making better training choices that lead to better performance in 2016.  In addition to goal setting, using cycling accessories – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors can aid in bio feedback, data, and analysis towards obtaining your goals.  Armed with SMART goals and biofeedback, the only thing you have to do is actually ride!

Resolve to try something new! If you are a roadie, try riding a mountain bike.  If you only ride trails, opt for a gravel grinder event.  Gravel grinder events are great for roadies and mountain bike riders and they are popping up all over the country.  Generally, they are unsanctioned, unsupported endurance bicycle races on primarily gravel and dirt roads, with little or no outside support, course markings, fees or prizes.  That translates to a day of adventure on the bike!  If the endurance route isn’t your thing, consider riding a fat bike.  Fat bikes offer a whole new level of fun and adventure to riding.  Why not try something new? You have nothing to lose and only fun, adventure, and new cycling thrills to gain! 

Resolve to treat your body right!  Sure, as a cyclist you probably think about proper hydration and eating well but there’s more to taking care of your body than that.  Have you thought about yoga? Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.  Another way to prevent injury and take care of your body is to get a proper bike fit. Leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts and possibly even your 2016 cycling resolutions.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  A bike fit doesn’t simply consist of setting saddle height and bar reach. It’s more than that and it is even more critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.  

The New Year is all about out with the old and in with the new.  Maybe last year’s cycling resolutions were to get in shape, build fitness, or get stronger on the bike.  This year, branch out! Create resolutions worth keeping and watch your cycling soar to new heights in the coming year! At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re wishing you a year that is filled with all the joys, personal rewards, and the grand adventure that cycling brings.  Happy 2016!


What Pro Riders Do That You Can Do Too

July 9, 2015
S-works bike at BikeParts.com

S-works bike at BikeParts.com

July – the best month of the year!

As cyclist, we all love July because the Tour de France is in full swing and so is the touring and racing season in Colorado.

With envy, many cyclist watch the pro riders and wonder how they can mimic the fitness and performance of such talented athletes.  In fact, it seems that pro cyclists are often all thought to be blessed with nature’s special gifts – a huge heart, enormous lungs and infinite leg power.  Yet, in reality this is hardly the case. The truth is that most of us have the physiology to be a decent racer – if we trained as much as they do.  Granted, most of us don’t have the time or the resources available to pro cyclists but we can all optimize the talents bestowed upon us by training properly.  Here’s what pro cyclist are doing that you can do too.

Cool things first.  If you noticed, pro riders are wearing the new GoPro Hero 4.  You might wonder how this could help your training? Considering that the winter months can be bleak, capture your favorite training rides on video and reply when riding the rollers or trainer during the winter months.  We at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop can order the GoPro Hero 4 if you like!

Pro rider ride really nice bikes!  That’s a given. Great road bicycles don’t have to come at a hefty price tag either.  Right now, in our Golden, Colorado shop we have a really nice S-works bike in the store with Shimano XTR components and 11-speed in back. Light and fast for racing.  If a new bike isn’t in your budget, then start with the basics.  Have good equipment.  Meaning, have a bike that fits, get the right bike parts, and wear the appropriate cycling accessories. It may seem obvious but the small things add up to bigger gains. 

Pro riders take nutrition seriously – on and off the bike.  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. However, oftentimes, the course may dictate other options. Regardless, proper on bike nutrition is critical.  Many of our customers ask us what are the best on-bike nutrition options available?  Following are our favorites at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop:

Osmo nutrition – This product is specific to women offering 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.”  Stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado to learn more.

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

Pro riders train with power and heart rate.  Some mistakingly think that technology takes away the “riding experience” or that it is too costly for their level of riding.  However, times have changed and power meters are much more affordable.  They offer objective bio feedback to help you perform your best.  Our most popular are 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 favorite is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

Last but not least, a little R&R or active recovery is good too.  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.

While you may not be a pro cyclist, you can certainly benefit from the training elements of a Tour rider lifestyle.  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for more training tips and cycling information to make the best of your summer cycling season.


Winning Racing and Training Secrets from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop Sponsored Cycling Teams

June 11, 2015
BikeParts.com Team Rider Kyle Crawley on his way to finishing in 4th Place at the Gunnison Growler 32

BikeParts.com Team Rider Kyle Crawley on his way to finishing in 4th Place at the Gunnison Growler 32

Guess who is rocking the coolest bikes, the best bike parts, and crushing it in Colorado’s toughest road and mountain bike races?

You guessed it – Peak Cycles Racers!  We’re super proud of Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop Sponsored Cycling Teams including Peak Cycles XC, Gravity and BMX teams, Colorado School of MinesThe Golden High School mountain bike team, Tough Girl Cycling, Twin Peaks Racing, and The Colorado Collective.  Early season success has come easily to these athletes.  Countless podium finishes and successful racing has caused many followers of the teams to wonder what are the secrets to combining racing and training for a successful summer cycling season?  What are these athletes doing that we all can do to improve our cycling performance?

For starters, there are many different approaches to training and racing.  Typical training weeks may vary in distance, intensity, and training hours. Some athletes prefer a structured approach to their racing season; whereas others prefer to keep it casual by mixing in shop rides and even front range bucket list rides to test fitness and keep training fresh.

But at a minimum, there are the basics which pretty much everyone follows.  This includes ongoing bike maintenance, repairing and/ or replacing bike parts, continued bike nutrition while riding, and a strong focus on hydration on and off the bike.  It sounds simple enough but a properly fit bike – that is ready to ride –  makes cycling fun, easy, and keeps you riding!

Regardless of your approach, one of the winning secrets for training and racing is using tools for bio feedback. Cycling accessories, as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors offers bio feedback monitoring of your efforts with specific data so that you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indictors, as well as, when you aren’t pushing hard enough.

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.

While it’s not a secret, and we hinted at it earlier, an often overlooked component of successful racing and training is a bike fit.   If you haven’t ridden much this Spring, 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.

There are countless suggestions that we can offer for training and racing tips but nothing can replace the passion, discipline, and love of the sport that our staff and team riders embrace.  For more winning race and training secrets, stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and ask our staff for ideas and suggestions.  Also, keep current by following our Facebook page for updates.  Happy riding!


How to Use Spring Training Tools – The Importance of Not Going Out Too Hard Too Fast

April 9, 2015

Bike Fits at Peak Cycles Bicycle ShopAs the temperature gets warmer, the days grow longer, and the weather improves, cyclists everywhere 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 2015 cycling season.

Whether you are planning to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2015, monitoring your early season training sets the stage for a successful year ahead.

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 2015 cycling season goals.

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.

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.

There are countless more ways training tools can aid in your spring cycling training.  We’ve mentioned power training and heart rate training, but also consider the importance of nutrition and recovery.  The main goal of them all is to assist you in dialing in your training to optimize your performance as it relates to your goals and objectives.

Do you need help figuring out which one is best for you?  Visit us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado or ask us on Twitter.