The Do’s and Don’ts to Completing Your First Big Charity Ride

June 8, 2017

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com Riding

If you are a casual bike rider and have opted to push your personal limits and go for a big event, have you found yourself perplexed about preparations?

Oftentimes, those making the jump from one level of fitness to another find themselves wondering about what to expect.  Most riders just want to make it to the end of the ride.

Yet, we are here to offer our tips to help you to not only finish your big charity ride – but also, enjoying every pedal stroke of it.  Enjoy our do’s and don’ts of mastering your charity ride.

Do prepare your bike in advance.  This is an obvious but overlooked first step. Give your road bike a once over.   Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  As an example, your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Consider replacing worn bike parts and purchasing new cycling accessories you may need. 

Do know the course and aid stations.  Review the course.  Identify aid station sand watch the weather.  Primarily, you want to anticipate your needs as you tick off each mile.  For instance, learn or write down on a card to put in your jersey the mile markers for the aid stations.  You may also make note of the mileage between aid stations.  You may end up passing through the earlier aid stations only to stop more frequently at the the aid stations later in the event.  Having this knowledge is helpful mentally and helps you gauge your energy during the ride.

Do pack extra cycling accessoriesIf the event offers drop bags, you may consider placing extra gloves, a rain jacket, lube, and maybe even a small towel in your drop bag.  Pack your nutritional and clothing needs to pair with the aid stations so that you ride with the items you need and can gather extra when needed.  These necessary items can make all the difference in avoiding discomfort in poor weather and /or poor riding conditions.

Don’t forget the basic essentials. Lay everything out the night before. Basic essentials include your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.

Don’t go out too fast.  Pace yourself. It’s tempting to go out too hard when you are feeling fresh and the enthusiasm is high.  You’re going to be in the saddle for a long day; so be mindful of your pace, as well as, your ongoing nutrition needs.  Eat and drink as needed and avoid consuming too much at the aid stations.

Don’t compare yourself with other riders. If this is your first big event, most likely, you won’t be in the front group.  Sometimes that can be discouraging; other times that can be comforting. Regardless, it is important to benchmark your success based on your own achievements.  Be inspired by fitter and faster riders and celebrate in your achievement of finishing your big event at your pace and in your way.

Most of all, enjoy the ride!  Take these do’s and don’ts and create your own guidelines to successfully master all of your big, epic rides!


Our First Hot Weekend of Racing! Managing the Heat and Optimizing Performance

June 1, 2017

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com Team Racer

Bye bye snow and rainy days. Hello blue skies and warm temps!  Finally, we’re getting some rideable weather here along the Front Range in Colorado.  Great timing too!  This weekend, June 3-4th, marks the beginning of June racing and there are quite a few mountain bike and road bike events taking place: 

Not too long ago, we shared in our Peak Cycles blog post 5 race day strategies to prepare for the Spring races in Colorado highlighting the importance of setting goals, knowing the race route, establishing race day rituals and getting into the proper mental state for racing.  The post, 5 Steps to Being Race Ready, reinforces the need for mental and physical preparation, as well as nutrition and bike parts checks, but part of racing is using your energy effectively – especially during the summer heat.

Since it’s early season and most of us have been accustomed to the cooler temperatures, it’s important to take note and prepare accordingly for the warm weather this weekend.  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.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.  What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

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, like those mentioned above, in hot weather.

If you can, 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.

Focus on nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.

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 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 camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand.

To train and compete at your best during this upcoming events, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  Everyone adapts differently to heat stress.  

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. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will keep you cool when the racing and riding gets hot!


5 Awesome Cycling Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 

May 11, 2017

Mother’s Day Cycling Gifts at BikeParts.com

You love your Mom and your Mom loves to ride. So what do you do for Mother’s Day? Celebrate it with cycling gifts. We’ve pulled together our best Mother’s Day gift ideas, with recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

Get a New Bike! Surprise your Mom with a new road bike or mountain bike.  If you aren’t sure which one to get her, read up on our post, Here’s How to Buy a New Bike. It will guide you through the process of dialing in the type of bike your Mom wants for the type of riding she will be doing.  

Get New Bike Parts!  If a new bike isn’t an option, then opt for upgraded bike parts.  Help your Mom spin faster with a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Or, consider purchasing some new, lighter tires for your Mom’s wheels. A third option is to reconsider the current crank set and pedals setup.  Wheels aren’t the only bike parts to upgrade.  Look for worn parts to be replaced with newer, lighter cycling components.  

Get Cycling Apparel! Every woman wants to ride in style. With that in mind, you can never go wrong in getting your Mom cycling apparel!  She can’t have too many jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, sunglasses, or cycling shoes!  Having a variety of cycling apparel to wear keeps cycling fresh and makes it fun to get out and ride!  

Get a Bike Fit!  If your Mom has a bike but doesn’t ride as often as she would like, ask her if her bike is comfortable.  Maybe a bike fit would help.  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. Give your Mom the gift of riding comfortably.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Get Gift Certificates!  If all else fails, get your Mom a gift certificate.  It can be used for purchasing bike parts and cycling accessories and allows your Mom to select the precise gift that will make her the happiest.  

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, you couldn’t pick a better time to shop for a new bike, cycling accessories, or bike parts. There are so many attractive choices today. Visit us at Peak Cycles in Golden or online at bikeparts.com and we can help with your decision making and offer advice you need to make this Mother’s Day the best ever! 


How to Optimize Your Pre-Season Cycling Training

March 9, 2017

Peak Cycles Race TeamThe weather has been amazing in Colorado!  The warmer temps are beckoning recreational and competitive cyclist to ride!  Enthusiasm is high;  but, caution should be in order!  Athletes can make early season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long, or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.  

Whether you are planning to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2017, monitoring your early season training sets the stage for a successful year ahead.

Train right:
From a training perspective, 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 2017 cycling season goals.

Optimize Your 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.

Perform Bike Inspections:
Does your bike have cobwebs on it from non use during the winter months?  Now is the time to dust it off, put some air in those tires, and do a thorough bike inspection.  It seems simple enough but there are some critical areas to pay attention.

What do you look for? Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design.  While your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike.  Handlebarsstems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. Make sure all is well before embarking on longer rides which could lead to lasting discomfort.

How important are brakes?  Obviously, a lot!  When you don’t have them, or they aren’t working properly, then you know the importance of well maintained brakes for your road or mountain bike.  Another important component to spring riding is checking out your wheels.  Unquestionably, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Spring is a great time to upgrade bicycle components. 

With a little preparation and planning, your pre season bike maintenance and training can pave the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable 2017 cycling season.  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the bike parts you need to launch your best cycling season ever!


Cross Train for Extra Gains in 2017 

January 12, 2017
Yoga and Stretching at Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com

Yoga and Stretching at Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com

 We all know that cycling is the best sport out there, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of good reasons to mix it up with a few others.

In fact, when the weather is cold and the days are long, many cyclist are more apt to consider cross training to maintain fitness while minimizing those cold, bone chilling rides outside.

There are ways that cross training can help you to improve your fitness.  Not only can cross-training flat-out make you a better cyclist through core support and enhanced focus, but it can also help your body in tons of ways cycling can’t—like building up bone density and strengthening underused muscle groups. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, here are two of our favorites. 

Yoga – 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.  The next question – how to get started? Check out our post, Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You? for ideas and inspiration. 

Strength training – For some cyclists, strength training is a welcomed part of the training process; however, for others, it is a necessary evil. Many cyclist wonder if they should train year round?  Answering these questions, the post, Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists  states , “one of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.  For ideas and inspiration on strength training, read our post, Why Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists Matters.  

Bike parts – Hmmm? You might be wondering, how does cross training apply to bike parts? Well, consider doing different types of workouts and rides on different bikes.  Use your road bike for intervals, your mountain bike in the nastier weather and to do drills to improve bike handling, and race your fat bike on the snowy days.  Mixing it up keeps it fresh! So, get started cross training to make 2017 one of your best years yet! 


Cycling Holiday Gifts in Pictures – You Know You Want ‘Em!

December 22, 2016

The holidays can be just plain hectic, and some gifts may fall through the cracks until the very end.  With Christmas Day just a few days away, we thought we would entice you with some last minute cycling gifts. Purchase some as stocking stuffers or buy bike parts and other goodies as gifts to put under the tree.  You can’t go wrong – unless you just don’t get anything!  

Just a few of the many choices for small items that can be used as stocking stuffers. These small items make great gifts for your cyclist friends or family.

Waffles, lube, tires, and bike parts

Cygolite Expilion 720 lumen light! USB rechargeable, water resistant, and 8 different light modes. Come get the perfect light for night riding season.

Peak Cycles is your stop for Colorado gear! These make great stocking stuffers or gifts for the holiday season!

A new road bike! A beautiful shot of a custom S-Works Tarmac. 15.4 lbs of pure speed.

A Giant Anthem Advanced SX 27.5.  What’s not to love?  Carbon frame, carbon wheels, SRAM XO 1×11 drivetrain, SRAM Guide RS brakes, a dropper post, and rockshox suspension. Stop in the store for pricing. 

Here at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we feel that the true Christmas spirit of cycling is the love of the bike.  It’s the adventure cycling brings – the challenge of a new ride, the experimentation with new or different bike parts, the joy of connecting with friends in meaningful ways, and the building of camaraderie with teammates.  

These are all the very blessings we wish for you and your family this holiday season.  Merry Christmas from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and BikeParts.com!


3 Cycling Strategies to Manage Stress During the Holidays 

December 1, 2016

Happy Holidays from BikeParts.comWhile the holiday season brings times of joy and celebration, it is often tainted with juggling holiday parties, kids events, family gatherings, and travel.  While all fun activities, they can contribute to a stressful experience.  As athletes, we all know that there is only an infinite amount of stress the body can handle.  Holiday stresses of staying up too late, eating tempting treats, and overall training fatigue can create a loss of training motivation or just plain not riding.  Not fun, given exercise can aid in reducing stress.  So, what is the balance during the holidays to reduce stress, maintain fitness, and still hit all the holiday parties and complete those endless shopping lists? 

Manage Expectations!  Are your expectations for the holidays realistic? Asking yourself this question is the first step to managing holiday stress. Make a list of what you expect from yourself and your family during the holidays. Hidden within these expectations you might find your potential holiday stressors — the things specific to you that can cause stress.  Once identified, you can then write down what changes you can make to prevent or defuse stress. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado, we get a lot of input from our customers as to common holiday stressors.  Here’s what we’ve got to say to beat the stress and still maintain your fitness.

Stress #1 – Weight gain.  Obviously, increased caloric intake combined with less exercise is going to add a little weight.  A little gain in the off season isn’t so bad; however, you don’t want  a little weight gain to grow into a lot.  So, focus on eating well. The holidays offer irresistible food temptations adding extra pounds to our waste lines and robbing us of precious energy.  Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, opt for nutritious snacks. Eating poorly during the holidays can affect mood and motivation towards training.  Focus on good nutrition and choose your bike nutrition when you need it most- on the bike.  Being mindful of your food choices can positively affect your energy levels and help maintain your ability to ride and perform better.  It will help you feel better about yourself too! 

Stress #2 – Too Many Things to Do.  The holidays can make anyone feel scattered and worn out.  Yet, the flurry of holiday activities makes time precious.  Take the time you need to prioritize your ride schedule.  You may not have time for a lengthy ride, so make the most of the time you do have. Employ the strategy of focus and control. Increase your focus on what you can control.  Let go of things beyond your control.  Think about it and write it down. What can you control? Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.  Regarding your cycling training, you can certainly focus the intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  Using a heart rate monitor or power meter can help. 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.

Stress #3 – Guilt.  Yep, there it is.  As a cyclist, you want to ride. You know you should ride. And yet, you don’t. And, you beat yourself up for not riding.  We’ve all been there.  The strategy for dealing with guilt is just to accept it and move on.  Give yourself a break mentally and physically knowing the holiday season doesn’t last forever.  If you just can’t find the time or motivation to ride during the holiday season, at least feed your velo passion with pictures of new road bikes , new mountain bikes, and cool bike parts.  This will feed your spirit and breathe life into next year’s bike season.  In fact, the post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ 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.”

While the holiday season can be stressful, it doesn’t have to be.  It’s all in your approach. Try your best to make good food choices, exercise, and relax to restore energy.  Balance is key and you’re in control  Happy Holidays!