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. 


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.

3 Essential Cycling Training Tips for Winter Training

October 26, 2017

Cycling Apparel at BikeParts.com for Winter Riding

Cold, winter weather is right around the corner.  While we are just getting a taste of the cooler temps, not too long from now we’ll be bundled up wondering where the sunshine and dry roads and trails have gone.  The trick to riding through the Winter months is to prepare now. Preparation gets you in the habit before the weather turns poor. Here are our tips how to make the most of it.

#1 Trainer
Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle- specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding.  Ugh. Is there a way to make it work?  Yes!  It’s important to have the right trainer setup. 

When we’re talking about setup, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want 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  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency. 

#2 Build Your Core
Most everyone agrees that
building a stronger core helps you improve your performance on the bike.  Moving into the cooler months, it is easier to cross train and focus on developing core strength.  But what exercises are best for more core strength?

The best way to train all parts of the body is through working with a full range of motion while strength training. A bench press, for example, will only work your arms and shoulders through a fixed range of motion. A great way to gain core strength and work full range of motion with many repetitions and longer durations is through practices that primarily use body weight such as yoga and pilates, for example. Ashtanga and power yoga are styles of yoga that are faster flowing, continuous, and challenging. Yoga is hands down one of the best way to work for aerobic strength gains throughout the entire body. Not only do you focus on many repetitions such as with pushups, squats, and lunges, you work each joint in a full range of motion while doing so, which focuses on core endurance, stability, and flexibility.

In a nutshell, a core group of muscles that fatigues less will allow you to work with increased power ranges for a longer period of time while riding a road bike or mountain bike. With more range of motion, increased flexibility, and a stronger core, you will not only feel better before, during and after each workout, you will be slightly more productive as well.

#3 Dial in Your Cycling Apparel
You don’t want to miss riding outdoors all together.  So, it’s important to dial in your cycling apparel for the type of riding you will be doing.  Specifically, when you are riding, you want to balance your warmth and comfort with the intensity of your bike ride. If you are really bundled up when you start riding, you will likely want to start shedding layers. It may feel good to sweat in 25 degree weather, but you want clothes that are both breathable, wind-stopping, and sometimes waterproof. You also want to evaluate the type of ride you are doing? Is this a training ride? Will you be working really hard? Or are you just going to work? 

With all that in mind, get clear on the type of cycling apparel you have in your existing wardrobe and identify the clothing you need purchase to enable you to ride in a variety of weather conditions.  Be mindful of having waterproof and wind resistant clothing.  Check do see if you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scull cap? What about your base layers?  Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing?  Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs! In fact, we’ve got quite a lot of new cycling clothing in store right now.

When you think about it, it’s easy to embrace winter riding when you are warm and toasty. So prepare now. Get your trainer setup ready – make plans to cross train and build your core – and figure out your cycling apparel needs to avoid a clothing crisis on a Winter bike ride. 


Tips to Riding the Tour de Vineyards 

September 14, 2017

Kicking off the fall riding season is the Tour de Vineyards.  

The Tour de Vineyards offers recreational and competitive cyclists alike the opportunity to cycle by beautiful and lush vineyards, enjoy foods and beverages authentic to the region, all while being treated to some of Colorado’s finest western slope hospitality.   How do you make the most of it? First, online registration is closed but the day of the event you can register for either the 23 mile or 58 mile event. 

To make sure you enjoy the event and also ride your best, there are a few ways to prepare.  As we’ve mentioned before in older posts, you’ll want to remember these important tips: 

  • Prepare your bike in advance. Give your road bike a once over. Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. 
  • Know the course and aid stations. 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. 
  • Consider taking a rain jacket and extra chain lube in your jersey pocket or seat bag. 
  • Lay everything out the night before. This includes your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.
  • Go easy at the start and ease into the ride. It’s tempting to go too fast at the start, but holding back some energy will allow you to finsih feeling strong. 
  • Recover smart! At the completion of your ride, be mindful to cool down appropriately. Spin your legs out and get your heart rate down. Consider wearing compression garments or using a nutritional aid to accelerate the recover process.  After all, the fast you recover, the faster you can ride your bike again! 

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a lot of suggestions and advice on making the most of your ride.  Stop in the shop to pick up the bike parts you need to have the best Tour de Vineyards ride. In face, our online store, Bikeparts.com, has lots of different types of nutritional supplements, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel all in one place to help you make the most of your riding.  So, enjoy the ride and the scenery!  The Tour do Vineyards is exceptional in that you get to usher in the fall with a scenic and leisurely tour of Colorado’s Wine Country. Take in the beauty of the Western Slope, explore the wineries, vineyards, orchards and mesas. 


Labor Day – 20 Labor of Love Bike Rides 

August 31, 2017

Happy Labor Day from Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com

Ah, Labor Day! Time off from work. Time to kick back, enjoy time with friends and family.  Time to really have fun on the bike!  Earlier in the season, the focus is on improving fitness or achieving goals.  Now is the time to enjoy the gains of all your hard work. 

With fitness levels high, late season rides offer a chance to experiment with ride routes, different bikes, and even different cycling accessories. Without the pressure of training or getting into shape, the freedom of late season riding brings a fresh approach and a relaxed casual ride attitude.  So, why not have an adventurous Labor Day? Following are our top 20 Front Range bike rides to celebrate Labor Day on your bike. 

  1. Historic Lariat Loop
  2. Deer Creek Canyon
  3. Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to Guanella Pass
  4. Red Rocks Park Loop
  5. Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to St. Mary’s Glacier (Alice)
  6. Idaho Springs to Loveland Pass
  7. Golden to Cold Springs Campground via Golden Gate Canyon
  8. Bergen Park to Echo Lake
  9. Idaho Springs to Juniper Pass
  10. Manitou Springs to Pike Peak Summit Parking Lot (Pikes Peak Hill Climb)
  11. Morgul-Bismark Route
  12. Jamestown Canyon Ride
  13. Flagstaff Hill Climb
  14. NCAR Hill Climb
  15. Lookout Mountain Hill Climb
  16. Sunshine Hill Climb
  17. Magnolia Hill Climb
  18. Mt. Evans Hill Climb
  19. Pikes Peak
  20. Trail Ridge Road

As a reminder, 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. Stop by our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to pick up the cycling accessories you’ll need for your Labor Day ride adventures or visit us online at BikeParts.com.  Happy Labor Day friends! 


Late Season Rally – Tips to Maintain Your Fitness and Motivation

August 10, 2017

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing in Colorado

With school starting and only about a month and half left of the Colorado cycling racing and touring season, many are filling up their calendars with the last big events of the season hoping to capitalize on the fitness gains made during the season.

Some of the popular Colorado races and tours on tap for August include:

Yet, as we transition from summer to fall, many cyclist find their enthusiasm for riding dwindling.  Have you noticed that at the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers and cyclist. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation just plain lacking.  With that in mind, what are the ways to maintain motivation while also capture added gains towards next year’s goals? 

The key to late season racing and bike events is really to have fun! Try new events, ride routes, and races. Now is the time to enjoy the gains of your hard work.  With fitness levels high, late season bike events offer a chance to experiment with race strategies and new cycling accessories. Venture out of your comfort zone and try racing a new road bike or mountain bike for one of the events mentioned above.

If experimentation isn’t your thing, then at least replace worn out bike parts or catch deals on bike close outsbike parts and components. Stock up on cycling apparel for the fall and winter months to keep motivation high through the transitioning season.

Or, maybe training is too grueling for you this time of year. Switch from training to riding to work.  Bike commuting helps get in the miles while offering up time for other fun activities. Other fun activities include strength training and yoga.  Both of these activities help to extend the fitness gains you’ve made through the current year.

Another option for fun is adding in some skill training. During peak training periods, bike skills and technique is often overlooked.  Why not spend some time improving your bike skills? The video: Five key skills to improve your bike handling offers great visuals and the post, Body Position on the MTB, dials in where you need to be on the bike to ride your best.  Experimenting late season avoids the risk of injury during peak races but also can offer a new challenge – like learning how to do a track stand.

Enjoy the fitness gains you have made through the season. Have fun!  Having a fun, relaxed attitude combined with a celebratory bike event is a great way to finish your season.


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.

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.  

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.