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! 

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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!


The Secret Sauce to Making Fitness Gains in the Off Season 

November 12, 2015

Gone are the epic rides of summer only to be replaced with cooler temperatures, shorter days, and less time on the bike.  Aside from cyclocross, the 2015 cycling season is over, but, this part of the cycling season may just be the most important season of them all.  It’s the off-season.  It is dream season!  Now, is the time to leverage the off season for bigger gains in 2016.  In fact, there’s a saying in the cycling world, “the off season is where you can make the greatest gains” and at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we couldn’t agree more. 

There are tried and true methods for training during the off season. Many of which focus on the psychical aspect of training with specific cycling workouts in combination with other forms of exercise including yoga, running, and weight lifting.  But what about the mental aspect of training? Mental fatigue accumulates through the cycling season just as much as physical fatigue.  A key element in off season gains is mental pause, reflection, and planning.  

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.  In doing so, as a cyclist, it offers you time to pause and reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and make improvements to the upcoming year.  Armed with this insight, you’re better prepared to make better training choices now that lead to better performance in 2016.  

With that being said, what is the secret sauce to making fitness gains in the off season?  To make those gains, check out the posts, Making the Most of Your Off-Season and 10 Off Season Training Tips for Mountain Bikers to take advantage of the off-season period.  You might also enjoy reading Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains.  Using technology to track and build fitness can add an extra level of motivation as you benchmark progress.

All in all, making the most of fall season training is about keeping it fresh, trying something new, and also, targeting some fitness goals. The off season can be a great opportunity to get new bike parts.  During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the off season, there’s more time for mental wanderings and fun! Check out our daily closeouts and overstock items to spark renewed interest in your off season cycling program.


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.


Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You?

January 30, 2014

shutterstock_139589627Cycling has many healthful benefits.  Yet, it’s not a complete exercise in itself.  Meaning,  regular stretching is needed to lengthen and stretch the muscles to keep them optimum for prolonged riding.  Have you ever wondered if yoga is for you?  According to the post, Yoga for Cyclist, cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength.

You might wonder why to do yoga over a quick stretch here or there? Where yoga excels over the usual stretch-it-out routine is thoroughness. A simple yoga routine can warm up, strengthen and stretch all the major muscles groups before you’ve even started targeting anything specific.

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?  Consider first where you are in your training and racing season.  In the offseason yoga can be used as a workout to build strength, whereas during the peak season it should be used as a recovery tool.

Next, if you are new to yoga, you may want to experiment with different types of yoga to see which works best for you. Yoga offers many varieties and styles from the slow pace of Hatha yoga, to the fast vigorous pace of Ashtanga yoga. All styles can be beneficial but the most applicable for cyclists are styles that focus on continuous movement. Styles such as Ashtanga, Power, and Kundalini are steady flowing, work through a full range of movements and build great muscle endurance.

Another option to consider is whether or not you want to take a class, opt for an online course, or just follow along with pictures in a blog post like this one.  There are tons of videos available to purchase too.

Many cyclist struggle with having enough time to ride their road bike  much less make time for yoga.  Yet, online yoga classrooms are starting to cater specifically to the athlete-turned-yogi making it easier to fit yoga into the day. One in particular, YogaGlo, has an entire section dedicated to yoga for cyclists with classes ranging from 5 minutes up to a full 60 minute class and targeting everything from shortening recovery time to supporting your knees. They also offer a 15-day free trial for new members, so you’ve nothing to lose.  A nice option considering you can check the program out without compromising the purchase of upcoming bike parts  for the new season.

Some other great yoga resources include:

  • My Yoga Online – yoga video classes offering a huge range of styles and classes for working specific areas or issues.
  • Yoga Journal – online yoga magazine with a comprehensive index of yoga poses, including correct alignment, how to safely perform the pose and benefits.
  • Google – find out where your nearest yoga studio is, and get signed up!

If you are a cyclist and haven’t started doing yoga than what are you waiting for? Yoga could just be the missing piece in your daily routine.