Monday, March 10, 2014

Bike Fit Fun & What to expect

Somethings just not quite right...well as right as it can be sitting your ass on an itty bitty saddle for 100's of miles propelled by your own legs, trying to scrunch yourself into an aerodynamic position, typically ending in the same spot you started...

1st bike fit at the top, 2nd bike fit position below - lean mean and aggressive!

And yet I love it.  No wonder people think we are insane.

I messed with it. I had a bike fit done when I first bought Stiletto, and the plan was to get the initial fit done and then there is the option to come back afterwards to make adjustments after riding for a while to dial it in.  At least there should be with a good fitter fitterist fitologist (that just makes me think mixologist, and then I want a margarita).  The first fit was great on the front end, but the seat was a lot farther back than I was used to, since last year I was riding a bike that was too big and had to slam the seat forward.  That resulted on my calves having to take up a lot of the work, and by the time I got to running off the bike they had nothing left.

Unfortunately my truck died, I know shocking that an '87 Toyota pick up, with a bench bolted in the bed, that I got for like $800 died, I mean it should have been the picture of reliability :p  So with the shop being 50 miles away in Boulder and winter outside couldn't get back up there.

So I fiddled.  I tweaked.  Move this thingymagiggy (technical term), and my knee aches, move this whatchamacalit and my quads feel like bricks, don't even get me started on what happened when I adjusted the angle of the doodad.

I got it to a place where it felt ok on the trainer, but when I finally got to venture outside it just didn't feel right and running off the bike felt blah.  So I finally decided it was time to go back to the fitologist and get dialed in.  I had great experience with a Retul fit in Scotland and found a shop in Boulder - Colorado Multisport being fit by Ryan Ignatz - that used the same system so I went back to them.  (not sponsored by them or anything just a great experience)

Here is the bizarre part about living here, you can't spit without hitting a professional athlete.  I found out on a ride the next day my bike fitter is a pretty bad ass Pro Xterra Triathlete.  No wonder he seemed to know a little about this sport.

So what to expect from a bike fit:

First is the questionnaire.  Why are you here, what's wrong, your goals and the latest triathlon gossip.

After the gossip they make you do some calisthenics, see if you can touch your toes (I can't), hip flexibility tests, and some strength tests like single leg squats (yay didn't fall over).

Following your calisthenics session, they will have you hop on the bike and start pedalling.  If pedalling has ever felt natural or comfortable, wait until you have someone watching each stroke.  Suddenly you wonder what you are doing, thinking should I be pedalling in a circle?  Or more like a box? Have I always wobbled my knees?

The fitologist will then stand looking very intensely at your bike, with a furrowed brow like they are figuring out the ultimate question to the answer of 42 (and if you got that you are a geek :p).

Once they have solved the questions of the universe they will proceed to move many whosits and whatsits by millimetres.  Occasionally asking you to jump back on and get into a comfortable position and pedal, hum and haw and then continue their adjustments.  If you find a fitologist that is great at multitasking the triathlon gossip and tips will continue through this process keeping you entertained.

And then THE question comes up.  How aggressive can we go.  I let him know what my goals were and since I'm looking to use my bike to get me on podiums we decided to play around and see how low can I go (no not doing the limbo...although that would be fun if the shop busted out with coconut bras, steel drums and a limbo bar) and still run well off the bike.  Last fit I had some homework to do on hip flexibility and strengthen my gluteus med so that this position could be achieved.  Ended up moving the front end down an inch (or 2.5cm) and moving my bars/pads/seat forward.

Bike fitters have a tough job of making you aggressive but comfortable enough that you will be able to put in the miles, and as A type people most of us triathletes just say go lower, go lower.  They have to evaluate what we will actually be able to ride based on body type, flexibility, experience, history.  I've had some push back in the past because, yea, I've owned a bike less than 2 years and don't have much experience, but the bike has ended up being my strength and I'm pretty sure the years riding a super sport motorcycle should count for experience :p  Luckily Ryan took it all in and evaluated strength/flexibility and said, yea we can go aggressive.

Ok adjustments made, got a good workout in jumping on and off the bike and spent some quality time drooling over equipment in the shop I want.  Time to hop on to do the last test to see how the position feels.

Now I don't want to be dramatic or anything but when I started pedalling and settled into the new position it felt like magic, like I could go out and give Rinny a run for her money ;) (Its possible...if I didn't have to swim or run...and had a big head start on the bike).

Next up the pedalling analysis.  "You're doing it wrong" Ok he didn't really say that in so many words but he had some ways to improve my running off the bike and suggested some of the issues I was having wasn't the bike.  Now you think how many ways can you adjust moving your foot around in a circle when its fixed to the pedal??  A lot apparently, I have a tendency to point my toe down and give up the power house that is my gluteus (never thought of my ass as a power house), putting more stress on smaller muscles that fatigue quicker.  So homework after this visit, use my gluteus.  I also got a laundry list of things to think about on the bike and pay attention to, and what requires another visit if it feels off.

New position I've never ridden in and it feels more comfortable than the position I've been riding for months, I think this visit was a success.  BUT the real test comes when I get outside and put some power to the pedals and then see how the legs feel off the bike.

What better way to test than a long ride and hard brick, stay tuned for the results!

Carpe Diem

No comments:

Post a Comment