Tuesday, January 20, 2015

RETUL Bike Fit

I have had my bike for 3 years now and have never had a decent bike fit.  When I got it initially, the guy at the shop watched me on a trainer for about 15 minutes and said, "Looks good".  That was it.

I, being new to cycling at the time, had no idea what to really expect or know what a bike fit really was.  Now fast forward 3 years, and entering my 4th triathlon season and IMTX training, and I figured it was about time to get one done.  The main motivator for this is the ongoing pain I have in my right shoulder from riding for long periods of time.  I also am constantly shifting my position on the bike - either in the saddle or my hand position.  I can never stay in one position for a long time and be really comfortable. 

I have also upgraded and changed a ton to my bike over the past 3 years.  I changed the saddle, raised/lowered the seat post, added two different sets of aerobars, etc.  All things that effect fit.  So, yeah, about time I get that all checked out.  Also, I want to make sure that I am riding in the most efficient and comfortable way possible.

Enter the RETUL bike fit.  I decided to go with this over Biker's Edge's regular fit because I just wanted to the best I could get.  Kinda an all or nothing kind of approach (I am really good at that:) I walk in and meet with Adam, who will do the fit.  He tells me to plan on a couple of hours (it actually took 3.5).  He does a physical assessment, looking at how I walk, do push ups, how long I can hold a plank, do squats etc.  All of this is to assess any muscle imbalances, core strength or lack thereof, and how all of this could effect cycling and/or position.  He then gets me on my bike, puts several electrodes on and watches me ride with cameras and in real time on the screen with the system taking measurements, detecting imbalances etc, then you go through an exhaustive amount of adjustments to get the numbers to not be red on his screen.  If they show up as red, there is an imbalance and more adjusting is needed.  Talk about thorough!

Long story short, we moved the seat WAY up, both height wise and moved the saddle forward, all in an attempt to make it as triathlon friendly as possible on my road bike.  We also adjusted the cleat position on my cycling shoes.  We adjusted the aerobar length.  By the time he was done, it felt like a completely different bike, but in a good way.  By the end of the fit, I was generating more power on the bike without any additional effort from when I came in.  Pretty sweet!  I am excited to see how this all translates over to performance on the road.  We tried to find that fine balance of making it a great and aggressive triathlon fit, but also still suitable for road biking as well, like on riding such as climbing or what I did in the Triple Bypass.  With out having a separate tri bike, this was the next best option. 

So, I am extremely impressed.  I am excited to see how this translates into performance and overall comfort.  I think that it will help my shoulder situation, he could see how some imbalances on my right side could be leading to some compensating on that side and leading to the pain.  He recommended some position advice as well as some exercised to help with that, but at least now I know what the issue is.  The fit should also help with that.  Thank heaven!  These long rides are only getting longer and I can't deal with the pain I have in the past!

The training seems to be steadily ramping up and it is getting more and more real.  Gulp.  I am right now enjoying a recovery week, still training but dialed back some.  It's a nice mental break!

Happy Training/Racing all!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I had a bike fit on my road bike turned tri bike this fall and it made a difference, but it was more of an old school fit. I just bought a used tri bike earlier this week and am debating whether to bring it back to him or to go to one of the fancy computer assisted fit places in our area. I've been told that a good old school fitting (eye balls and measuring angles by hand) works just as well if the fitter knows what he's doing and he came highly recommended, so I'll probably go that route as it's about a third of the price (team discount).