Monday, March 5, 2012

Fit


I've been riding my time-trial bike in the same position for almost two years. Over that time I've grown stronger, more flexible, and adapted to life on aerobars. After so many months and so much improvement throughout, I figured it was time to consider some improvements to my position ahead of Ironman Switzerland.

There are many highly-touted fit gurus in the Bay Area and I've actually seen several. But this time around, one came much more highly recommended than all the others - and that's why I spent just under four hours on Saturday taking a look at my Cervelo P3 with Andrew Weber from bikefit.com.

Andrew runs a mobile operation, so he came to me. We set my bike up on his trainer, flipped on some lasers and wrapped some tracking bands around my upper calves. Before I even got onto the bike, he said, "Wow, something's going on with your left hip." I asked him how he could see that, and he said, "Your bike's telling me the story." After some inspection and some explanation, I noticed that my saddle is kind of squeezed down on the left side -- something's definitely up there!

Before we got onto the bike, though, we went to work on my shoes - cleats, pedals, etc. - by first looking at my feet. Apparently my feet have a lot of varus/valgus - they naturally want to tilt a certain way - so we started shimming my shoes to account for that natural angle. Then we looked at functional leg length. Then we looked at shims a bit more. We played around with a lot of options, always double-checking on the bike to see if my knees tracked any better, or to see if I was sitting in the center of the saddle. Andrew was quite thorough -- and quite persistent -- in his quest for the perfect balance of comfort and straight knee-tracking.

After we found pedal-related the sweet-spot, we started looking at saddles, saddle height saddle fore/aft, and then bar height and customization. Andrew was super thorough here, too, and before we wrapped up, almost over three and a half hours had passed. The fit is very comfortable - and very different - so I figure it's going to take me some time to get used to it. But even so, I learned so much from those hours with Andrew - much more than I have with any other fit specialist!

Last night, I started doing some analysis to compare my watts and heart rate on the shorter cranks, with and without the new bike fit. I'm trying to refine that and make it somewhat digestible; I'll see if I can get it up here somewhere in the next few days!