Monday 19 March 2012

Bike fitting

A few days ago I went to Calgary to get a bike fit at the Speed Matrix. Adam Redmond, the owner, is fitting bikes to his clients using the Retül Fit Technology. I met Adam in October 2010 in Kona. Actually, we shared the same room in a hostel and it was pretty funny when we found out that he is from Calgary. Anyway, after a first examination of my body (femur length, flexibility, etc.). I eventually got hooked up with sensors on my joints (wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle and foot) and started cycling. Any possible angle was measured and his first comment was "We'll get you faster!" It turned out that my fit was not optimal to allow for a consistent long-term power output. In other words my seat was too high and my aerobars were to low. This was not surprising to me as I did this adjustment myself. I wanted to have a very aerodynamic fit and thought I can deal with the discomfort. After Adam did a few changes, I was still super aerodynamic and now it also feels really good being in aero position. I was really happy about this first result.
Then, he also found that my vertical leg movement was a bit off (looking almost like a "V" from behind and not straight like an "H"). He inserted a super thin plastic wedge between cleat and shoe that helped to transform the "V" shape into a more optimal "H" shape (note: these terms are entirely made up by myself and are merely used to better describe what happened during the fit). This was the second adjustment he made and I can't wait to start racing now with the new bike fit.

My conclusion:
In general, all adjustments were very minimal and carefully made. Tiny adjustments may have an enormous effect when one sums up the pedal strokes made in a 5 hours bike ride (~ 90 rpm * 300 min = 27,000 pedal strokes on each side!). Being able to detect differences of a degree is a really powerful way of probing out the optimal cycling position given body type and race distance.
After this session with Adam, I am sure that I got quite a bit closer of reaching my cycling goal time of 4:45-4:50 hours in Kona this year.

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