Going on two months from the onset of my injury, I'm finally turning the corner from 'rehab' to 'training'. I've stopped waking up in pain and have been able to make it through a few pretty good workouts pain free. My goal to get back to the start line by the Giant Eagle 5150 race is looking realistic and with a little luck I'll be able to be in top form by Rev3 Cedar Point in September.
Over a month ago, I approached Dave Luscan with Central Virginia Endurance (CVE) about doing a bike fit. Since it's generally agreed that my position created some (or all) of my injury, I wanted to get it taken care of ASAP. Dave took a look at me quickly but told me to come back when I was able to ride pain free and at a decent intensity. Last week, I was comfortable enough to give it another try and here is how it went:
I've never had a bike fit from scratch and have always done moderately well on the bike simply based on my aerobic fitness and ability to endure pain. Over the years, I've ridden many different bike brands and geometries, but have never stopped to ask what was optimal. Here are a few shots of me over the years:
As a pro, I've always been asked "does it feel good?" and expected to know what I wanted. In reality, I have no idea what is good/bad/ugly. The nuances of riding and positioning have always been brushed over since I'm able to ride decently well. I've had different fitters set me up the way they thought I should be, but Dave was the first one to take the time to understand what worked for me and how I could optimize my riding position.
Going in, I thought for sure I'd want to ride steep (seat forward, aerobars down) since that's the "most aero" and the way my Cervelo was designed to be ridden. We looked at my position on the bike then started working with the "fit" bike starting in the slack position (seat back, bars up) and moving forward. The idea was to start where we expected not to be and hone in on where I was best suited.
I was shocked how comfortable I felt in the slack position as we dialed in the drop (height of the front end). We found the most comfortable bar position and I was feeling good... Couldn't wait to see how good it would feel riding steep!!! Well, as we moved the seat forward around the crank toward the steeper position, I felt less and less powerful. By the time we reached the 80 degree seat angle that I came in with, there was no contest! We settled on the slack position and dialed in crank length and aero bar height. Throughout the entire process, we were constantly discussing how I ride, why we were making changes, and what could make me more powerful/faster. In the end we found I don't gain any position advantage from shorter cranks and if I go too low with my bars I close off my hips and lose power... Two current hot trends that don't apply to me!
Once everything was finalized, Dave moved the measurements back to the Cervelo and I was ready to go. The whole process took close to three hours and addressed almost every aspect of my fit. Here is the worksheet we used to record measurements along the way:
Once in the new position, we noticed two things: 1. my bike was too long for me and just barely tall enough for me with a bunch of spacers and an upturned stem. 2. A different aero helmet would make the position a bit cleaner and hopefully 'faster'. Both of these realizations have me heading to 3Sports to spend money that I don't really have! I've got a Specialized Shiv frame on order already and will be picking up a new helmet (Dave's pictured below) before toeing the start line. Here is a shot of me in the new position with the new helmet. Note the flat back, smooth helmet interaction, and how far off the pads my elbows have to be in order to be comfortable...
Although I'm a bit disappointed that my P3 doesn't quite fit me (we could make it work, but the pads for the bars would be behind the steerer tube making it a bit unstable), I'm very pleased with my experience with the fit. I brought in pictures and our thinking to my PT and there was complete consensus that the changes are positive and will only help me get back to health and speed as soon as possible. I definitely recommend a good bike fit to anyone serious about riding fast and staying out of the PT office! If you're in Richmond, a trip to CVE should be at the top of your to-do list!
I'll be updating here again soon as I get back into the swing of training. If all goes well, I'll have my first 'normal' training week next week. Wish me luck!