Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Bike fit

So I had been tossing the idea of getting re-fitted to my bike for quite a while. I've been getting a lot of hotspots, saddle sores, and shoulder tightness. The last time I was fit to the bike was 3 years ago when I bought the bike. I was about 60 pounds heavier and riding at 17mph.

What finally made the decision for me was a couple comments on slowtwitch. I was asking about pacing on hilly vs flat courses last week and someone mentioned my fit being poor due to slower speeds compared to my wattage output. I posted a picture and everyone thought my head was way to high and that I resembled a barn door. So i bit the bullet and went to John at the Bike Dr.

Prior to Racine I made a couple changes to my cockpit. I don't really know if they helped or not, but I know they were not the most comfortable. However my speed at Racine was fairly close to my speed at Pleasant Praire despite a 40+ watt difference. So I suspect I did something right by bringing my arms closer and tilting my bars least for the short term.

Anyway, after meeting with John we made a lot of changes. He took measurements of my flexibility and range of motion and did the following:
  • Brought the seat up almost a cm.
  • Moved seat forward a couple cm.
  • Added small riser under stem to bring it up a notch.
  • Leveled aero bars.
  • Moved aero pads back and out a hair.
  • Tilted base bar upward.
  • Moved cleats on shoes back and center.

None of these changes were horribly significant on their own, but the effect overall should be pretty dramatic. And it will take some time to get used to this. The overall impact is this.

  • By raising my seat and moving it forward I should be able to generate more power while aero. So in this case, instead of losing power by becoming more aero, this may help me at least maintain current power or possibly increase my power a bit.
  • By moving my base bar, aero bars and pads I am now a little more stretched out on the bike, thus flatter and lower. My back is straighter. My shoulders and neck are much more relaxed as my elbows are now sitting on the pads properly. This should help me be both more aero and more relaxed and comfortable. My aero helmet fits to my back much better with this new position.
  • Because we raised my seat he raised my stem just a hair to match. This keeps my hips within their functional flexibility helping me maintain power. Apparently I am about as low as my flexibility will allow without losing power.
  • By changing my cleat position I don't feel discomfort in my toes any more. It should also help me apply more power without losing any due to poor pedal placement.
  • I've noticed that even with the aero bars level instead of tilted up, my head and shoulders are about as close as they were. So I am as aerodynamic if not moreso as compared to the changes I made for Racine, and I should be better able to maintain higher wattages. However that may take some getting used to.

After the fitting John had me do a .5 mile time trial. I believe it took me 1:08. My wattage was up in the 400's. However I was tired from racine and have never been a sprinter. Now that I am not sore and have ridden a couple times I plan to do it again tonight after I am warmed up. I want to make sure I have a real baseline from before I've gotten used to this fit.

I do have Tri-ing for Children's coming on Sunday. That will provde me with good testing grounds as well. Hopefully the new position does not cause any major discomfort or problems during the race. It is typically not wise to make changes like this prior to racing, but the race is short and I won't be resting for it anyway. We'll see.

I have a few goals:

  • I'm starting in the elite wave so I want to be with the lead pack of swimmers. There is no doubt that with my pool times I should be out of the water with Scott Bowe. No slacking.
  • Lets give the swim an even 19 minutes.
  • On the bike I want to try and hit 300 watts. I've done 2 Oly races with an increase in power at each, I'd like to continue that trend. 300 watts should put me right on the edge of 24mph in good conditions. This puts me under a 1:03.
  • We'll give the bike a flat 1:03.00
  • T1 = 1:30; T2 = 1:00
  • On the run I want to break 7min/mile. It is a milestone for me and I know I can do it. I did 7:10's at Pleasant Prairie after spraining my knee and had very little motivation to push after that. Here I really want to do it. so for the run we'll call it a 43:00.
  • That gives me a final time of roughly 2:07. That's a 9 minute improvement from last season and would have placed me 14th overall at a very competitive race.

I'd also add that my buddy Brian may be at this race. If he is I suspect it will take this kind of race to beat him. I beat him by 7 seconds at Elkhart Lake and I know he's looking for a little payback. He'll more than likely beat me by 3-4 minutes on the run, so I will need to take that out of him in the swim, bike, and transitions. If I hit these splits, I should do exactly that. Either way it should be a good time.

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