bg FIT system by Specialized, and I've used them in the past so I knew that I would get a quality fitting done, and they'd be able to dial in the bike so that it would fit me just right. At 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, I took my bike over to the shop and met with Charles, who would be doing the fitting for me. We started with some general discussion around the type/ distance that I would be riding. After that we spent several minutes looking at different aspects of my posture, flexibility, etc. Charles explained that having an understanding of these things would help as we began making adjustments to my bike. For example, for a tall guy, I'm okay at bending forward and touching my toes, but most of the flexibility is in my lower back, I lack a fair amount of flexibility in my hamstring muscles. Therefore, it's important that the bike is adjusted so that I'm not super extended on the lower end of the pedal rotation as that can cause more strain on my hamstrings and negatively impact my riding over a longer period of time. Understanding these aspects of posture and flexibility was extremely helpful and Charles was also able to suggest some different stretches that I could do to help with areas where I demonstrated less flexibility.
|A stretchy-stretch for sure!|
1) Get on the bike
2) Ride for a bit
3) Stop and measure
4) Get off the bike
5) Wait while adjustments are made
6) Go back to step 1
There were a number of adjustments that had to be done to the bike in order to get a decent fit. For starters, the height of the seat, its angle, and its position forward had to be adjusted. When I initially got on the bike the nose was pointed quite a ways downward, and as a result, I kept slipping forward which put a tremendous amount of pressure on my arms. I was literally pushing myself back up onto the seat. Not good. Once this was leveled out, the bike immediately became much more comfortable, and easier to ride. Moving the seat back and adjusting the height took a little more work, but with each adjustment, the bike became more comfortable to ride. This process probably took close to an hour to complete.
|A bit blurry but you get the idea.|
|A little more forward, arms at a more horizontal level, head slightly lower|
The second thing I noticed was how different the ride felt. My roadie is an aluminum frame, and most bumps and creases in the road are telegraphed directly to the butt on the seat and the hands on the handlebars. No subtlety whatsoever. The dampening effect of the carbon made these bumps much less jarring. I still knew there were there, but it was a decidedly less bumpy experience. I imagine there will be a great benefit to this over longer rides in terms of feeling less battered from all of the "textures" in the road. I also noticed that I was a fair bit faster on this bike. People often talk about the 1 to 2 mph advantage that you get from a triathlon bike, and that was certainly the case for me. Given my excitement about this first ride, I know that I may have been pushing a bit harder today, but I don't think that's attributable only to my enthusiasm for my new ride. I covered the 34.1 miles out and back with an average pace of 20.1 mph. Not exactly screaming, but there was a pretty good headwind on the return trip. Compare that to a couple of weeks ago when I rode a similar distance (33 miles) and averaged about 17.4 mph. That ride had a similar headwind to today.
|Data from a May 18th ride|
|Data from June 2nd|