Have you heard about the Retul bike fit?
I have -- off and on in forums and online advertisements. It looked quite thorough and complex in the photo-essays of various pros getting fit: Wires attached to body parts, computer screens measuring data, and all manner of seat and cleat adjustments.
When I returned from Mexico with a snapped aero bar (duct-taped in place), I immediately purchased a new set of aero bars. The only thing was, this new set of aero bars was totally different than my original ones. The aero pads were Profile not Vision and they sat up much higher than my old ones.
I didn't realize this until a few days later when I raced the Oliver 1/2 iron. My position felt terrible. I felt so out of whack and my lower back was killing me for about 8km of the run when I got off the bike.
After the race, I messed around with my seat post and raised it an inch and it felt better, but still not quite right.
I needed help!
Since I had just purchased a new-to-me bike (a Scott Plasma 3 TT), the time was right for me to take both my Cervelo and my new bike in to get a proper fit. I wanted a PROPER fit.
I had heard about Speed Matrix in Calgary via a friend's facebook post a month earlier....She raved about how amazing her bike fit was. As she was an athlete I respected and trusted, I whipped out Dr. Google and perused the website, and liked what I saw. I contacted Adam from Speed Matrix, and set up an appointment...
My appointment was with Rory -- he is very detail-oriented and thorough. Totally thorough. I have been to places where as the hours tick by (and yes, a proper bike fit can literally take hours), the attention given to your fit starts to wane.
Not so with Rory!! He measured my leg length, my flexibility, watched how I walked, and kept asking me questions about the distances I raced, any issues or pain I experienced, etc. He took all this information into account as he made an initial set-up of my bike.
I climbed on and he watched me pedal and would make more adjustments -- to the seat, aero-bars, cleats, everything. Nothing got past his eye -- one minor adjustment impacts other aspects of your bike fit -- all this he took into account and explained to me in a totally understandable way. For example, moving the seat forward or backward, up or down, affects how you pedal. He would watch me pedal and then make an adjustment and suddenly I was turning perfect circles! (Well not PERFECT, lol, but the movement from clunky-pedalling to smooth stroke by just an adjustment was very impressive. I didn't have to change anything about the way I pedalled, the adjustment made me a more efficient cyclist!)
I really, really appreciated the time he took to explain what to him was basic cycling knowledge and principles. I have been intimidated by asking questions at bike shops before because of that kind of know-it-all attitude undercurrent. Like I am made to feel like an idiot because for years I always unclipped when turning a corner because I was too scared to go around a pylon. Or because I am a "triathlete" I have no bike skills and I don't know cyclist lingo or inside jokes, and I sort of stand there with a red face, laughing in agreement with whatever is said and coming out of the experience awkward and still unknowledgeable...AND feeling like an idiot.
With Rory, he patiently took the time to answer every question I asked -- even when the answer was so simple and obvious. (Most of my questions were, "Why?" lol.) I never owned a bike before I started in triathlon. Well...not true, I had a mountain bike that I rode around town on....but I have never owned a road bike, I don't have all these years of expeience of riding with other people, etc.
A simple cycling concept to other people, is like a frigging revelation to me -- and Rory explained stuff succintly and in a way that I felt empowered....not belittled. :)
OK -- onto the bike fit details!!
Time for the wire thingies!! YAY!!
Rory put these little adhesive velcro circles along one side of my body: on my wrist, my elbow, my hip, my knee, my ankle, my foot. Then, a wire was secured with the other half of the velcro circle. From here, I would start to pedal and the data would be transmitted to the computer. Rory could see and measure so much info -- my right knee was out of whack for example, so another cleat wedge was added and adjustment made.
I was impressed by the fact that the fit was tailored to ME as an individual. Not to some *average standard.* How I sit on the bike, how I pedal, etc. For example, when I rest on the aero pads, I don't rest on my forearms, I rest on my elbows. That is just what I do. So, instead of trying to change ME, Rory changed my SET-UP. How cool is that?
Then, the whole thing was repeated on the other side of my body.
My Cervelo was fit first -- when I got home, I went out for a 2.5 hour ride and it literally "felt like home." That's what I wrote in email back to Rory and Adam. It just felt so good!
The next week, I took in my new-to-me bike to get it fit and the results were awesome as well!!
If you are having any questions or concerns about your own personal bike fit, I totally recommend Speed Matrix in Calgary. And...if you do, make sure you CLEAN your bike very thoroughly before you take it in!!!!
This is important as the bike fitter can focus on bike-fitting (as opposed to getting covered in all your grease and crap, lol) -- and it is the courteous thing to do. One other thing -- getting your bike tuned up is not included in getting your bike fit. I mean, it makes sense after you have been there for 4 hours going over your fit with a fine tooth comb!
Thank you to Adam and Rory for dialing in my bike fit. What a difference a proper fit makes. Thanks guys!!!
Speed Matrix is located in Speed Theory -- one block east of Mountain Equipment Co-op. (735A - 10th Ave SW, Calgary, AB).