Before every ride, in addition to checking your tires, "bounce" your bike. Hold it and inch or two off the ground and let it bounce on both tires listening to the sound it makes. In short order you'll recognize the tone it's supposed to emit. If anything's awry, the pitch will be different leading you to investigate why. Is something loose? Might save you from a crash one day.
In just about every triathlon, the greatest time is spent on the bike. Athletes have known for years that small improvements on two wheels can lead to big dividends down the road. One of our local athletes has been in triathlon a long time. Long enough to have had some significant cycling related pain and dysfunction. Pain on the bike has, intermittently even kept him from training/racing for periods of time. He's had several bike fits over the years by some of the best in the business. His first was with Maryland based Troy Jacobson, then the Official Ironman Coach, and also the driving force behind the Spinervals workout series that's so popular. Some years later he was fit by Lance Armstrong's aerodynamic and fit guru from Texas, John Cobb. Cobb is a savvy guy, has done thousands of fits, and has such an incredible wealth of experience that he can help just about anyone. (See previous blog 2/21/10.)
Finally, he flew from the East Coast to Boulder, CO to the offices of Dr. Andy Pruitt, author of Andy Pruitt's Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists. If you don't have this book it's not expensive and can be a ready reference to any cyclist with a bike related physical problem. Dr. Pruitt and chief technologist Todd Carver were among the first using infrared technology in developing what would ultimately become the Retul Fit System.
While all of these were helpful in their own way, sometimes we just have to wait for technology to catch up. This is where Cyclologic of Scottsdale, AZ comes in. Rather than bike fit by traditional means, they employ extensive software tools, sensors and computer modeling to achieve the next generation of bike fits.
Massive amounts of data are obtained and displayed on two large computer screens during the fitting. The athlete has an active role in this process. Of particular interest to many is the saddle sensor which displays dynamic saddle pressures in real time while the athlete is pedaling. This allows changes in saddle position, the entire saddle itself, foot/ shoe position and monitoring the angular nature of the pedal stroke as changes are made. Owner Paraic McGlynn will tell you that Cyclologic is a Cycling Analysis Solution companythat employs the above technology to give each athlete the fit that's right for them. He has enough experience that when the hopeful biker wants to look "just like Pete Jacobs," Paraic doesn't buy it. He and the athlete work through the various factors of positioning and power output to maximize this specific athletes time in
In short, although this approach isn't for everyone, for our local athlete who'd tried the standard course of fittings, this proved to be just what the doctor ordered.
Thanks to Cyclologic and Paraic McGlynn for their contributions to this piece.