Friday, March 6, 2009

Professional Bike Fitting

Well, as you know, if you have been reading, my Orthapedic doctor recommended a rather pricey bike fitting to resolve my knee issue. I went to said bike fitting Wednesday night. The gentleman doing the fitting has helped several of the faster guys in the Arizona Randonneuring mob in the past and so I had high hopes. I arrived pretty late but in all fairness the traffic was terrible and I had to stop by the bank. I got my bike and stuff out and changed into my duds and we chatted while he hooked my bike into all of his equipment. His equipment was pretty cool to say the least. It was a trainer, but not just any trainer he was hooking my bike into, no this one measured cadence, speed, watts, you name it. After hooking it up he went over my bike and took measurements and then he had me hop on the bike and warm up.

While warming up I noticed there was a video of a rather dashing and muscular cyclist on the TV, who's legs happened to be going at the same time mine were! Ok, maybe he wasn't quite so dashing but it was cool to see my leg muscles bulging and working as I rode. He had my working to keep up with the computer pacer and I rode for a good 10-15 minutes while he captured video and statistics and observed my riding style.

The bottom like from all this, and I hadn't noticed all the figures mounting up as I rode, was I was wasting 25% of my energy. That's huge. I was buring 170 watts when my more efficient computer counterpart was only burning 140 theoretical watts for the same amount of effort. Needless to say I have a lot of room for improvement. But that is a good thing. I can gain several mph just by becoming more efficient on the bike.

After the assesment he made a list of items I would need to purchase to make my bike fit better. First I need new pedals, then shoes, a seatpost that adjusts more, a stem and handlebars. All in all I got off fairly easy. At least I don't need a new frame. My next step after getting the shoes and seatpost is to go in for my second appointment which is the pedal technique session. I am eager to get going.

I already have started doing the stretches he told me about (my legs are really stiff on the backs and I need to stretch them out to allow a better hip position). I also am trying to smooth out my pedal stroke although I am sure he is going to give me a lot of good stuff to help with that. I got my pedals ordered, I am going to check out some shoes on my way home tonight and then I will just need to find a seatpost. The handlebars and the stem are going to wait a bit I think. Anyway, I am stoked. 25% increase is huge. People pay thousands of dollars to get single digit percentage increases. The key is to remember it won't happen overnight. There are a lot of neglected muscles to start working to get that smooth pedal stroke!

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