Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Complete Overhaul

The other day I took my bike to Andrew Tanaka at BikeFit808 to see if maybe there was something up with my bike position that might be irritating my calf when I ride hard. He did a retul fit on me, which basically meant that I was hooked up to all sorts of wires and a computer drew out my movements and calculated angles of all my body parts while I was pedaling my bike on the trainer. Pretty cool. I'm not a bike fit expert, so even though Andrew showed me the results and all the numbers the computer generated, it didn't make a ton of sense to me. All I wanted to know was, what needs to change and is it going to fix my calf?

Basically what he did was shift me up and forward so I'm more on top of my pedals, and he dropped my bars down so I get a better back angle and am more aero. I took a picture of my seat post and you can see the changes he made. The electrical tape on the seat post marks my old saddle height, and the grime on the saddle post marks where my saddle used to sit on the rails. Those are some pretty hefty changes.

You know what's funny? While I was there on the trainer Andrew was asking how I felt and I swear to you, I couldn't even feel the difference. I was trying to convince Andrew that I am indeed a rather perceptive person but the fact that I couldn't feel these changes wasn't lending much support to my claim.

Anyway, here's a short video of me riding with my new fit if you care to watch.

I had several hours on my bike the next day and I will tell you, I felt the changes instantly as soon as I sat on my bike outside. My theory now is that I couldn't feel the differences on the trainer b/c I never ride that bike on a trainer. But I do ride it outside. A lot. So once I was in my natural habitat the differences were very obvious. I do feel more powerful b/c I can use my quads more effectively to push straight down on the pedals, rather than using my hamstrings and calves to push the pedals more forward. So I am hopeful this will be good for me.

I have to say though, Andrew cringed when he saw the state of my bike. That's bad, he said, when he tried to turn the bars up front and felt the grinding of the headset. Ooooooh, he said ominously when he tried to shift it into the big ring. He actually went to his car to get some lube to fix it up a bit before I even got on the trainer to do the fitting. Disclaimer: I never said I was great at bike maintenance. And in my defense, there have not been 3 days in a row when I have not been riding that bike so when was I supposed to take it in to the shop for a tune-up?? Andrew said that just about every bike he's had come through his doors has been in a similar state and he is now considering adding a tune-up service to his bike fit process since clearly the need is there. So in my defense #2, I'm not the only one.

Anyway, I finally bit the bullet and took my bike into ITB today. It was time. Clearly. I put my tail between my legs and told Matt (the least judgmental best mechanic anywhere) not to cringe when he saw me walk in the doors with it.  This is not the first time he's seen my bike in this sad state so he took it in stride. I have to say though, the looks on the faces of the three mechanics that stood around my bike shaking their heads and recommending different treatments to fix it said it all. In the end, they decided that it didn't need a tune-up. It needed a complete overhaul. The only appropriate course of action was to completely strip the bike down and build it back up part by part, deciding one by one which components need to be replaced. In good news, these mechanics know me and have been doing their very best to take care of my bike in spite of how I treat it for years now and I know they'll do a superb job. I can't wait to get it back!

9 comments:

Molly said...

I hope your bike fit really pays off!!!!

Kiet said...

I get my bike overhauled every two years and it always feels awesome, it's like getting a brand new bike.

Running and living said...

Love the new bike position. I had a similar fit done when I got my bike. It is really comfortable, in fact, it is more comfortable for me to be in aero than not. Oh, and LOVE the E21 shorts:)

mmmonyka said...

Can triathletes live without their visors???

I need to take a few pictures/videos of myself riding my bike and see what it gets. Whether I look weird. I think I am also sitting too far back and too low.
It actually feels more comfortable riding in aerobars than in upright position, which is probably a good thing for triathletes, but since I cannot shift and break on my bars, I am not sure about it...

Iron Krista, "The Dog Mom" said...

look at those FANCY shorts!! ;-)

I hope the new fit helps your calf!!!

Ginger Spansel said...

Your bike will be very happy!!!

Teresa said...

Agreed!! Triathletes have zero time to clean the bike!! Glad it is all fixed up and hopefully your calf will be too!

xoxo

Mark said...

Glad you finally got bike overhaul. A good fit makes such a difference. I recently got fitted for my Kestrel and it feels a world of difference better than my previous fit. More comfortable translate to faster bike split, right?!

Kim said...

Wow.. that's great you got a new fit and that its making a difference already!! I need to do that too.. it has been Soooo long :) Thanks for the comment on the video.. that means a lot.. I also love your blog picture... You look.. well, freaking tough.. :) I'm just saying - Mama Simmons rocks it!