Ok.. not quite yet.. but it will soon. And just what might “it” be? Well, my tri bike, of course.
It’s important for the bike to feel comfortable (but not too comfortable) and not create any unnecessary pain during the bike leg of a triathlon because you’re going to get off this thing and run some distance (ranging from 5k to a full marathon.. or more if you’re really crazy). I know I can get a bike fit anywhere or I can read scores of articles online about how the bike should fit, specific lengths between bike parts for the “right” fit, general rules for bike fitting, etc etc. Minh even offered to measure me and fit my bike for me. But, I figured that if I’m going invest a lot of time on my tri bike, and if I want to perform the best that I can during races, then it won’t hurt to get it done by someone who knows what they’re doing and has been doing this for years.
Enter.. James Manton. He’s the founder of Final Fit and has been fitting bicycles on riders for years. He works with all sorts of riders: roadies, mountain bikers, time trialists (is that even a term?), professionals and amateurs alike.. But the kind of bikes he really loves to fit are those for triathletes. I scheduled a fit session with Jim today, and although it wasn’t complete, I’m sure glad I decided to get this done now.
I always knew that I wasn’t in the best riding position on my tri bike, but I just didn’t realize how far off I was. When I walked in to Final Fit today, Jim took one look at my bike and thought, “Man… this is going to take a while” (I’m paraphrasing of course, but you get the gist). Mainly he thought that because it could just look at my bike and see that my riding position wasn’t aerodynamic enough for a tri bike. Luckily for him, I wasn’t as difficult as he had expected, and we were really able to dial in on the changes that needed to be made to the bike to make the ride not as painful on the soft girly parts and to make my position more aggressive/aerodynamic. I’ll post the before and after measurements later (once Jim sends them to me). The real dramatic change was on my reach over the bars, which was moved closer back and down to give put me in a more aerodynamic position.
We weren’t able to finish the fit because the stem I had on the bike wasn’t going to put me in the position that we/I had chosen during the fit (Jim uses this infinitely adjustable stem for the fit, but can’t use that for riding). He recommended that we get a 90mm (or shorter if possible) stem with -35deg tilt. With the current stem and frame, I just wouldn’t be able to get down enough in the front to achieve the same position I got with the adjustable stem. I also need to be looking around for a new saddle. Jim let us borrow a test saddle he had from John Cobb. It felt a lot better than the Profile Design saddle I was currently using, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find something that will feel AMAZING (like the road saddle I just switched over to). Ordered a new stem online today, and hopefully that will come in the mail soon so that I can get this fit finished. I’m excited to get in this new position and go on a longer ride.
After the fit, we decided to head out to JensonUSA to see if they had any stems at the store (they didn’t have any in stock, which is why we ended up buying one online) and also to pick up a new trainer for me. We got rid of my old “trainer” because I wasn’t using it (see Minh’s post on his productive week). Mainly, because they were rollers and I have horrible balance and had a horrible time trying to ride on them. I always felt like I was about to fall off, which made me want to quit, which made them a very useless piece of equipment sitting in the garage or my room or wherever it was that we were storing it. Jenson has the Blackburn Trackstand Ultra Trainer on sale for $180. The main reason why I wanted it (aside from wanting a trainer for when it’s raining or dark out) is because it has pink details!!
After we got home, Minh opened up some reviews on the BB trainer. I’m a little nervous about the purchase now that I’ve seen so many BAD reviews for it online, but I’m hoping that I’ll luck out and not have many problems with it. Most of the reviews seem to imply that it needs to be taken care of pretty well (clean regularly, lube in the right places, don’t let it overheat too much). I’ll try to remember to post a review once I’ve put some time/miles on it.
Minh snapped some pictures of the whole fit process. I’ve also included some “before” pictures of the bike. Once I get the final fit, I’ll post the “after” pictures. It will be like one of those kids activities where you try to spot the differences. Also, I was having some fun with the camera and took some “mountain” shots and shots of the new trainer.