It is July and it is the peak of the outdoor riding season. I am logging anywhere between 250 and 300 kilometers a week on the bike right now. With the weather having been so warm, I have been getting hot spots on my feet. My right knee has been bothering me. I had to change a saddle out on the machine because the saddle — or the saddle position — was causing me pain and numbness.
I decided that it was time to get fitted on the bike. It has been about four years since I had a thorough fitting and I was about twenty pounds or so heavier than I am today.
The fit took about three hours. The process:
- Current state measurements
This was, without a doubt, my favourite part of the fitting. I sat down on a chair and I answered questions. Style of riding. Number of hours riding per week. Medical history. Riding objectives. Current issues on the bike. No sweat. I mean literally. No sweat. The next few hours were a different story as I pedalled my way through the balance of the session.
Mark measured everything. All the key geometric measures on the bike. My inseam. My feet. The following is a summary of the various measurements taken during the fitting session.
The fitting itself involved a couple of hours of riding on the bike. We set up a stationary riding position using an indoor resistance trainer. Most of the bike was already in a fairly good position. Mark made a few minor adjustments as we went along. He brought the saddle height down from 74cm to 72cm. He closed the saddle set back position from 6cm to 5.6cm. He extended the tip to bar position by 5mm. The saddle nose down was set to negative 2.5 degrees — pretty much as I had set it myself. Most of the core fit attributes were close and we basically did some fine tuning.
The significant changes took place with my feet. Apparently, I drop my left hip. I drop my left hip a lot.
The following photos show the difference in height with the new shims in place. A total of 9mms of shims were used on the left shoe to help reduce the dropped left hip.
Turns out that even more work needed to be done to the feet. Wedges were used to straighten the alignment of the feet. Sole inserts were also used. G8 Performance offers the Archtech 2600 Pro insole with 4 arch heights and 20 different adjustable positions. We used an 18mm brace to support the arch on the left foot and a 22mm brace to support the arch on the right foot.
Although some of the changes to the bike were relatively minor on an absolute basis, the changes — including the work on the feet – were significant on a relative basis. Mark told me that I needed to ride easy for the next three to four weeks. High cadence and light work. Heart rate needs to stay below 75%. Riding that way is surprisingly challenging. I rode the following day and I worked hard to keep my cadence up and my heart rate down. I was able to keep my cadence largely in the mid-90s. And the heart rate was surprisingly low. For the most part, I was able to stay below 120bpm. Here are the charts from yesterday’s ride.
Mark also told me that I had to spend more time stretching. My muscles are extremely tight and he recommended a daily stretching program of at least 30 minutes.
It will be hard to find that amount of time each day but I will try.
The ride yesterday was terrific. I really noticed the change in position due to the fitting activity. It was like riding a new bike.