>> Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Or, “Goldilocks Gets a Makeover.”
The day before my “A” Race for the year (Liberty Olympic Distance Triathlon), I had my bike fit by Kevin O’Connor at Gear West Bike. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “The DAY BEFORE?!? Is that smart?” I hoped it wasn’t a dumb idea. Kevin assured me that doing “just” an olympic distance tri would be fine the next day.
Kevin started by having me tell him about my bike - things like: “What do you like about your bike? What’s been annoying you about it? Why did you buy this bike?” Etc, etc. (BTW, my answers to those 3 questions were “I dunno. I wish it were faster. It was on sale.”) He then went on to tell me things HE liked and didn’t like about my bike. Then I hopped on.
Right away he liked how neutral and not rounded-over my back was. Kevin earned tons of credibility early on during my fitting: he noted the way my left leg (especially my left knee) was tracking, and he made a remark about that being due to tightness in my IT band. And guess what? I’ve had issues with my left IT band being too tight since high school. Boom. Credibility. "Do what you want to me, Kevin - I’m dough in your hands."
I wasn’t fit too horribly on Goldilocks, but Kevin noted that I could get more power output if I weren’t quite as “stretched out” on the bike. So that was job one. He opened a drawer under the platform that I was on to expose a ton of stems:
Here’s a “before and after” without me in the saddle:
Original fit from Erik’s Bike Shop from 18 months ago
Shorter stem, aero pads moved back, aero bars tipped up, seat a bit higher, seat slid forward, and seat pointed farther down
And as you can see in both images in that GIF, there’s a computer screen right in front of the bike. That’s showing me live video of myself as I spin, so as Kevin is talking about different ideas, I can SEE them taking effect on me right away. Kevin also has that computer FULL of videos of everyone (or nearly everyone) that he’s fit since about 2004. So probably about a dozen times or so, Kevin pulled up someone else’s video who had a similar “problem” as me, and he could show me how they dealt with it on their bike fitting. Here’s a photo that Kevin took of the screen in front of me: the right side is “live,” and the left side was video from “before:”
Retul takes 3D measurements via infrared markers on the cyclist while cycling. The measurements are accurate to less than 1mm and are taken while the cyclist is actually spinning as opposed to a static measurement. These dynamic 3D measurements also provide data to the fitter, which validates the changes the fitter has made during the fitting process. When you are finished you will have ultra precise measurements of your position. This will allow you to duplicate this position in the future, as well as a baseline for any future changes that are made to your position.
I felt very comfortable with the non-Retul fit that Kevin had done, and I’m not one to keep tweaking things and need to know they are within the range that someone has said is OK. So we didn’t find it necessary to do the Retul fit. (More about Kevin’s thoughts on Retul in my Examiner article about this bike fitting.)
Kevin threw a laser line on my legs, took some video from the front, and showed me how my knees were tracking. He then started adjusting my cleats based on what he saw:
Using the “business end” of a screwdriver to slide over my cleats
I wrote an Examiner article detailing more of what Gear West Bike and Tri can do with their different bike fitting packages, along with Kevin’s thoughts on a fit based on “comfort vs power,” and cost of these different fitting services. I also have a video of me on my bike before and after the fit. Click here to check out that article. It also has a lot more photos of Kevin working on my bike. (And if you've had a Retul fit, I'd be curious on your thoughts of Retul based on what Kevin says in the article, so take a look at it and let me know what you think.)
Thanks for reading! And thanks for a great fit, Kevin!! You’re the best!