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Bike Fitting

Brian Walsh

Free Flight

     How can a Tri-athlete get faster without training more, without training harder? How can a Triathlete reduce his chances of injury? How can you complete your race with more comfort and more energy reserved for the end of the race? It sounds too easy, but getting fit properly on your bike is the only legal way!

A good fit on your bike will do all of this and more. Tri-athletes are known for being on the leading edge of technology. In fact Tri-athletes spend more money on their sport than any other kind of athlete, and the bike is easily the fastest way to spend money. But what do you do with an $8000 bike that doesn’t fit properly? It’s even worse than buying the wrong size shoes.

Bike fit is both more complex than most Tri-athletes understand and less complex than a quick Google search would have you believe. As a bike fitter of almost 15 years I have kept on top of all the latest innovations in fit both on the road and more recently on Tri bikes. Historically there has been a lot of science behind the fit of a traditional road bike with very defined parameters concerning seat height and for-aft positioning. Tri bikes have confused the conventional wisdom some but the basics haven’t really changed.

When fitting a Tri-athlete some questions I ask will concern flexibility, length of races planned, expected results at those races, and your strengths and weaknesses in all three disciplines. This information is used to determine how aggressively you can be positioned. A person with less flexibility and planning some long races (Ironman) will be more efficient in a position with higher hands and not as far forward on the seat. A very flexible athlete with very aggressive goals will warrant an aggressive position with a seat position very far forward and hands very low to maximize the aerodynamics that make you faster. You might be asking, “Why wouldn’t I want the most aero position all the time?” The answer is if you can‘t stay in that position comfortably for the entire time your on the bike then it is far less efficient and if you don’t have any legs left for the run, then you’re truly spinning your wheels.

A thorough bike fit will take about an hour. It will be a very hands on experience where you will get to see what happens when seat angles are changed and handlebars are moved both up and done and forward or back. You should bring a pair of cycling shorts, shoes, pedals, and your bike. All of this takes place on an indoor trainer so you can also plan on breaking a sweat! After your fitting you should expect to be faster, more comfortable and less likely to suffer injuries that might keep you off your bike. The off-season is easily the best time to deal with a new bike fit. Once you have begun spending some time on the bike in-season it’s much harder to make the needed changes without adding some risk of injury. Call me today at 582-4500 to set up an appointment so 2015 is your personal best!

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