Wednesday, 15 February 2012

retul'd and ready

This is what perfection looks like. the fit isn't bad either

Yesterday, whilst bouncing about from car breakdown to thunderstorm, i managed to fit in a bike fit with the good people at San Diego Sports medicine. First of all i want to point out how incredibly kind Trina was today. My car died en route to the fit, leaving me stranded. Trina stopped by and collected my bike, took it to the studio and allowed me to get my car into the garage and then ride the road bike over there and complete my fit session an hour late. Pretty sure that's above and beyond the call of duty.

Anyway, as you'll know if you're a regular reader I've suffered from a fair bit of spinal injury in the past. Being as i am a fan of walking upright and being, as i am unwilling to stop doing silly amounts of bicycling I've become quite the fan of bike fit, indeed it's fair to say that i consider a good bike fit to be THE most important thing to spend your money on in order to improve your cycling experience. I can, from experience, tell you that you can be riding a $14,000 dollar bike and it will not feel as good at a $1,400 bike if the latter is better fitted to you.

The guys at SDSM have a great tool called Retul, basically it tracks the different points (and on me these points are rather pointy) on your legs and ensures that, when correctly positioned, these points track in a straight line and you're not wobbling about (because whatever the weebles tell you it's not cool) . The computer then assesses your position and spits some numbers out at your fitter, but this isn't so much a science as an art. the fitter has to take into account your flexibility, riding style and indiviudal foibles in order to trun the ranges generated bu the retul computer into a position that works for you. This is where having an experienced fitter comes in, when you've watched the person fitting you destroy the field in the women's pro race the week before you don't really need to worry too much about her not knowing about the real world of bike fitting where the rubber meets the road.

after Trina had helped me sort my saddle and perfect my pedal position I had a quick word with Greg, as an acupuncturist, Physio and formidable bicycle rider in his own right greg is another great resource. I have world class tight hip flexors and, judging by his ability to identify this and poke me in such a way that those tight muscles really hurt I'd say Greg is something of an expert on the subject. He gave me some exercises (one of which is called the pidgeon, but looks nothing like the dance of the same name) which should help me get into my TT position better.

I was also able to touch base with local legend and doctor to the stars Dr Allan Richburg. he's helped me with a lot of injuries over the years, not least diagnosing a burst appendix on the infield of a velodrome (unlike my primary "care" physician who missed it with the benefit of a laboratory behind her). He's also responsible for sticking Chris Horner together when he breaks. He's also done some work for some of those rugby players who dress up like power rangers but i can't remember their names.

So, if you're in Southern California an you want to be more comfortable on your bicycle, need some tips on what sort of frame or bike would be best suited to you. or indeed if you've hurt yourself and want to get back to riding as quickly and painlessly as possible i really couldn't think of a better group of people. And if you get really lucky, Trina might even fit you so well that you too get to practice your victory salute.

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