About a month ago, I had a bike fitting done by Coach Ken Mierke, a local triathlete coach and active poster on Trifuel.com. I had originally asked for advice on Trifuel back a few months ago about getting a bike fit as I felt too stretched out on the bike and in general felt uncomfortable on long ride.
When I got my bike back in April it was my first road bike – ever. While I had some very good advice from a fairly serious cyclist friend with respect to the actual purchase itself, I had never got it fit to me. I assumed that much of the summer my discomfort with the bike was because my relative newness to the cycling sport. Remember, the last time I rode a bike prior to April was basically in middle school (no, I’m not kidding – I’m dead serious). And to some degree my lack of previous cycling played a part in it – my first few rides my back hurt after about 20 minutes, but over time that slowly crept up to a number of hours before I would start hurting. I assumed that this meant I was getting more comfortable on the bike. But even so, I didn’t feel as powerful in certain positions on the bike.
It also didn’t feel natural. I was cycling with a friend and he had just recently gotten a new bike and had it fit to him – during the ride he commented that “It feels so comfortable that it’s like being in a lazy boy recliner…in the aero position”. That got me thinking that perhaps something was amiss in my configuration.
So I posted a post to Trifuel to ask for some advice on bike fitting. A number of folks responded, including Coach Mierke. He has an office a mere 15 minutes away, so it seemed like a logical match.
I made an appointment and went early on a Saturday morning back a number of weeks ago to get my bike fitted. After asking some questions about what didn’t feel right, how much I cycling and a number of other things; we put my bike up on a Computrainer and he had me start cycling. Nothing too hard, just a relatively easy spin. Over the course of the 45-60 minutes he tweaked a number of things. Each time I would get off the bike, he would tweak it – and I would get back on and try it out. Rinse, repeat.
A few key changes he made were pulling the aerobars in closer together – which made me feel more compact…and more aerodynamic. He also brought my seat forward a little bit – helping me to not feel so stretched out. In addition he raised my seat a fair bit. I had a feeling for quite a while that my seat height was too low. By raising it I feel like I get more power out of my legs. Of course, all of these changes are specific to me.
I’ve gone on a few longer rides (at least two hours) since then where I was aero most of the rides and it feels quite a bit better. And the numerous weekday shorter rides also feel great. While I haven’t gone upwards of the three hour mark since the fit – all signs are pointing to it definitely helping on the comfort scale. It’s a bit early to determine if it will also help me get more power out of my cycling (or help me on the run due to lower effort on cycling) – but I would venture to guess that it will since I’m not dealing with the annoyance of my back during the ride.
So all in all, well worth the $150 that I paid. I’m also looking at using his coaching services, I’ll probably be making a decision on that at some point here in the next week now that my knee is pretty much all happy again.
I would say that I do wish I had taken the time to get my bike fit BEFORE I started a year of training – I can’t recommend doing that enough.