A 6 a.m. alarm call on my day off was a rude start to the weekend but I stumbled out of bed, showered had breakfast and jumped into the car. Good drive down despite hitting freezing fog in many places and drivers who, for some bizarre reason, decided that having no lights on was a sensible idea. Muppets!
I'd filled out a pre-fitting questionnaire, so Andy was aware of my aches and pains my past injuries and my goals for the coming season (i.e. to finish IM Austria). Andy asked me to perform a range of flexibility and strength exercises to see what would affect my bike fit. I now have several more core exercises (including the dreaded 'plank') to perform every day to help build up my cycling (plus swimming and running) strength!
Lots of velcro sticky dots were applied at key points (shoulder, ankle, hip, wrist and knee) so that the LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for the RETUL system could be put in exactly the right position. The system captures movement in all 3 dimensions and can instantly provide feedback on critical angles like hip angle and knee extension which allows the bike to be 'dialled in' to exactly the right fit.
Pre RETUL fit I looked like this:
Now, this is an AGGRESSIVE position for a TT bike - you can see my back is pretty much parallel to the floor. Bradley Wiggins would struggle to hold that for too long and it was no surprises that this position became pretty uncomfortable in the 'aero' position for much longer than a few minutes…. Phew, I thought it was just me being a bit of a wuss ;-)
It was pretty apparent we needed to lift up the front end of the bike to relax my back angle (from a very low 15 degrees to approximately 25 degrees) to ensure a more comfortable position that I can hold for the 112 miles of the IM race.
After battling with the bolts holding the seat onto the seat post, the seat was moved forward by approximately 3 cm, dropped down in height by 1cm or so and the elbow pads on the aerobars were lifted by about 4cm. The extension bars were then raised by about 5 cm and low and behold… a comfortable riding position!!
Post RETUL fit:
Now my back angle is at approximately 23 degrees which is considerably more comfortable and I can actually see ahead of me whilst in the aero position - which will no doubt come in handy for seeing where I am going!
I am now confident that the time I spend on the bike over the next few months will be getting used to the correct position. As the old saying goes you get better with practice, practice, practice… just make sure what you are practicing is correct in the first place!
I now have small circular bald patches on my arms and legs after ripping off the sticky velcro dots - good training for the sponsored leg waxing for our School Charity week coming up in a few weeks time - YIKES!
Many thanks to Andy for his help and expertise - I suspect that this will be one of the best investments I make in terms of preparation for June 30th 2013.
As you can see the RETUL fit information is pretty comprehensive: