Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bike Configuration Experiment

Yeah, yeah, I should be consulting with professionals when I start messing with my bike angles. But, because bike fit usually costs at least $100, and, unlike many triathletes, I do not have gobs of disposable income, I started reading online articles. Articles like these ones: Peter White Cycles - How to Fit a Bicycle, The Effect of Body Configuration on Cycling Performance (PDF), and's Proper Fit for Triathletes. The result of all my reading and looking at photos did one thing -- convince me that paying for bike setup is not necessarily the answer because everyone's body is different. Even if I paid for a fitting, I might have to change or tweak the configuration because of my own biomechanical issues.

So I started tweaking on my own. Seat higher... aero bars lower... seat more forward. The result? Once I found a comfortable position, I also found that I am sitting more forward on the seat, which is what I've always noticed in photos of most triathletes. (I always wondered why photos of me never look that way.)

The overall effect? I might be a little faster. The test? A 55-mile hilly ride yesterday. The result? Average speed 19+ mph for the whole ride, new PR's at all check points, and the ability to hold 23-25 mph on the flat sections comfortably without any additional aches and pains in my legs. A short run after my ride also proved no new issues with the configuration change and only a slight nagging from my (problem) hip joint. The downside? I probably need to spend a little cash on a new bike saddle because my pelvic bone is screaming at me in the new position.

Any advice on a new saddle is welcome. As much as I love my old one (the Selle San Marco Arami, see photo), I'm thinking I need one of those tri saddles: the Selle San Marco Apside or Azoto or the Profile Design Tri Stryke -- basically, the ones with the massive gel padding in the nose. If I can balance on it without pain, that would definitely be a good use of that $100.

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