Ale and I had some issues. After several long rides, several problems began to arise, like lower/ upper back pains, knee pain and neck pain. So Ale and I decided to go to counseling at the bike fitter. One of the important things an athlete should do is a bike fit; remember that everyone is different and that your bike should be specially fitted to YOU.
After several suggestions I decided to go to EBP Cycling Lab here in Miami, where they use the RETÜL bike fitting system. RETÜL is one of the most advanced bicycle fitting systems today, in which incorporates a 3D motion capture technology to provide an objective, dynamic and accurate data. RETÜL has been used by 7x Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, Team Radio Shack, Ironman World Champions Craig Alexander and Chrissie Wellington. Carlos and Gunter, the owner and fitter respectively, were very friendly and knowledgeable and help me thru the fitting process.
First of all, Gunter does a brief questionnaire about my background, objectives and any pains (which I have quite a lot, sometimes I fell like I’m a LEGO falling apart). Following this, I got equipped, Ale was mounted on the Computrainer and I started pedaling. After some computer/video set up and a initial observation process, Gunter tells me “You’re a mess”.
Gunter starts putting LED sensors on my right side, which included my foot, ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist. The motion capture technology begins and numbers start to come up in the screen, Gunter confirms his initial observations and starts to make changes on my bike. The knowledgeable fitter says “The bike is too big for you”, and I replied, “Supposedly is my frame size”. Gunter explains that although the bike frame is for a person like me, the top tube is too long which places me too back on my seating, which made a challenging problem to the fitter. This made me stretch too much on the bike, rather to be more compact. Additionally, since it’s a road bike adapted for triathlon, the fit will be the closest it can get for the purpose that it will be used.
After some changes on Ale, my left side was tested, and the bike finally got fine tuned.
Bike fit solutions: Place the saddle forward in order for me not to be that stretched. The aerobars were angled raised in order to be more comfortable. Suggestions: To change the seat tube to one that will be able to put the saddle even more forward (but in the meantime I will test drive the new bike fit ;) ). The other suggestion was to eventually get a tri bike.
After the final fit was made, Gunter proceeded to digitally scan Ale to have the exact measurements in order to replicate the fit if I decide to travel and I have to break apart the bike. The most chocking thing I encountered was to learn that not every bike frame is fit for me, in some brands I may be small and in other I may be extra small, but my body measurements affect each and every frame. Gunter will be kind enough to send me a list of tri bikes frames that will be fit for me, in order to have a reference if I decide to make the future jump to a tri bike (and leave Alejandra, LOL).
Although my back was sore from Saturday’s morning long ride, I felt more comfortable with the fit. After all, I expect to be 7 hours on the bike in IM Florida, so I need to be the most comfortable possible for the big race. At the end, I was provided with a fitting and bike report with all the measurements and a video showing the before and after of the fitting. Plus if any problems arise, I can come back and make any additional modifications.
I want to thank Gunter and Carlos from EBP Cycling Lab for the friendly service, Team Hammerheads for the response of where to get my bike fit and a additional big thanks for my friend Jenny who came with me and provided the photography services for the blog post ;) .