Monday, November 24, 2008

Sweet Pea, the full story

I arrived for my appointment a little past 10- the fitting studio and Natalie's shop are located in a large beautiful brick building. The appointment started off with introductions and then a series of questions to determine what kind of rider I am and what I'm looking for from this bike.
Questions were the sort of, "How many miles a year do you ride?" and "What's your cadence?". Pretty standard stuff. A lot of what my intention will be for this bike- I summarily answered that I wanted this bike to help me and keep me fit for life. I talked a little about what I'm going through and how I am looking forward to this bike serving me to continue to ride a bunch of miles, a bunch of hills, and to continue multi-day touring.

After the questions, I got changed into my gear and stood in front of Michael. He made observations about my posture or just how I hold my body I guess. It's a little, I don't know, interesting to just stand there and be studied. It reminded me of what the chiropractor does when he's looking at your body's balance.
Michael observed me from front and back. Then I faced front again and he told me to touch the floor, he was judging my flexibility.
After that he had me lay down on a yoga mat and he did some range of movement exercises with me where me lifted my legs and moved them this way and that. I thought surely they would declare my hip flexors tight- I always have that as an issue with yoga. But surprisingly he and the other doctors declared me very flexible. Go figure.
Then it was on the bike for a series of adjustments and critiques. We started with seat height, talked about the knee pain I'll occasionally experience on longer rides. I acknowledged that whatever position they put me in was comfortable for now, but that true fit doesn't happen until mile 70. Every one nodded in agreement and I was offered a job. Nice.
I especially enjoyed being coached on my own position, regardless of the bike fit. Michael obviously knows his stuff. He showed me what I should look like, how I should hold myself, and where I need to work on stuff- he promised strength and speed if I followed his advice. The profile pic represents the position I should ideally stay in- not a huge adjustment to my current riding posture, but I need to be more aware of keeping a bend in my arms my pivoting from my hips. Oh and to get and keep my cadence at 90.
I loved Michael and the doctors studying my pedal stroke, noticing the motion of knees. They saw the same things- their trained eyes helped me recognize that if I spin a higher cadence, my pedal stroke evens out, and when I engage my glutes, my knees don't move around as much as when I'm lazily just riding without thought. I will absolutely keep that in mind.
So, we finished with that stuff, chatted for a while. Natalie might have convinced me to go with 650 size wheels, as opposed to the 700s I currently ride. I won't be able to mix and match colors/tape so well, but it might be a better option for me. Though I'm 5'6, my frame size is small. Like really small. I like the idea of 650s. We'll see.
After the fit, Natalie showed me around her studio. I think I'll make that a separate post tomorrow. It was such a cool experience.

Anyway, lots more pictures of my trip are on the Flickr site. Check 'em out!

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