Last July I sat at my computer with my finger on the click button and phone in the other hand. A friend of mine Tripp was telling me to do it. I didn’t have much time, it was going to sell out. So I took a big gulp and signed up for the big one, Ironman Lake Placid 2014, with no regrets.
It has been a learning experience ever since then. I had to get a coach, I had to ditch fitness classes after 20 years of being a gym rat and I had to get a new bike. The 56 inch road bike was all wrong, even though I wanted it to be so right. I wondered for years why I would suffer from lower back pain, numbness in the extremities, and have less power than riding on my previous bike. For goodness sakes, who wants to admit they made a bad purchase. Well I wasn’t alone.
According to Andrew Motola at Brickwell Cycling and Multisports, 50% of bike owners purchase the wrong bike. Wonkers. That’s a huge percentage of people that are uncomfortable, riding inefficiently, and are getting injured as a result.
But why? Triathletes are found to be well educated and fall into an affluent category. According to a study by Active Network, triathletes far exceed the general population educationally speaking. 40% of the triathletes in the survey had a college degree and another 40% had a post graduate degree. Nearly half of those surveyed had an annual household income of over $100,000.
After a cry for help Facebook post, Andrew contacted me and said “come to our Syosset store and get fitted”. I didn’t know what that meant. I am 5’7, that should equate to a frame size with minor adjustments.
Perhaps being fitted is not being addressed.
I met with Russell the bike fitter for about one hour. He placed me on the Guru fit machine. It captured the perfect fit for me in terms of comfort and efficiency. We took some pictures of my form and monitored the power wattage. It spit out bike brand options for me including frame size, the perfect aerobar position, crank length and saddle position.
The Cervelo P2 was on the list. A beautiful white and blue baby that was coming out in one weeks time. After seven years, Cervelo updated the model that is well known for Chrissie Wellington’s win at her first and second Ironman Kona competitions. It was time for me to change. I will be riding 112 miles then running a full marathon (after a 2.4 mile swim). Discomfort was not an option. Injury and lower back pain was not an option. Using proper muscles on the bike and saving the running muscles for the run is crucial. There was no turning back.
Here in NY there is still a cold winter chill in the air and sand and potholes in the road. So I took my new ride to the Hub in Farmingdale for a two and a half hour indoor trainer ride. My comfort was priceless and I saw a difference in efficiency. We made one minor tweak to the saddle position and will continue to test out the fit. Russell says as we get either more or less flexible and possibly want to ride more aggressively, the fit changes. They recommend a fit every 6 months to accommodate for body changes. Now bike fitting is not an anomaly, it’s a routine service.
I hope this helps for those who wondered how to go about getting a new bike or making proper adjustments to their existing one. Remember you are not alone. I was on Craig’s List looking for a bike with a frame size that I thought was right for me. Now it is clear, it is not the smart option. Perhaps I leave the site for accessory purchases like helmet or hydration gear.