Last Monday I drove over to Donna Rae Szalinski's Cycleedge at Geelong to spend a day being "set up" on my bikes by John Hine, acknowledged guru of this task where science, intuition and experience all meet and few are equipped to do it really well. John is a meticulous worker measuring, assessing, remeasuring and reassessing, a method that gladdens the health scientist in me. His stories added to the day's experience and clearly he was a back to the future man, with many of his ideas of 20 years ago now being the norm.
Since I was being set up on my road, track and TT bikes, all with completely different geometry and all dealt with individually it hit home how silly it was to take a body measurement and apply it to all bikes uniformly. And yet that is what I had been doing forever. Apart from the bike geometry, small differences in accessories and components have a huge effect. For instance we noticed that the height difference from the rails to the top of my Specialized Jett Ti saddle was different from the same saddle in the CroMo version. We also noticed the difference in sole thickness between my DMT all purpose shoes and my Adidas Adistar TT shoes had an effect on the seat height on that bike. Well it was a revelation to me, I'm sure John wasn't at all surprised.
There were many changes/tweaking but the main alterations were to do with cleat positioning and the exact position of the saddle, both up/down and fore/aft. Funnily enough, any time I've been "set up" I've been told to lower my saddle height, although I preferred it higher. John lifting my saddle was a justification of what I had intuitively been doing all along.
As a member of the "duck's disease/low slung bum" brigade, the nose of my saddle is much closer to the bottom bracket than is UCI legal and so for every road TT and Pursuit championship event I have to undergo the exercise of being measured on the bike to ensure that my tibial tuberosity doesn't ever go in front of the pedal spindle. Since this measurement on all 3 bikes is <2cm, Donna, as a level 3 coach, will provide me with a letter justifying this set up...wont stop the on-site measuring but at least it will be a show of good faith.
Not only did John set the bikes up he also pointed out areas of my cycling style that needed attention..the rigid ankles especially the left, my poor thoracic posture, my s-l-o-w cadence and especially my shallow breathing under pressure.
It was a truly exhausting day but once my body adapts to the changes the day and the expense will be well worth it.
The next day's training was designated a chunder session and so over to M Lash's garage and the dreaded BT turbo I went. I had 3 sets to do and after debriefing about the Geelong trip had M Lash not only singing out "encouragement" but also reminding me about my breathing.
I managed the first 2 sets ok although with a certain amount of difficulty and so called for the bucket to be near for the final one and that's when the wheels started to fall off.
Stress hits different people different ways..under pressure I can't stand extraneous things on me..so first of all the glasses came off, then the wrist watch and finally the HRM...the garage and mixed company precluded anything else being stripped off(!). I also struggle with others having conversations around me as it impacts on my narrowly focussed concentration. The 4 min active rest between 2nd and third sets went far too quickly and then I was pounding away at the final efforts when disaster struck and I cramped big time, first the left calf and then unusually the right. I had to get off the bike, deal with it and then go through a few "that's fixed/oh no its not" phases as I struggled through to the end the last set unable to reach the desired wattage.
M Lash was sympathetic but rather sad, I think, that the bucket remained unused. .. I'll have to liberate a few of the hospital style vomit bags for today's and subsequent chunder sessions, I'm not sure the bucket's a good idea.
I'd have to admit the worth a having him supervising the session..at home I'd never have worked so hard.....
But..the big questions raised by this experience is...was it the effort or the new cleat position causing such a mega cramp?
Guess we'll just have to wait and see.