The Bike

I recently had my second bike fitting by Paul at Bicycle Planet using Retül technology. We spent about an hour and forty five minutes gathering data and making a few small adjustments. Despite no major overhaul with my position, I am a lot more comfortable and Paul was able to eliminate, correct and speak to my pre-fitting concerns. I could get into all the exact angles of how open my hip is or the angle of my seat or the placement of my cleat on my shoe however those numbers are unique to me and my physical dimensions so they wouldn't be of much service for you. However I would like to discuss the significance of the bike as it relates to triathlon.

As ones involvement in the sport increases one will realize the amount of time spent on the bike also increases. The amount of time spent on the bike is not specific to purely logging training hours but encompasses recovery, social interaction, a means to build fitness by eliminating the impact trauma of running and truthfully, everyone I talk to and ride with loves riding. Biking is a very liberating and more times than not a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Swimming on the other hand is very anti social since your face is buried in the water or staring at a clock. Running may not be as antisocial as swimming but for some reason people are very intimidated to run with others thereby making it antisocial. For some reason the great social equalizer is the bike.

Whether you are logging hours for sprint or ironman, or on a "no-drop" group ride or just flushing out your legs you need to feel and be comfortable on your bike. I can't emphasize that enough, you should feel and be comfortable on your bike.

Here are some guidelines for the bike as it relates to triathlon.

1. Realize that when you ride a bike for the first time or purchase a new or different bike there is going to be a break in period. During that break in period expect to be a little sore or experience slight discomfort. This slight discomfort and soreness is your body adjusting to the dimensions of the bike and is totally natural. That soreness you feel in your "seat" area will go away after you log some hours.

2. If you plan on doing more than just cruising the boardwalk or around you neighborhood I would strongly urge you to get a proper bike fit. There is no sense in spending over $1000 on a bike and then throwing it in the shed because it hurts to ride. Having your bike properly fit could mean a world of difference in terms of comfort, speed, power, aerodynamics and overall enjoyment. I have had the fortune of having a few bike fittings and each one was money well spent. Any issue or discomfort I was experiencing was resolved in a matter of minutes.

3. The way your are positioned on the bike directly impacts your performance on that bike. As bikes become more aerodynamic there is a cultural push to be in a more aggressively aerodynamic position as well. After all what good is an aerodynamic bike if your are not riding it in an aerodynamic position? While being in an aerodynamic position on the bike makes sense, does it really matter? To find a balance between being too aero or too comfortable I would like to pose one question. Can you race as hard as you can while maintaining an aero position for the entire distance and then get off and run immediately without any pain? If you can than you probably have found the proper balance between being aero and comfortable.  If you answered, no, than maybe you are too aero or have in incorrect fit.  I personally would sacrifice a little aerodynamics to be able to get off the bike and immediately hammer the run.

3. A $10,000 frame with all the carbon fiber trimmings does not equate to you being fast, faster, fastest, on the podium, or with the fastest bike split. All it means is that you can afford to have an expensive and bad ass bike. While there are some products on the market that can save you time and there is proven science off how aero eliminates drag so you can go faster, the bottom line is you can't buy speed. There is no way that if I go out and buy the same Trek Speed Concept as Chirs Lieto that I will be able to just clip in immediately and be one of the fastest cyclists in the sport. I ride an aluminum frame and smile as I pass those super bikes with no engine.

4. That bike looks fast vs that guy is fast. Bikes look fast and that's about it. If you were to stand a bike up and then push it forward it would fall down in a matter of feet. If you get on a bike and push off and begin pedaling you have now made the bike fast. My point is you are what makes a bike fast. The engine that you have built (cardiovascular system) powers that bike. I'm not sure if Lance Armstrong gets credit for this but he recently said that, "biking is for show, running if for dough."

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