Fine-tuning the Fit – Proper Bike Fit Part II

Brand new, domed, slightly softer seat (2nd try)

Last weekend I had a proper bike fit. The first ride post-fit felt good, although the wider and harder seat took some getting used to. Yesterday I took the bike out again for what was supposed to be an easy ride: my apartment to the park,  two loops around and home. Unfortunately, I had a small amount of knee pain half way through the first loop that grew into a large amount of knee and hip pain by the end of the loop so I called it quits. I was in a great deal of discomfort and a fair amount of pain by the time I got home. I couldn’t imagine riding any further on my bike, let alone running a 5k afterwards. Needless to say, I was more than a little concerned about the situation since the Danskin Tri is on Sunday.

Bontrager bike stem

Brand new, very short, slightly angled stem

After work today I went back to the shop for a refit. They did a great job. We swapped out the seat they recommended last week for one with a slightly more domed shape with a little bit more padding. Apparently, the other seat had absolutely no padding whatsoever and could have accounted for my hip pain. To address the knee pain, we raised the seat further and moved it back (closer to where the original placement was). We also moved the cleat further back and slightly out on my right shoe to address an old hip injury. After taking the bike out for test ride, I’m happy to say these modifications seem to have done the trick. My bike is far more comfortable.

40" Specialized handlebars

Brand new, shorter, narrower, shallower handlebars

But that’s not all…since I’m pretty narrow, I knew I’d have to replace the handlebars (on any bike) at some point. I decided to do that today. So now I have 40″ rather than 42″ bars with a shallower drop as well as a new, shorter stem. Many thanks to the folks at Bicycle Habitat, particularly fitters Emily and Libby, for helping me out.

The good news? Between the seat and cleat adjustments and my new stem and handlebars, I feel like I have a properly fitting bike. The not so good news? I wasn’t able to get a swim in this week since I was so focused on adjusting the bike. I’m not too concerned about this and the bike issues had to be addressed, so I don’t regret it. The other not so good news? I’ve come down with a fever for the last few days and feel slightly miserable. Not a high fever but a fever nonetheless. It seems related to particularly high levels of ragweed. Saturday night’s forecast is for rain and lots of it. I’m hoping the rain washes away the pollen for Sunday.

The weekend’s plan? My friend who is also doing the race will pick me up tomorrow morning and we’ll drive to New Jersey to go to packet pick-up. Since it’s my birthday, she asked me to pick something I’d like to do for it. Since the forecast is for rain I’m thinking pedicures…We’ll have an early night and then up bright and early for Sandy Hook and my second ever triathlon (my first since 1999)! Sunday evening will most likely be devoted to lesson plans.

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2 responses to “Fine-tuning the Fit – Proper Bike Fit Part II

  1. Happy Birthday! (I got a pedicure this week, too–great birthday idea!) I would’ve focused on the bike and bypassed the swim, too. During a triathlon, you spend 1/5 of your time swimming, 1/2 of your time biking, 1/3 of your time running, so it makes sense to spend the most time preparing for the bike. Can’t wait to read about packet pick-up! 🙂

    • Thanks! I’m glad you agree with focusing on the bike. The way it was riding Wednesday, I wouldn’t have been able to finish the bike let alone attempt the run. I’ve decided to follow your advice and use the swim as a warm-up. I’m going to use the bike as a warm-up also and save everything for the run. Even if my time is super slow, I’ll be really happy if I can do the run without walking any of it.

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