It’s all well and dandy helping everyone else out with bike fits at Sports Lab, but as I am only a month away from the start of my NZ 70.3 season, it’s probably about time I check my own position over. A bike fit is not something that is performed once when you get your bike and then left until you retire or buy another bike (n+1). Things change over time, and I for one have been working on my flexibility over winter with the goal to carry less tension on the bike and be more aerodynamic.
After 70.3 World Champs in September I made the decision to swap pedal system from the ever so popular Shimano SPD system to the Speed Plays Zero system. The fundamental reason for this was the opportunity to slide my cleats further back and then dial in my float to exactly what I need. Simple as it may sound, this is something that is much easier done with some guided wisdom from my bike-fitting partner in crime Hannah Cerecke. The goal of the bike fit was to adjust my seat height to match the new stack height of the pedal system, make sure I am not overloading my calves on the bike (I need them for the run) and then dial the float so I can’t cheat through my knees when I start winding up the power.
The bike fit starts with a complete off-bike assessment where we go through a range of functional movements and test my physical and neural tension (safe to say I didn’t pass with flying colours, but it’s something we are working on). From this, my tight hip flexors were highlighted – something we have accounted for with a shift to 165mm cranks.
After a flurry of note taking on any muscle discrepancies or limitations, it was time to jump on the bike. A series of captures were taken using motion capture software and we then began the iterative process of dialing my training shoes and race shoes into the perfect position. This was a combination of cleat positioning and saddle positioning as the stack height of the Speedplay pedals differs from the Shimano ones.
A few other take-homes were the flexibility in the upper part of my new race shoes resulting in the need for a more supportive arch to prevent excessive diving through the midfoot.
Once we were happy with the seat position, we then checked over the front end of the bike. A final capture is taken at race intensity to check for any bad habits under load and we were done.
The next phase of the bike fit was to perform a Virtual Wind Tunnel Aerodynamic Scan using 4iiii’s Latest offering. A 3D scanner was used to generate a model of me on the bike in full race setup. The goal was to check if we could better optimise the front end of the bike and eek out a bit more speed. The scan is done within 5mins and then we wait for the magic to happen as a CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) optimization system is used to find the best solutions for me.
The results arrived a few days later, and as predicted a bit more time could be saved by rotating my bars higher and increasing them in length. As I was at max rotation for the current setup, I was limited by my equipment – however, I was able to increase the length of my bars by 5mm. The increase in length was something that needed to be reviewed with our inhouse software to ensure we weren’t going to negatively affect my overall fit and cause issues by introducing too much tension through my back. Once Hannah and I had given it the seal of approval it was time for the final piece of the puzzle…a physiological test (ouch)!
The physiological test was performed in-house at Sports Lab. The goal was to check I had all my energy systems firing and check that my planned race power sat in the race of what is currently possible with my lactate threshold.
The test started at a rather mundane power output similar to a Sunday long ride, but the power slowly increases every 4 minutes until you are breathing through your ears and lactic acid is oozing out of your toes. After a bit of analysis, we were able to create a complete lactic profile and find my lactic turning point. All incredibly powerful data leading into my triathlon season to ensure we are training the right energy systems and not overstimulating systems that don’t need anymore work.
As I continue to develop as an athlete and with all the exciting new gear and tech that is coming out at the moment it is safe to say I will be rebook in for a check up at the completion of my summer season to see what improvements can be made for winter next year.
If you have any questions regarding my experience or our Bike Fit, Aerodynamics or Physiological testing, then flick me an email on email@example.com
Jack Moody is our aerodynamic and cycling specialist. He also helps behind the scenes in making sure the clinic doesn’t crash and burn. Pop in any time of day to catch him with a coffee and muffin in hand, throwing down partially offensive partially brilliant jokes.