Things to Come

Just a quick post to write down some cycling ideas for the coming months.

I ordered a new power meter from PowerTap the C1 model. I hope to have consistent power data when I ride on chip seal roads. It was an issue at Conquer the Coast ride in September. I’ll have to have Bicycle World RGV install it for me as I don’t have the tools.

Some rides that I’ve been mulling around in my head are A) Mission to Rio Grande City and back , B) Mission to Harlingen and back. Both are doable 60+ mile rides. Maybe I’ll break it up into an over night stay and ride back the next day. A simple credit card mini tour as they are known as.

I also want to do a ride outside of the Valley that I haven’t done before. I was hoping to go with a friend of mine but ever since she broke her toe, I don’t know if she is up to it or not. I’ll have to find someone else to go with if need be.

Bike Upgrades

2015 Rouabix SL4 Comp Ultegra Di2Recently I’ve made some changes to my bike. My trusty 2013 Roubaix Apex Comp has been replaced with an updated version. I am now a proud owner of a 2015 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Comp Ultegra Di2. I saw this bike being displayed at my favorite local bike shop (LBS), Bicycle World RGV in McAllen and immediately loved the paint job. Finally Specialized splashes color on their bikes. I am tired of the all white, all black, or shades of grey. To me those are lazy, unimaginative paint jobs. This bike also had electronic shifting too! I knew I had to get it for my Freddyness (is that a real word?) in me. Before I could, I would need to sell my existing bike.

My bike had 9200 solid miles on it plus my first century ride (see Wildflower Centurion), so it has a special place in my heart. It’s all stock except for the Richie handle bar, Crank Brothers Candy pedals and the Specialized FACT carbon CG-R seat-post. The bike is in excellent shape so I knew I could sell it. So happens that I ran into a friend of mine at the LBS and over heard him talking about wanting a new bike, a Roubaix! Long story short, he bought my bike and I got the new one. I had the LBS swap out the pedals, handlebar, handlebar stem, bottle cages and nick knacks. They also transferred the measurements of the old bike to the new one so it should be the same fit.

I had ordered some new speed and cadence sensors from Wahoo (Wahoo Blue SC)and I installed them when it arrived. Yesterday was my first ride, the shake down ride. Get all the glitches fixed and verify the bike fit. I had to tweak the spoke magnet a little to get steady reliable speed results. Since the Blue SC is dual band I used bluetooth to connect to my Magellan 505 and ANT+ to connect to my iBike Newton power meter. The speed matched up correctly between the two units but the cadence was about two beats slower on the Magellan. Close enough for me.

How does the bike ride compared to the old bike? Night and day difference! I felt that the new bike was a lot smoother ride especially over chip seal surface even with the 700×23 tires (Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II). I don’t know if it’s the difference in tires, rims or both, but the new bike was also faster and more nimble. Shifting is a dream! Gone is the long or short throw to shift. I just click click click like using a mouse. Sweet! Loving it!

Now to get back to training and keep on losing that weight!

Putting the Joy Back in Cycling: Getting a Bike Fit

Bike_Fit

Getting my bike fitted

Recently, my riding has sucked. I was just not comfortable on the bike after 10 miles. Pain on my right leg would develop and I would have to shift my butt on the saddle to ease the problem. Then my right knee would be hurting after a good workout and to top it off, my hands were constantly numbing up. I tell you, after 25 miles on the bike, I’m ready to jump off of it! That’s sad because I love to bike! After a lot of self adjustments to try to solve the issues, I threw in the towel and decided to get a bike fit. I need to put the joy back into riding again.

I harp all the time that you need to get a bike fit when you get a new bike, but I never followed my advice. “Do as I say not as I do”, was my excuse. Well it was time to do as I say. I initially wanted to do the bike fit at a particular shop and even went so far to call and put my name down for an appointment the following week. After talking to others that went through the bike fitting process with that shop, they were not impressed nor satisfied. Disappointed, I started looking elsewhere to get it done.

My second thought was to try Bicycle World, that is, after all, where I got my bike at. Every time I would go to the shop I would see their bike fitting station looked unused and collecting dust. Hmm, not good I thought. It didn’t seem as if they were actively promoting bike fits to their customers. I went to the Specialized website to find an authorized shop for their fit: program. Bicycle World listed them as well as Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin. I remembered the Austin store where I bought my shoes. Their fit: station was up and running with cyclists getting fitted. That’s where I wanted to go. A trip to Austin and a bike fit at the same time would be great.

Last Saturday I was riding around McAllen going from store to store and I ended up in Bicycle World for a reprieve from the heat. Lo and behold I see their newly installed fit: station all spruced up and ready to go. My interest immediately picked up and I started to ask questions about it. Are they certified as the Specialized website says they are? Yes, two members have been through the training. Have they done any fittings? Yes, they already done several cyclists and their feedback has been positive. These answers to my questions an many more sounded good to my ears, so I signed up for a Monday morning fit. This saved me a trip to Austin, that’s both good and bad.

The Bike Fit

Monday morning I’m there early and ready to go. It was a long process as they prodded, poked, measured both the bike and myself. I did the sit bone test, the arch support test, flexibility, knees, ankles and some other stuff. Finally, I’m on the trainer and peddling to get warmed up. After the warm-up, the tweaking of the bike begins and in the end I ended up with the saddle raised 3 cm, new saddle, new saddle horizontal position, stem angle raised, cleats readjusted, new and insoles.

I got the new saddle because the ISM Adamo was the wrong type for my riding style. While out riding I noticed that was sitting on the left side of the saddle instead dead center. It was also harder to get the horizontal position correctly, so I opted to get a different saddle. I ended up with the Specialized Toupé RBX Comp Gel. It’s totally different and harder but I know my bum will get used to it.

One week after the Fit

My first ride after the fit as a short 18 mile ride in extremely windy conditions. It wasn’t a fast pace ride as we had two beginners that we were encouraging and coaching. My first impressions, it felt great. No knee pain, I was able to power through the wind a lot easier with the new saddle height. I still found myself wanting to slide forward on the seat and thus put pressure on my hands and wrists. I was starting to get a little numbness in the fingers but it was not as near as bad as before. I just compensated by moving my hands to different place on the flat bar. After the ride I was fine until I cooled down and started to feel the muscle ache. That’s good because I’m using a different set of muscles now. Now, I just need to ride the rest of the week and get my one hundred miles in and reevaluate afterwards.

Well, it’s Friday and I’ve done several easy and hard rides. So far, I have been very pleased with the results. No knee or leg pains to speak of, all very minor to non-existent. Hand numbness also dramatically improved. I still have a little but nowhere near as before. Lately, I couldn’t wait to get off the bike because I was so uncomfortable on it, but this weeks rides have been very pleasant. Can you have a pleasant ride with winds at a steady 20 mph and its occasional gust of wind?

Final Thoughts

I must admit, I’m like everyone else, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”. Well, better late than never I suppose. I’m very pleased with my bike fitting experience from Bicycle World and the results that I got afterwards. My rides are now more comfortable without the pains and hand numbness that I was getting. Best of all, I’m excited to see a shop here in the Valley that will do a proper fit as well as actively promote it to its current and potential customers (this is not to say that other shops don’t offer bike fits). The more cyclists are out on properly fitted bikes, the more likely they will continue the activity and not injure themselves. That is a win-win situation for everyone. Final word, get a bike fit, well worth the money spent.

Anyone out there has good or bad experience with their bike fit, drop a comment and share.