Yes, this is very specific! To begin with: I've been tri'ing for a year now, it's official. In July, I have my first 1/2 IM, and I couldn't be more excited. However, I COULD be spending more time on my bike, but I'm not comfy.

This is a Giant OCR3, yes, the compact-sized Shimano Sora etc. etc. stock $600 entry-level. I'm young and poor, and learned to tri last summer through Team in Training, so that's where my money went. Bear with me...

I put profile century aeros on. I bought double-sided SPDs from the bargain-bin MTB rejects at the LBS. ...and I just trained and learned by doing, I guess.

With the increased mileage, I've become pretty uncomfortable on this bike. Perhaps it's true that as a female of the species, I was more comfortable with the seat a bit lower than usual, and the aero bars kind of pointing upward at an angle, so that my back would be straight when aero. Over time, I've become jealous of the power advantages of the "real" aero position, so I flattened the stem (adjustable on this bike) and aero bars, and raised the (hitherto just fine and comfy) seat only a little, tipping it forward a smidge so it wouldn't smush my lady parts while hunched over.

Thereafter, I did some hilly group rides with hammerers, and in keeping up, seriously strained the front of my left knee. Since it still didn't hurt while running, I followed lots of ice and tylenol with a bike hiatus, some running, and concentration on my swim form. But it freaked me the heck out, so after I moved from CT to DC, I found the most friendly of "LBS"s (where are the small deals around here?), and laid out some serious cash for a FIT.

They took their time, we discussed the whole situation, and I found out one leg is shorter than the other. They swapped out the stem for a shorter one. She(!) was surprised that I liked having my seat so far back; apparently I was very stretched out for this position. After raising the seat a whole heck of a lot more, and tipping it back to almost flat, and bringing it forward just a bit, she was satisfied.

Clearly, I can go back and give feedback and we can work on it till it's perfecto (pending the usualy 4-day wait period at this very popular place). However, after 30 miles like that, I couldn't stand it any more, and tipped the seat forward and slid it back so that a) I will still be able to experience personal pleasure sometime in the future and b) my back will actually be straight.

Then the handlebars rocked forward during some very bumpy urban riding, so I put them back to an approximation of straight, and the aero bars too. Almost two weeks and 150+ miles later, I'm almost back to where I started. This weekend, I'm doing 56 miles on this bike, and I can only pray that I'll come through it without hating the bike.

I would welcome your opinions on this saga. Do I simply need a new saddle for the new aero position she gave me? Is there any conventional wisdom on the tri-i-fication of compact-design bikes (can't find any on the net)? Any cheap wimmens out there, like me, have any experience with adapting the fit themselves?