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Attn: Volosong - how was your fitting?

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Attn: Volosong - how was your fitting?

Old 07-29-12, 11:00 AM
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Attn: Volosong - how was your fitting?

You were getting a BG fit on Friday if I don't have my wires crossed.

How did it go? Which "level" of fit did you get? Did it address a specific problem you were having and I know it's soon, but how are the results?

I'm very close to doing the same thing, just want a little anecdotal evidence to push me over the deep-end.
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Old 07-29-12, 08:43 PM
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This is a long reply. Sorry.

Yes, I did get a BG fit on Friday, (BG = Speciliazed Body Geometry computerized fit system). A bit of background first. I have several bikes, and have only had one "pro fitted" to me, (not with the BG system). Unfortunately, I rarely use that bike anymore due to its handling characteristics. It has a pretty aggressive racing geometry, (Carlos Sastre has had pretty good results with that frame). On my first ride, on a free-wheel descent, I experienced violent front wheel wobble right when I hit 35 mph. I've since learned that it has a name, "Death Wobble", and what to do if it were to happen again. Riding on gentle low-gradient downhills where it is easy to hit 35 mph under power, (while pedaling), the bike is pretty stable. Just on free-wheel descents is it unstable for me. It's mostly an operator error and lack of experience on aggressive geometry bikes. I'll only ride that bike now when I know I won't be going down steep hills. Sad, because the bike really likes to climb.

The bike I use the most these days was built up from a bare frame, (Pinarello FP-6). It is a good bike and rides well, but I get little 'aches and pains' after a certain amount of riding. My main complaints are:

1.) left hand numbness and soreness after about 35-40 miles of riding, not so much the right hand
2.) butt pain after about 30-35 miles of riding
3.) foot soreness after about 50 miles of riding, just on the balls of the feet, the general front half of the foot
4.) lower, rear neck pain after about 60 miles of riding

My birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and I set a goal of riding twice my age in miles on that day. Coincidentally, the Cool Breeze Century ride is that day and I signed up for the double-metric century. It might be a mile or two short, and if so, I'll just ride those extra miles to get in 122 miles for the day. I used that as the excuse for getting fitted on my main bike.

A week ago yesterday, I woke up and installed cleats on my new shoes and headed off for a century. That was a mistake. I rode 50 miles with one cleat twisted about a single degree and it bugged me the whole first half of the ride. At the turn around point, I stopped at a bike shop and borrowed a wrench to turn the cleat to match the other. I scored a deal on those shoes, available during the on-line vendor's TdF sales. I got the last pair of 46.5 sized shoes and they fit like a glove. Perfect! Nice and snug.

A LBS that I'm impressed with their mechanical expertise gives BG fits, but after several weeks of trying to schedule me in, they finally told me that they could not service me in the way a customer should be and that I should check a shop in Valencia that also gives BG fits. I called them and set up the appointment for this past Friday.

When making the appointment, I talked with one of the qualified BG fit techs. He was not the one to give me the fit. He told me to wear my normal street cloths and to bring my bibs/shorts, shoes, and bike. He did not want me to bring both sets of my shoes, (a mistake I'll get into later), just the ones I would be using the most.

I arrived on time at 11:00 and the tech worked with me until 2:00. A whole three hours, uninterrupted. He was totally focused on me and getting me fitted.

The first part of the BG fit is the personal interview. He took general information, such as height, weight, cycling goals, riding style, etc. He also asked for my specific complaints; what aches and pains do I experience when cycling and what do I hope to accomplish with this fit. It was a pretty extensive interview, fairly detailed.

Then we go over and he has me sit on the "ass-o-meter". Well...that is what the kid called it. It is a heat sensing, high-density, cloth covered foam pad that you sit upon. You lean forward and sit there for about a minute. When you get up, he quickly measures the distance between your sit bones. From this, he can determine what size saddle you need.

After that, I go in and change into my riding cloths while he makes measurements on my bike as it is currently set up. This established my present baseline. After the tech finished with that, he ran me through a series of physical exercises that served to measure my flexibility. Part of this is also a medical history interview to identify anything that would affect flexibility or what could not be done as regarding fitting my bike to my body.

We checked the width of my current seat and it is within the parameters of what size seat width I should use. Whew, I don't have to purchase a new seat, (good for that; I use Sella SMP seats - the first seat I've used that doesn't cause me to go numb "down there").

Finally, I get on my bike and start riding. For the first five minutes, I'm warming up while he sets up the cameras and the computer. There are two cameras, one on the side, the other head on. He watches me. Watches the computer. Thinks a bit. Asks some questions. Watches the computer screen some more. The first part of the bike to set up is the back half, (saddle position, pedal position, cleat position). He says the cockpit is mostly a personal preference thing, that the seat position is pretty exact and critical.

The results of setting the saddle area, after I get off and on a bunch of times, checking this and that, over and over; is that we lower my saddle about one centimeter and move it forward about a centimeter. (He does not set the angle, up or down, of the seat...and did not address it. The angle of a SMP seat is somewhat important. You can only sit in one position - one cannot slide forward or rearward on a SMP seat.) Among the things looked at are the angle of the knee at the bottom of the stroke and knee position in relation to the pedal axis at the extreme forward position of a stroke.

He was finally happy with my pedal motion. No knee in or out during a stroke rotation and extended knee angle halfway between minimum and maximum recommended for most efficient power transfer. My cleats did not need to me adjusted, fore or aft, nor twisted. My foot position is perfectly mated to the pedal, as I knew it would be. But, there was still the foot pain complaint and he had me remove my shoes and stand on a heat sensing pad which recorded my footprint. From that he could tell if I had flat feet or needed some type of arch support.

This was something new to me. I had always thought that only the front part of the foot is used in a pedal stroke. That's the only part pushing and pulling on a pedal, right? I learned that cycling shoes usually don't come with much in the way of arch support. Specialized BG fit arches come in three "sizes". I need the one that gives the most support, (high arches). Boy, does it give my foot a whole different feel. More on this in the results paragraph below.

Finally, we moved to the cockpit area. Again, he says that it is a personal decision and that once the right postiion is found, you will get that eureka moment. "That's it!", you'll say.

I'll skip most of the details of the cockpit fit. They wanted to sell me a new set of bars and stem, but I don't like those funky shaped bars with weird contours. Yeah, they do kind of mold to your hands when riding in the drops, but I rarely ever ride in the drops. I like the traditional shaped bars. I do need a shorter stem, partly because I've been riding a little farther aft than where I should be riding and because I like my Deda Elementi Newton Deep bars, which have a longer reach than normal. The shop does not sell Deda Elementi, so I'll get my new bars and stem elsewhere, (most LBS don't stock much high end stuff. That's understandable because most casual riders won't pay for the good stuff or speciality items). I do need narrower bars because the tech noticed that I bend my wrist a little bit inward. We also lowered my bars by 25 millimeters, (that's a lot).

Now, to the preliminary results...the very next day, (yesterday), I rode GMR/GRR to Baldy Village. For those reading not familiar with SoCal rides, GMR is Glendora Mountain Road and GRR is Glendora Ridge Road. The ride from Glendora city to Mt. Baldy Village, out and back, is a 42 mile ride with about 5,200 feet of climbing in the mountains.

This was the wrong ride to take with a new bike fit. No neck pain on the ride, so that is good. Bud I did get numb on my left hand a few times. Bummer on that. I just changed my hand position and the numbness seemed to go away. But, two new pains appeared. My left hamstring started hurting. That never happened before. Never in high hurdles on the high school track team, on the cross country team, softball, never in cycling. I just massaged it a bit while riding. Wasn't bad enough to stop, but something is definitely not right.

My family jewels got numb, but not enough to stop and get off the bike. And, something is not quite right with my right knee. It doesn't hurt, but like a lot of parts to our bodies, we normally don't notice some part of our body until something happens to attract our attention. On the drive home, I noticed that my right knee was there. Not painful ... but something.

On the way home, I stopped at the shop and spoke with the same tech that gave me the fit. I went in knowing that I really didn't want to change anything yet, but wanted to ask anyway. I did wish I could raise my seat up just a bit. It just doesn't feel like I'm extending fully and I'm missing a tad bit of power.

The tech said that it is good to not change anything yet and I shouldn't do such tough rides. I need to go easy for a few rides so that my body could adjust to the new settings. He was impressed that I have my heart rate zones printed up and pasted to my top tube. I don't use a power meter and can't justify the expense. Heart rate training is good enough for me. He wants me to ride in zone 2 or 3 for the next several weeks. He thinks that since I've been riding in my current position for so long, that my body needs to adjust to the new position. He believes that the new position is optimal for power and riding efficiency while also mitigating any physical discomfort I experience while riding. He wants me to come in just before the double-metric century to see if we need to tweak some measurements. The left hamstring hurting, he says, is because my body has not adjusted to the new fit yet. If both hamstrings hurt, then it was a fit problem.

For three hours, it cost me $200, not including the two sets of arch supports. I'm going to have to work with those arch supports a bit. Those new shoes I mentioned...the ones that fit perfectly, or at least they used to. With the arch support, I didn't experience bottom lower foot discomfort, but the shoes are very tight now with the insert. I'll have to figure out how to ride with them looser. My other shoes are Diadora size 47 and were a bit loose inside. The arches should fit well in them. The tech wished I had both shoes with me when I was fitted.

The tech was surprised that I wanted a copy of the bike measurements so that I could apply them to my other bike. I was told by others that I would get a copy of the measurements. I'm going to stay on top of that. He said he would e-mail them to me. If I don't get them in a week or so, I'll go in and bug him. I paid for them, why can't I have them?

So...the jury is out on if it is a good fit or not. I'll have to give it a couple more weeks at a low intensity ride effort level. Then we'll see.

Does this answer your questions? Sorry I rambled so long.

Last edited by volosong; 07-30-12 at 02:18 PM. Reason: misspellings and grammar
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Old 07-29-12, 11:45 PM
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I appreciate the rambling... which shop in Valencia? Performance? I work in Valencia and periodically visit that shop.

I was thinking of getting a fit in the next week or two but I'm also doing cool breeze (100 miles, not double) so I will definitely wait till after the fact.

Among other things, my hands start going numb when I ride - I've switched gloves, put that gel padding under the bar tape and moved my bars around, nothing seems to matter. it's instantly relieved by taking my hands off the bars for 10 seconds but... my feet also go numb (two little toes) and my left foot has been bugging me so I was hoping for a more glowing experience. I mostly just ride through it, and I have some new shoes coming on Tuesday that may address my foot issues.

My theory, which may not be true, is that specialized had "systematized" their fit so that you could go anywhere and get a reasonable result - perhaps it still comes down to the particular tech. There's a guy in the Burbank area that people rave about (Nate Loyal)... maybe I'll suck it up and drive over there.
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Old 07-29-12, 11:56 PM
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Yes, Greg at Performance Cyclery. Sharp kid. The other tech, Frank, is the one who told me to not bring both sets of shoes. I'm happy with the service Greg gave me. Just need to put a few miles in now. Even though I'm not used to my fit yet, I'm a firm believer that a good fit will mitigate pain caused by time in the saddle. It really worked on my other bike, and I expect it to work on this bike. Just need to allow my body to adjust.

Spent all day trying to put together my new TT bike. I'm really starting to hate internal cable routing. Those things are not very consumer friendly. I'll probably have to take the bike in for check out and final assembly of the things I can't figure out.
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Old 07-30-12, 04:46 AM
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volo: great report.

Are you using clipless road pedals? If so, what type? I find the spd pedals give me hot foot.
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Old 07-30-12, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
volo: great report.

Are you using clipless road pedals? If so, what type? I find the spd pedals give me hot foot.
Thanks.

SPD-SL on all my bikes. I can't ride without being clipped in one way or another. I have to go zero float also. Just a 45-year history of riding.
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Old 07-30-12, 10:02 AM
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Nice [strike]rambling[/strike] writeup! Thank you. I live about 3 miles from Performance and have wondered how they do with the fit. I know it's too early to tell, but when you decide, I'd love to know if you are happy with your choice to go there or if you regret it. I truly hope it works out to be a good move.

Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
There's a guy in the Burbank area that people rave about (Nate Loyal)... maybe I'll suck it up and drive over there.
I know Nate works out of Helen's in Santa Monica, but where in Burbank is he? I work in Burbank...not that I'm dropping the coin on a fit for a while.

Last edited by PhotoJoe; 07-30-12 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 07-30-12, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for that long writeup.
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Old 07-30-12, 01:43 PM
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Could be santa Monica. Both are ebf when you're driving from Whittier.
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