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Knowing the difference between fatigue and bike fit issue

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Knowing the difference between fatigue and bike fit issue

Old 08-08-21, 09:07 PM
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Dr1v3n
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Knowing the difference between fatigue and bike fit issue

I started road cycling last May. I was already running 1 hour 3-4 times per week as well as weight training 3-4 times per week.

To put it bluntly, this resulted in me getting far deeper into road biking much faster than I or others had anticipated. Physically, I can do it, but mentally, I'm still new if that makes sense.

So I'm going on 2-3 hr long rides which usually consist of 30-40 miles now; my top speed is typically 30-35mph and avg speed 15-18mph. The reason it takes so long is that I end up stopping at a lot of red lights and stop signs around here. I worked my way up slowly from miles, to 9 miles, to 15 miles, etc... I live and ride in a pretty densely populated area that does have long stretches in between traffic signals. I find that I feel a soreness/burning sensation in certain body areas such as my lower back, shoulder blades, occasionally my hands where I am gripping the bars; but this is only acute. It should also be noted that I have no pain at all on the bike until riding for at least 30-40 minutes straight.

What I mean by "this is only acute" is that it will go away if for example I have to wait at a red light for a couple minutes, or if I pull off the road and get off and stretch for 5 minutes. I will then be able to ride again for probably 20-30 minutes before it comes back. After I am finished riding, I experience no pain at all, and no residual pain in my daily life either. So what I've noticed is that the more green lights I get, or the more I ride consecutively without stopping and putting my feet on the ground for a moment, the more sore and aches I get.

To me, this doesn't seem like an "injury", but just some sort of lactic acid buildup or soreness that occurs due to my posture, fit or who knows.

So that's what I wanted to ask you folks: Those of you who have a properly fitted bike, is it normal to still need to stop and stretch every maybe 30-40 minutes of riding in order for optimal comfort? Or is it that you could, e.g. ride 2-3 hours straight without one single stop and feel totally ok with no aches or pains? Would a proper fit make this so?

I ask this because I know that while a fit is important, from my previous athletic experience, working out hard is working out hard, and it tends to make people sore whether it is done ergonomically or not. I'm trying to differentiate expected soreness from a long hard ride from "your bike or posture is wrong" soreness. I have not gotten a professional "fit" in a lab by a bike fitter, but the bike shop did size me up and select the proper size bike/height for me, etc... I'm trying to decide if what I am experiencing should have me spend $300 on a fit, or if this is just what happens when you go on long rides and somewhat expected. Thank you.

EDIT: I know you folks aren't doctors and I'm not looking for medical advice, nor do I feel that I have a medical problem here.

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Old 08-08-21, 09:20 PM
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Cyclist0108
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I feel a soreness/burning sensation in certain body areas such as my lower back, shoulder blades, occasionally my hands where I am gripping the bars;
All of these, without exception, sound like they could be fit issues (and are probably relatively easily addressed by optimizing saddle height, gearing, stem length, handlebar size and positioning, etc).
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Old 08-08-21, 10:26 PM
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yep, would agree. sounds like you are too cramped into the cockpit and need to stretch it out a little more. I was off the bike due to injury for about a yr, when I started back, I had to put on a shorter stem as my reach just wasn't there, once I was able to get my back properly stretched back out, I went back to my normal stem length.
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Old 08-08-21, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr1v3n View Post
So what I've noticed is that the more green lights I get, or the more I ride consecutively without stopping and putting my feet on the ground for a moment, the more sore and aches I get.
But imagine if you get all green lights for miles. Would what you describe as acute pain turn into a more persistent issue? That is unknown.

Originally Posted by Dr1v3n View Post
I have not gotten a professional "fit" in a lab by a bike fitter, but the bike shop did size me up and select the proper size bike/height for me, etc... I'm trying to decide if what I am experiencing should have me spend $300 on a fit, or if this is just what happens when you go on long rides and somewhat expected. Thank you.
This is a hard call to make without seeing your riding position, and further depends on how good a job your bike shop did to "size you up." I likewise did not get a full bike fit when I bought my first road bike, but the REI mechanic spent nearly an hour measuring various parts of my body and adjusting (and readjusting) both a size 54 and a size 56 model of the same bike for me to try; I ended up ordering the size 54 based on further discussions with her. As I rode more frequently and for longer distances, I had to adjust various settings to adjust my fit over time. I think this was not something that could have been done in one or two bike fitting sessions when I first ordered my bike, because it took my body some time to get used to riding a road bike. You likely started road biking from a better fitness base but it still takes time for your body to get used to riding a road bike.

You may want to read up (and/or check out some YouTube videos) on bike fitting to get a feel for whether you are at least in the right ball park in terms of fit.

Last edited by SoSmellyAir; 08-09-21 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 08-09-21, 12:15 PM
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Thanks folks. I don't think I fully understood what a fit was, and your replies helped me to realize it can be an incremental process with a lot of fine adjustments. As I've had virtually NO fine adjustments, I think I really could benefit from one and have thus scheduled one for later this week. I find it hard to believe that I won't get at least something useful out of 3 hours of a pro bike fitter examining my riding and tweaking things.
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Old 08-09-21, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir View Post
But imagine if you get all green lights for miles. Would what you describe as acute pain turn into a more persistent issue? That is unknown.



This is a hard call to make without seeing your riding position, and further depends on how good a job your bike shop did to "size you up." I likewise did not get a full bike fit when I bought my first road bike, but the REI mechanic spent nearly an hour measuring various parts of my body and adjusting (and readjusting) both a size 54 and a size 56 model of the same bike for me to try; I ended up ordering the size 54 based on further discussions with her. As I rode more frequently and for longer distances, I had to adjust various settings to adjust my fit over time. I think this was not something that could have been done in one or two bike fitting sessions when I first ordered my bike, because it took my body some time to get used to riding a road bike. You likely started road biking from a better fitness base but it still takes time for your body to get used to riding a road bike.

You may want to read up (and/or check out some YouTube videos) on bike fitting to get a feel for whether you are at least in the right ball park in terms of fit.

I agree, a "proper" bike fit is one where you can go back to the fitter for quick readjustment and them hearing you out. I paid my fitter $400 last year, after which he told me I don't want to see you here for three months Don't call me. Waste of my money. I didn't want to call him ever again just because of their attitude. Of course after the fit we will have more questions there will be more pain it will have to be more adjustments, and sometimes you don't know until you try different sized stems and saddles which the fitter did not have in h their capacity etc. if you live in New York City, do not get fitted at Maglia rosa, go to acme. if I have to get a fit again, I would bring three different types of saddles, and two different sized stems, bars etc. just for the fitter to try out on me. Buy it on Amazon prime and then return it. Otherwise, the fitter and you will never know what your perfect fit is. This is something YouTube videos will not tell you.
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Old 08-09-21, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Feelgood1 View Post
I agree, a "proper" bike fit is one where you can go back to the fitter for quick readjustment and them hearing you out. I paid my fitter $400 last year, after which he told me I don't want to see you here for three months Don't call me. Waste of my money. I didn't want to call him ever again just because of their attitude. Of course after the fit we will have more questions there will be more pain it will have to be more adjustments, and sometimes you don't know until you try different sized stems and saddles which the fitter did not have in h their capacity etc. if you live in New York City, do not get fitted at Maglia rosa, go to acme. if I have to get a fit again, I would bring three different types of saddles, and two different sized stems, bars etc. just for the fitter to try out on me. Buy it on Amazon prime and then return it. Otherwise, the fitter and you will never know what your perfect fit is. This is something YouTube videos will not tell you.
That is disappointing to hear; I would have thought that a professional bike fitter would at least have an adjustable length stem, and a range of handlebars and saddles to try.
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