Bikeless, cold, and confused…

If you’re familiar with the song library of he great Ben Folds and Ben Folds Five (actually only three dudes and not five), the title of this post is a play on their song “Selfless, Cold, and Composed” – it’s a great song in the form of a jazz trio.  I’ve been known to swing periodically with my musical listening tastes, and my educational background as a high school band director (yes I was Mr. Holland’s Opus for 5 years) has given me a wide variety of music to draw from.  My iPod running playlist is hysterical.

My training has been light due to an impromptu vacation we took to the Pocono Mountains for some skiing this weekend – and boy was it cold and windy.  Unfortunately I came home with a souvenir I didn’t want and that was a stomach flu that lasted for about 4 days.  I lost about 4 pounds the wrong way too, and just today (Wednesday) I feel relatively normal.

Some good news – I finally sold my bike on Thursday to a guy that saw my ad on Craigslist.  In the three weeks I had the bike posted, I encountered one other half-serious buyer that was a good distance downstate.  Part of the sale was a pre-paid annual tune-up at a chain of local bike shops through 2017, so someone from a distance away would not find that beneficial.  Luckily the guy that bought the bike lives around the corner, and he’s 6’4″ so the 62 frame is good for him.

So Monday was an off-day, and I was still very much recovering from the stomach bug.  I hadn’t eaten anything in almost 40 hours, so I’m not sure why keeping my GuruFit appointment with my local bike shop seemed like a good idea?  I arrived at the shop wearing my bike shorts under my jeans and with my tri bike shoes and Look pedals.  I was walked to the rear of the store where a small fit studio was set up, and I saw this thing:

Not from the Starship Enterprise, nor a medieval torture device...

Not from the Starship Enterprise, nor a medieval torture device…

There are only about 40 of these units in use around the country.  My shop has had this since November, and the word is starting to get out.  The process sounds unique in that the adjustments are made real-time via servo motors and hydraulics.  Tom, the owner of the shop, had to go through quite a bit to obtain one of these systems, and then to be trained.  The process involved setting up a fairly benign triathlon posture set to my height and general flexibility fitness, so after taking some measurements he set the bike with a Zipp cockpit and a Specialized Toupe seat – these components appear to be very close to the used Cervelo I am considering purchasing from a guy on my tri team.

Front view

Front view

So once the general dimensions were placed and my pedals were attached I jumped on.  I told Tom about my bout with the flu over the weekend and he said that no big exertion was needed.  He set the Computrainer for a conservative 150 watts and I started to pedal (we eventually backed it down to 125 when I began to fall apart towards the end – it wasn’t pretty).

I can compare this process to the eye doctor, “Better here….or here?”  He began moving me into a more aggressive posture and changing angles and orientation, while also watching my cadence and my output.  Since this was my first taste of a real triathlon aero position, it was difficult to me since EVERYTHING felt odd.  The confusing part about it was that some of the adjustments were 5mm or less at a time!  Keep in mind my riding to this point has been on a standard road bike that has been too long for me, and my aerobars were hopelessly too far out to be comfortable.



So we worked into a series of three different “fits”, and not surprisingly they all ended up within millimeters from one another.  At that point, he put some markers on my hip, knee, and ankle and took some video for analysis.  As part of the after-action report, he will do a side-by-side with a cycling pro for a comparison (and a laugh I’m sure).  I thought ahead and found the old geometry numbers for the Cervelo Dual (P1) and gave those to him.  Unfortunately every manufacturer has a slightly different way of determining their geometry measurements, so some assumptions need to be confirmed before Tom can tell me whether or not the 58 Dual will/will not fit me in this GuruFit position we found.  He thinks it’s a good possibility it might, but there are some seatpost angle options that might be the difference.

I was pretty blasted when I was done.  I was under-nourished, slightly dehydrated, and still whoozy from the flu, but I managed to pedal pretty continuously for about 45 minutes during the session.  The price for this was $200, which is more expensive than the typical road fit.  The triathlon position is so technical that the process is much more involved to get a good position.  From what I gather, it’s comparable to the Retul system, and some of the other fit methodologies out there (and believe me I am not an expert here), but it sounds like the $200 is a pretty good value comparing to some of the other options.

So I’m hoping to get that final report in my hands shortly.  I’m looking for a green-light on that Cervelo, and then the fun will start.  Until then it’s getting back into the swing by building baseline fitness for the beginning of my program and learning how to eat/digest again!


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