Triathlon Bike Fitting with Alter Ego Sports

Triathlon Bike Fitting with Alter Ego Sports


If when you’re on your tri bike you’ve got
any of the following issues: sore back, sore shoulders, sore neck, sore legs, sore knees,
sore ankles, sore bum, or your training partner’s just a pain in the ass. Well we can’t fix
that one but all the other issues can likely be fixed with getting a good triathlon bike
fit. So that’s why I’m standing outside of my favourite local bike shop here in Winnipeg,
Alter Ego Sports, we’re gonna go inside and chat with the manager and head fitter James
who’s gone though over six years of professional triathlon bike fitting and he’s one of the
most accomplished and trained bike fitters in Canada. Hang around for it James let’s start by telling everyone what
your official title is as far as bike fitting goes. Bike fitting goes? Certified Body Geometry
Masters Technician. That is very fancy, how long did that take you to get? Back and forth
about ten years. So throughout that whole process you’re going through road bike fitting,
triathlon bike fitting, a little bit of physiotherapy, body structure- everything. What did you learn
going through that whole process as far as the differences in what you’re thinking about
as you’re considering setting up somebody’s road bike vs their tri bike? I think the biggest thing is you’ve got to
get off and run your bike, after the bike. Road cycling we get off and have a beer or
a coffee after. Ideally yeah. What are the considerations that you need to think about
as you’re setting up that bike so that you can run after freshly. Set up the tri bike
better than a road bike, you’ve got to look at hip angles. Make sure the hamstrings aren’t
strained too much, and then the front end of the bike when you’re stretched out. We
don’t want to be in a superman pose we want to be in a comfortable position within your
bodies limitations. So you don’t want to be too stretched out, you don’t want to burn
out the hamstrings too much – yep – that’s how you end up cramping up often if you’re
stretched out – possibly – and you’re burning out one side as opposed to the other? Possibly. So let’s get into giving everyone some tips
on the things that they need to consider as far as the entire process of bike fit. It
starts before you even buy your bike right? A proper sized bike is always the best place
to start. And then getting into a fit afterwards really dials in and makes sure that the small
nuances are addressed. Is there ever a time where someone would be on a 51 road bike and
a 54 tri bike? Depends on the brand, some will fit slightly different between a road
bike brand and a tri bike brand, but most of the time we’re gonna stick with the same
sized bike. So a lot of people have gone through buying
a bike in a shop, doing a fit themselves, maybe the person eyeballed it in the shop,
tweaked it to get it kind of close. You at Alter Ego have a lot of training, a lot of
equipment here. What is all of this allow you to do as far as how much better you can
get it dialled in than when you’re just eyeballing it? Well, we’ve got a lot of tools at Alter
Ego.We’ve got the Retul Move and the Vantage system. We’ve got the pressure mapping system
from Trek for saddle analysis so we can look at pressure left right fore aft. They’re all
tools, we have to go through the full fit to get those small nuances ironed out, looking
at your flexibility, range of motion, how you’re built, how you’re stacked up, all plays
into how the bike should fit. How accurately does all this equipment allow you to measure
how your body is moving, is it down to the millimetre, down to the thousandths of a millimetre?
Probably down to a few millimetres of three dimensional tracking with the Vantage system.
So that’s infrared tracking dots all on the body that we can see where you’re knees tracking,
where your arms – knees tracking side to side up and down all around – all over the place. So how many points on the body is that Retul
system measuring? I’ve got to count that up. So the Retul Vantage system is counting out
about eight points on the body. On each side? Sixteen in total. Sixteen in total..stickers
all over yourself. Yep. And they’re measuring side to side, up and down, front back, basically
how your body is moving in a three dimensional space. Yeah One of the biggest things in the bike fit
philosophy that you said to me before was: where does it hurt? That’s what you want to
start addressing. What’s the number one thing that triathletes come in saying that it hurts?
Saddle. Saddle? Saddle is always a bad spot because in a tri position you are sitting
differently than a road bike, sometimes the hips are rotated forward. So we spend a lot
of time working with saddle. And what are some of the ways that you start addressing
that saddle, if somebody says I can’t sit in the saddle for too long, I’ve got saddle
sores, what do you start thinking about? So we can try a whole bunch of different saddles.
We can use pressure mapping to do analysis of what’s going on underneath while you’re
riding in real time. And the position of the bike is a drastic influencer n the saddle.
Think about how wide the pelvic structure is, male vs female anatomy, there’s different
issues that we have to address. So there’s lots of things that we can do with that. One
of the things that you changed with me was the angle of the saddle, is there ever a situation
where a rider would want a saddle slightly out of level depending on their body structure
or is level always the way they want it? Most saddles are designed to be set up level if
not just off level slightly, but if we go too much you can slip with the hips and slide
down the saddle or if it’s tilted up you’re getting pressure where you really don’t want
pressure. What’s the next most likely thing that a triathlete
comes in saying hurts? Probably shoulders or neck. Is that largely the front end of
the bike, handlebars? Handlebar width, height, reach, it all is factors, helmets, whether
you’re using glasses or not, if you where contacts or not makes a big difference. Go
on that. Go on with that? Elaborate. Well if you’re low in the front end and you have
to look through a pair of prescription sunglasses or prescription glasses and you can’t see
through the rim of the glass we got to address the fit to address that. Third most common pain that triathletes are
coming in with? Feet or knees. And how do you start addressing that? We look at, in
the Body Geometry fit we look at the Z-planes, so we look at how the knees are tracking left
right along the inside line of the pedal. Knees tracking up and down and we want to
make sure that they’re within your natural alignment and we can effect that by stance
width, foot issues, we can look at arch support, different shoes, everything is driven out
of the foot. How often would you get into orthotics with somebody? We don’t do orthotics,
that’s something a podiatrist or a physiotherapist would do but I will work in conjunction with
your physio to make sure we get that dialled in properly. And walk us through the range of motion that
your foot is going through as it’s collapsing through the pedalstroke. So the pedalstroke
is a little different than a running gait. In a pedal action we are on the forefoot of
the pedal so we can to support the arch so it doesn’t collapse and lose energy in the
pedalstroke. Potentially if you have limited strength in your arch, you will collapse your
knee can move in your ankle can move in it will effect all the way up into the hips.
So we want to stabilize that for more comfort and stability So one really interesting thing that you mentioned
to me that I had no idea you actually consider in a bike fit is the difference between how
you set up a bike for a sprint, an olympic, as you start getting into longer distances
you said that it actually changes, or should change? It should change. So how much would
it differ from that starting point in a sprint up to where you get in an Ironman? So an olympic
we go 0 to plus five degrees more, olympic 5-10 – 5 degrees more with the hip angle?
opening the hip angle – olympic is five to ten and then ironman is ten plus depending
on the athlete A lot of saddle manufacturers are going to
split nose, no nose, curved saddles, flat saddles, all different kinds of saddles. Tell
us about some of the differences you consider as you’re looking at all those different types
of saddles, a little bit about the pressure mapping system before. Usually when you come
into a bike shop you get sized for a saddle, if they do sizing, we’re looking at ischial
tuberosity width. Ischial Tuberosity being? Is your sit bones. So you want to be supported
by your sit bones on a road bike. In tri we rotate that pelvic structure a little bit
further forward because of that tri position so we want to more onto what’s called the
pubic ramai it’s another part of the pelvic structure. So the split nose allows us to
roll onto that more comfortably so that’s why we set up a lot of people on those split
nose saddles to get support off the skeletal system not your soft tissues. How does the
pressure mapping start coming into that? We use the pressure mapping to help choose the
right saddle and also to look at the overall position because if the handlebars are too
low you rotate your pelvic structure more you might be putting pressure where it shouldn’t
be. It’s tough to ask people “Where do you feel pressure?” with pressure mapping we can
see exactly where it is and how much weight you’re putting in the front, in the back,
left right, whether you’re weighting and unweighting the saddle properly through the pedalstroke.
So it’s a very powerful tool. What happens if the numbers tell you a different
thing than what the riders telling you? That’s why we do follow up fits cause if something’s
not perfect and we do small increments in the fit because if there’s something drastic
we want to change we have to do small steps. So if we do a drastic change then send you
out on a ride and you hurt yourself well that’s not good, we don’t want to break the athlete.
You’re not very fast if you’re broken. Nope. So any parting words for things that triathletes
need to consider as their thinking about caring for their bike their bike fit? Always clean
your bike after every race or if you do a lot of big indoor training sessions. We have
a lot of corrosion built up over the winter on a lot of people’s bikes; sweat, grime,
gatorade, we call it triathlon juice it’s all over the downtube, you all know what it’s
like. Why are we so much more guilty of that than road cyclists? I don’t know. We just
are? Yep. We’re just bad, we’re just bad? Just don’t make me look bad. Just be better,
just be better to our bikes? A clean bike is runs better. Is it fater? Yep? So there
we go, alright, so keep a clean bike. Keep a clean bike. And we’ll be faster. Yep Alright thank you very much James if you haven’t
seen the road bike fit session that we did with him I’ll link that up here and in the
description below. So if you live in Winnipeg or you visit Winnipeg I would certainly recommend
that you stop in to Alter Ego. In my opinion I think that they’ve got certainly the most
knowledgeable bike fitters in the city, and probably some of the most knowledgeable people
on the floor that can help you out with just about any bike issue whether it’s repairs,
maintenance, new bikes, which bike is right for you, they’ll never steer you wrong here. That sounds good. Yeah that was good. I don’t
think there’s anything else. Oh wait, what’s the last thing? A-race? Whisper: kill your
next a-race. Oh yeah. Say it say it. Kill your next A-Race. There we go YEAH, it took
a while but we did it!