What an amazing week in Colorado. Last week I traveled to Colorado Springs for the Medicine of Cycling bike fit symposium held at USA Cycling. It was an amazing opportunity to share ideas and learn from some of the smartest bike fitters in the world. Topics ranged from the latest technologies used in bike fitting, managing knee pain, and optimal setup of contact points. As a bonus we also got spend some time catching up with friends at the US Pro Challenge. A good time was had, but the goal of the trip was to exchange ideas on bike fit.
Through out all the presentations there were a few common points that were continuously brought up. One of the most common was the concept that bike fit is process. It isn’t a one time deal. At a minimum, clients should expect two visits: the first initial fit and then the follow-up. This allows the client to adjust neurologically into the new position. Our bodies get used to functioning in specific patterns. When that pattern is altered it takes time for the muscles to fire efficiently again. Once the neurological adaptation has occurred we can then go back and reassess the position to see if further refinements are needed.
Some athletes also need more of an intervention than we can provide during a bike fit. Major issues may need body work done by a chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, or mobility work performed by the client. For those athletes we will want to move them from an accommodated fit around their limitations, to an optimal fit after those limitations have been addressed. All fits done by Burnham Coaching include one free follow-up for this reasons.
One other important concept presented was the concept of tensegrity, a term coined by Buckminster Fuller. Tensegrity is a system that consists of independent units (bones) of compression connected by a net of continuous tension (tendons). Essential to this idea is the fact that changing tension on one unit will effectively change the entire system. A good analogy in bikes is that of a wheel. If one spoke looses tension than the entire shape starts to lose form. The same is true to the body. For example tight hamstrings can affect your neck or pressure on your hands; or your fallen navicular may be the cause of your sore knee. Everything is inter-related and just because you have an aching neck doesn’t mean your neck is the issue. A good bike fit will help to isolate those issues and put you on a path to fixing them. This is something we have addressed with athletes for years in our fit studio and important concept for athletes to learn.
As we go into the off-season for most cyclists and triathletes, now is the time to take a look at your position. There is a lot of time to become adjusted to changes, and adapting your bike fit to changes in your fitness. An initial fit going into the winter (and doing the necessary homework to move from an accommodated to an optimal fit) and a follow-up before the season is an ideal way to address your positioning on the bike. Now is the time to get set up for an ideal season next year. Contact us soon to get your position dialed.