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A Custom Fit

by Meghann on June 22, 2013

I am the world’s biggest procrastinator.

When I first bought my beautiful Felt B16 back in January, they did a quick fit for me on the bike and told me to come back in 30 days for a full custom fit. Since I had never ridden in aero position before – or even been on a tri-bike before – they wanted me to get comfortable on the bike first and figure out what I liked, didn’t like, or where problem areas were before the full fit. That way I could come back and have an idea what I’m looking for. They didn’t even cut my aero bars down, assuming I would be back soon enough.

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Ummm… yeah. That didn’t happen. Life got in the way and all of a sudden it’s June and I still hadn’t gone back for my custom fit. Oops.

For anyone who is unaware what a “custom fit” is for a bike, it’s where they adjust the bike (seat, handlebars, aero bars, etc.) to mold to your body to get the most comfortable/ aerodynamic experience out of your ride.

It took one good friend’s hassling of me needing to get it done to finally get back to the bike store for my fit. He was even the one who made the appointment for me! Talk about a good friend! So last Wednesday between fitting in my last ride before leaving for Chicago and seeing Spirit of the Marathon II, I headed to Flying Fish Bikes off MacDill for my custom fit.

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Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of my actual experience, but it was such a great experience (and I could seriously feel a difference on my bike ride yesterday), I wanted to write about it.

Flying Fish has this really cool computer bike fitting software that takes video and measurements as you ride. They hooked my bike up to the trainer, then took video of me riding from the side and front in 30 second increments. Once he had the video, he would do screenshots and measurements of my angles to see where I’m at compared to where I should be.

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(From Flying Fish Bikes Facebook)

Before I even hopped on the bike, the specialist walked me through some flexibility exercises to see where my flexibility was and base where my measurements should be off of that. As predicted I have zero flexibility in my hamstrings and am crazy flexible in my shoulders. He also asked what I was training for. Apparently there’s a difference in what kind of fit you get based off of whether you’re doing sprints or endurance races. I told him I’m training for my first Ironman and will be spending a lot of time on my bike for the next 20 weeks.

I’ve been really lucky (KNOCK ON WOOD) to not have any major pains on the bike. My seat hasn’t bothered me and my back/shoulder generally feel pretty comfortable. However, I do have a problem with my knees turning out when I ride. I thought it was because my bars needed to be cut, but after watching me ride, the specialist pointed out that my knees are nowhere near hitting the bars and are naturally turning out. Since you typically want your knees in a straight line when you ride, he inserted some wedges in my cleat to tilt my feet up and make my knees go in a straight line.

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As soon as he put them in I could feel an immediate difference in the way I rode. My knees were going in a straight up and down line, instead of a circle. This will save me from having problems with my knees later on, as well as provide a more efficient pull and push during my ride.

Once he fixed my legs, he moved to the angle of my back, adjusting my seat up and down to get a straight line, then to my shoulders where he worked on tilting my bars up and down to make sure sure my elbows were right below my shoulders in aero position, and I could just rest my hands on the bars instead of feeling the need to grip them.

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(again, not me, but the basic idea of the measurements he was taking after each adjustment)

After all the adjustments, my bike fit me like a glove. I felt really comfortable just sitting on the trainer and couldn’t wait to take my baby out for a ride. I left my bike at the shop over the weekend to get the bars cut and a tune-up. I picked it up as soon as I got in town on Monday and was finally able to take it out for its first ride yesterday.

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Wow. I’m wasn’t sure how much of a difference a custom fit could really make, but trust me, it does! Not only was I more comfortable on my bike, but I could feel the difference with how efficient my pedaling was. The ride just felt smoother and I wasn’t as worn out keeping a certain pace for so many miles. I wasn’t exactly Speedy McSpeedster all of a sudden, but I did feel a tiny bit more confident pushing myself.

Before my fit I felt like I was struggling to find a comfortable position on my aerobars. I had to stretch out to put my elbows in my pads and thus gripping my bars to hold on. Yesterday I fell naturally on top of the pads and didn’t have to hold onto the bars at all. See how my brother is just casually resting his hands on top of the bars in the photo below?

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That’s what I was like for the majority of my ride and it felt great.

I was on the bike for almost three hours yesterday and while the space between my shoulders was a tiny bit sore, I wasn’t in pain anywhere. I came off the bike still feeling good.

Before my ride, I fueled up with a stack of greek yogurt pancakes with almond butter and berries.

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So. Good. I love having a full meal before a long ride, a snack just doesn’t cut it.

For fuel on the ride, I filled one of my three water bottles up with gatorade, had two of the new PowerBar fruit blends (LOVE these!), and a Clif Bar.

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I was making great time…. right up until the time it started raining. It POURED the last 5 miles. Not fun.

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I had planned to run a couple of miles afterwards, but I was done at that point. Rain sucks.

I rushed home and made a Cherry Chocolate Spinach Smoothie.

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This cup x2!

Want to know what helped me get through the long ride? Knowing I had a massage appointment that afternoon. With Ironman training, I’m thinking about joining one of those monthly massage places. The membership rates aren’t terrible and the perk of having a massage every month is a great carrot to dangle in front of myself to stick with it (especially when the rides/runs get longer and longer).

Has anyone ever done on of those memberships before? Thoughts?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 RunEatRepeat June 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

I need a massage so bad I’d let anyone rub me at this point…
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2 Megan (The Lyons' Share) June 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm

I “gave myself” a year membership to Massage Envy this year for Christmas… And it was the best gift ever. It’s pretty no frills (much different than a spa-experience massage), but it’s awesome to look forward to every month as you say, and I really think it helps my recovery! It’s also fun to push my training the last few days before a massage because I know I’ll get to work out the soreness!! I say do it- you deserve it!!!
Megan (The Lyons’ Share) recently posted..Turkey Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Recipe

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3 Whitney June 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I just joined Massage Envy last week to help get me through marathon training. Having waited too long last time I knew they’d have to become a regular thing – but $150 every 3-4 weeks isn’t an option so after some validation from friends I decided to give it a try. Surprised to say – one of the best massages I’ve had (and I’ve had them in all kinds of settings). My next one is with the sports masseuse who I hear is great. I’m sure like anyone else it’s about finding a masseuse that you like (and of course the one I had is leaving) but for $59/$39 per month I’m impressed so far.

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4 Jan @ Sprouts n Squats June 22, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Wow definitely sounds like getting your bike custom fitted made a huge difference. It is so interesting how advanced the technology is!

I wish we had those monthly massage places here in Australia as I’ve never heard of them before but they sound great!
Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Fabulous Fitness Survey

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5 Nina a. June 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I had a monthly membership at Massage Envy. I loved it but cancelled once my therapist left. She actually opened her own shop so I followed her there. Go for the membership, if you get them done regularly, it is well worth it.

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6 Sara @ lovingontherun June 22, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Wow I know nothing about bikes! I am glad you were able to finally get that done! That smoothie looks delicious! Enjoy your relaxing massage 🙂
Sara @ lovingontherun recently posted..How to Have a Successful Long Run

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7 Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen June 22, 2013 at 8:47 pm

Second that! I know nothing about bike! .. So cool to learn about this.
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8 Allison June 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I used to have a monthly membership for massage, until they closed shop. In recently training for a half marathon (my first!) I was seeing my regular massage therapist once a month and my super deep tissue massage torture lady over couple weeks. Super deep tissue is unbelievably painful, but it allowed me to get through my training which was being impacted by my tight hip flexors.
I think its absolutely worth the expense. Some health insurance plans allow you to use your FSA dollars for massage (w/ script from your dr). My doctor was very happy to write a script for me!

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9 Karen @ Runner Girl Eats June 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

A monthly massage sounds like a genius idea. Def a nice treat with all of your training!
Karen @ Runner Girl Eats recently posted..Celebrating the first day of summer

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10 Molly @ There Goes Molly Rose June 22, 2013 at 10:18 pm

That reminds me! I bought a massage off groupon and need to get on using that sucker!
I’m thinking I need to get a bike fitting! My hubs and I went biking for about an hour today, and while I feel fine I am sure my bike could use some adjustments…..I don’t want problems later on. Especially since I am starting to love this sport and want to keep at it! 🙂
Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!
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11 Debby June 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

I live in small-town America (STA) but have a sports massage therapist. I see him every other week usually for an hour. SOOOO helpful for training. It’s not a “fun/relaxing” massage but a “get the kinks out, this can hurt A LOT” one. Ask about that when you book! And since it’s STA my price is ridiculously cheap! Like $55/hour (for a FULL hour!)

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12 Keith June 23, 2013 at 10:56 am

Hi, got here from SUAR. Good to get the custom fit. Getting regular massage during IM training is totally worth it. Just make sure to get someone that specialize in sports and deep tissue massage. Having someone give you a bit of a rub and tickle while waving an incense stick around won’t do squat for you. Make sure they do feet and calves, they are going to take a pounding. It’s worth avery penny. I was getting it done every three weeks. The best part is that some therapists will come to your home! That’s right, they will set up a table at your place. You have no idea how nice that is to finish your massage and not have to go anywhere. Hope your training goes well!
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13 sarah June 23, 2013 at 11:46 am

Do it! I have a monthly membership at massage envy and its great. They r very knowledgeable and great for sports massage.

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14 Meghan June 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I’ve heard a lot of good things about massages and recovery. I’ve been wanting to get one for months now. Definitely need to look into the year membership with Massage Envy.
Meghan recently posted..Lazy Sunday

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15 Taryn June 24, 2013 at 10:50 am

How do you not get bored doing these long bike rides? I can’t seem to make it over 30 miles without being bored out of my mind and mentally wanting to be done!

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16 Meghann June 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm

I do get bored! Those last few miles are always torturous, but there’s nothing I can do but push on. If anything, being bored encourages you to finish faster.

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17 Melissa June 24, 2013 at 11:44 am

Looking at the shot of your bike from on top of the aero bars made me think of something that might help you with your Ironman training. I also have a Felt TT bike, and I HATED the arm pads. As soon as I’d start sweating (which I know FL is crazy humid like Houston), my arms would feel like they were slipping around. Plus, they’re just really not very soft. Do yourself a favor and get a set of CeeGees Cushys! They make them in the specific shape that will fit the Felt bike, and they are soooooo much more comfortable. I was struggling getting through 30 miles before getting them, but I was able to ride all 112 miles of IMTX only getting off the bike once. They made training and racing soooooo much more bearable.
Melissa recently posted..Life After Ironman

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18 Shelly June 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm

My husband and I have memberships at Massage Envy for monthly massages. We love it! The best part is that, if you don’t make it in that month, you don’t lose your massage – you can use 2 the next month! That’s good for busy people like us who can’t always make the time every month.
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19 Jessica June 25, 2013 at 10:11 am

Definitely need massages for all your hard work. Check out Carrollwood Massage Therpy. Jamie is great and he is an athlete to so he knows how to take care of you.

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20 Katie @ A Full Plate June 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I don’t know if they have one in Tampa, but I’m a member of Hand and Stone in St. Pete. I went there for a massage with a friend and it was the BEST massage of my life. And in my massage drunkeness I had no problem signing the dotted line for a membership. Compared to spa prices $50 a month for a massage is really not bad at all! At Hand and Stone you can choose between a facial and a massage and they also have other services like waxing.
Katie @ A Full Plate recently posted..Weekly Meals and Fitness (June 24 – 30)

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