Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sorry for the downtime

Seeing as it is winter, there really isn't too much to report. Outdoor rides are few and far between right now, and unfortunately, even trainer time has not been great. I'm still searching for that first big sponsor and hope to know something from the latest attempt next week.

I have managed to swap out my outer chain ring and my stem, as well as working on my fit and set up. The chain ring change was purely cosmetic. The frame on my Rocky Mountain Solo CXR is black while the outer ring had been grey. It was the only 50T the shop had when I bought the bike, and I wanted to upgrade from the stock 46T. The new 50T ring is back to the original black and just looks so nice. The stem was mostly another cosmetic change as well. I replaced the original black Easton stem with a white Origin-8 model. The white now matches the white saddle and bar tape. During this process I also flipped the stem over to raise my bars to see if it helped any with some of my comfort issues I had been having, and it seems to have helped.

Raising my handlebars further encouraged me to take another look at my bike fit. I've been battling discomfort and a sore hip for a year, I know that most of it is being caused by a slight leg length inequality; my right being longer than my left. Shimming the left cleat alone didn't seem to do the trick, so I went back to square one. My biggest complaint was that it always seemed like my right leg on the down stroke of each pedal revolution was being moved in a way that it didn't agree with. I couldn't decide whether or not it was being jammed, or hyper extended.  After watching an hour or two worth of YouTube videos on bike fit, and reading and re-reading a few articles on the subject, I came to the conclusion that I need to focus on three things: saddle height, saddle fore-aft, and cleat position. Naturally, they are the three most basic of bike fit principles. After remeasuring my inseam, running the calculations, and much trial and error, I ended up raising the saddle a lot, moving it forward a lot, and moving the cleats, one backward while the other forward. I also shifted the saddle slightly to the left of center as another compensation for my uneven hips

Things are better now. I still wouldn't say perfect. A few more tweaks once I am able to get outdoors more are in order. And even then I am likely to not be perfectly satisfied. But that is more mental than physical and is something I will have to work my way through. But then again, guys like Merckx himself were always tinkering and tweaking. I am also thinking that it might be a good idea to get myself into a daily stretching routine. Perhaps something simple like Graeme Obree mentions in his book 'The Obree Way.' It is just a set of four basic stretches top keep the lower body limber. Realizing that I'm not in my 20s anymore, this too could be a cause of some of my bike discomfort.

In other news, obviously the Lance news has dominated the cycling world, with an expected on-air confession coming this evening. I see a lot of people, particularly in the cycling world, who ask why it matters now. My answer is that 1) it is bigger than just Lance, and 2) it is still about integrity. I am tempted to write a blog article about it, making a comparison to something like The Black Sox scandal in order to show why taking action even now is integral to saving the sport. If I can get something I like written in a day or two, I'll post it here.

Until then, time to wear down some more tread on the trainer...

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