Getting Dialed

For the past two years, I've been working on getting my bike dialed.  I've gotten close, but haven't really nailed it.  This year, I'm determined to get my bike set up exactly how I want it.

One of the things I didn't like about my bike was my handlebars.  I had two piece aerobars so my aerobars bolted on to my base bar.  That's not bad, but my arm pads kept slipping and it drove me crazy.  This year I bought new bars that are one-piece so that's not a possibility anymore.  The pads bolt directly to the base bar.

The other trouble spot is my saddle.  I've had one that was okay, but it still got very uncomfortable at times.  This year I bought an Adamo.  It's a strange saddle, but I really think I'm going to like it.  I've only gotten two rides on it so far and it's been good.  They're hard saddles to dial in, but once you do they get great reviews so I'm feeling pretty good about this one.

Also, Wednesday I went in to Crono Metro for a bike fit.  I had a good position to begin with so the changes we made were subtle, but very noticeable on my ride yesterday.  We raised my saddle height about 10mm, which is pretty significant considering I went in with a good saddle height.  This gives my legs better extension and is helping me produce a little more power. This was a really good change, and believe it or not, very noticeable.  We also lowered my bars a bit.  On the trainer, I was comfortable every time we lowered it, but Crono thought I should move them back up a bit (from our lowest position) because they said in the past they have been able to put a couple of people in a position so aero they can't breathe - yet they can still pedal smoothly.  

It turns out I'm one of those people.  They said they do about 400 fittings per year and are only able to get about 5 of those people in a position as aero as mine.  In the end we had my bars 10mm lower than when I came in, but my new bars lower my position a little by having the arm pads mounted directly on the base bar.  

I rode yesterday and felt good.  My new bar pads are slightly more narrow than my old ones so I need to get used to that.  It's not bad, but noticeably different.  I felt fine until I did a threshold interval and couldn't breathe.  My power was higher than typical and my legs felt smooth and powerful.  It was great.  But not being able to breathe was tough so I raised my bars another 5mm when I got home.  I'm hoping that helps.  I have a sprint tri tomorrow so I'll get a chance to test it.

Not being able to breathe out there might sound bad, but working with Crono I've learned it's a good thing.  I found my limit.  Most people - me included - tend to stop when we find a good, comfortable position.  But they keep going to see where the limit is.  It makes sense, and that's how we found such a good saddle position.  My original position was good and that's why I stopped there.  But we found that 5mm higher was better, 5mm more was even better and 5mm more was too high.  We found my limit and then backed off.  Then we did the same thing with my bars.  It took an outdoor ride to realize I was beyond my limit, but it's good to know where the limit is.  I'll find out tomorrow if I'm still beyond my limit or not.

I still have a few problems to solve and I have some ideas so I'll post pics when/if I solve these issues.  I want to improve my computer mount (it drops from the weight of my Garmin - it's mounted on my aerobars).  I'm also searching for a great way to mount my spare tube and CO2 behind my saddle.  

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