Learning to ride again

What a weekend!  I attended the Bikefit level one seminar with an amazing group up in Glen Spey, NY.  It was an amazing experience to learn and hang out with some of the legends of US cycling – Mike Fraysse, Betsy Davis and Paul Swift at the Fraysse Sports Resort.  And the group was so well rounded with Beth Mason (BKM Bike Fitting) co-teaching, another physical therapist, an experienced rider and fitness club owner from Trinidad, several bike shop owners and employees and an air traffic controller.  Yes, we made sure he stayed awake.

Luckily I was able to get up there early enough on Friday to get in a solid 60 miles of riding on some of the greatest roads around.  All different terrain, beautiful scenery and very little traffic – it’s no wonder that riders come from all over to stay at the resort.  Then there’s Mike’s incredible cooking that kept us fueled up through the weekend.  It was good that I got in the ride when I did because the next two days were non-stop.

With the meet and greet out of the way Friday evening following dinner, that left a full day on both Saturday and Sunday to go through numerous fittings.  I was lucky enough to be one of the test subjects on Saturday afternoon.  Never did I imagine that I’d be on and off the bike throughout an almost 6 hour period.  I figured – I’ve been riding long enough and without any pain that my position should be good, right?  I’ve always fit myself by feel and I’d never had a formal fitting done (it’s hard to fit yourself!).  Still, I thought I’d be an easy fit.  Wow, was I wrong.

BEFORE

It was quickly pointed out to me that I sat crooked on the saddle.  I didn’t really believe them at first until they pushed me over to where the center was.  I thought I was going to fall off the right side of the bike when I tried to stay centered.  So Paul was able to come up with a ‘device’ that gave me feedback when I was sitting centered on the saddle.  This helped some issues but it was clear that the left leg issues that I’ve had lead to even more problems.  My left foot swiveled so much through the pedal stroke that the group had a hard time even knowing where to line up the laser level.  To sum up, hours later, several cleat wedges, setback plates, insoles and even a little bit of magic from Paul himself (a custom cut wedge for the heel) and finally we had the proper alignment.  At least I had the saddle and bars in the correct position.

AFTER

Even with the AFTER photo – I’m still working hard to get back over to the right side of the saddle.  It’s going to be hard learning to ride again after developing those bad habits over the years.

Still, it was an amazing learning experience to see what could be done not only with myself but others we fitted throughout the weekend.  The changes were profound with each rider even though we were only dealing with millimeters of change in most cases.  Thanks to Bike Fit Systems for this amazing class.

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