Fit for Finals

The countless hours spent in the saddle should be comfortable ones. In addition to the fatigue and muscle soreness from pushing hard up and down numerous hills, there should be no pain from a correct bike fit. After breaking my frame (see my last post) I had a hard time being comfortable on my Trek Superfly. After a few pedal strokes into my ride I would start to have acute lower back pain. This pain was exacerbated by my crash in the fourth race of the season at Vail Lake. Physical therapy helped to heal my back, but I was still struggling with the bike fit issue–the root cause of my back pain.

The solution was to get a professional fit from the experts at Moment Bikes in Liberty Station, San Diego. Normally the fits are for road or cross bikes, but their training covers a wide range of bike types and certification from multiple bike fit programs.

Here Vince Gonzales, the bike fit engineer, is taking my measurements. Apparently I have abnormally long legs compared to my torso.

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The entire fit is done on a machine that mimics your bike exactly. They took the measurements from my Superfly and copied them onto the computerized bike machine. They then work with you to adjust the bike machine to find what is comfortable for your body and its optimal riding position.

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They also look at the contact positions on your feet. Here he is sizing up the contours of my feet so spacers can be added underneath the cleat on my shoe. This helps prevents hotspots on long rides.

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Another thing we looked at extensively was the saddle. I tried multiple saddles before deciding on the Specialized Romin. It was by far the most comfortable, and I also felt like it improved my posture on the bike.

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After working with me for two hours they took the final, most comfortable measurements off the machine and adjusted my mountain bike accordingly.

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My final impressions after some days in the saddle following my adjustments were all positive. There was definitely an increase in comfort. I had no little to no back pain following my fit, and the rest of my body felt much more at ease. I also felt like I could put more power on the pedals and boost my speed.

So you may be wondering what happened at league finals—stay tuned for the next post….

On Patrol with Fellow Mountain Bikers

Community service is required for most high school graduates and is an important part of the college application. It is also a good practice to cultivate throughout your life. Naturally, I want to volunteer in an area related to mountain bikes. A few months ago my coach, Chad Leptich, invited our team out to patrol with the Cuyamaca Rancho State Mountain Bike Assistance Unit (MBAU). Once a month, Chad and other volunteers of the MBAU ride throughout our local state park, scouting for trails that need maintenance and talking to other riders. As an added bonus, Chad informed me that I was able to gain community service hours for my time spent on the trail. I have participated in two patrols already and I look forward to many more rides with the MBAU.

In addition to doing patrols, the MBAU is responsible for creating new trails throughout Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. They are constantly organizing work days to help maintain the trails in my backyard, and new trails are also tirelessly being created. They are also responsible for hosting the Cuyamaca Rancho Benefit Ride. The annual event includes a ride through the park with multiple stops where participants stop and collect cards to make a poker hand, followed by a spaghetti lunch and extensive raffle. For 25 years they have hosted this event in the park. I have been able to ride, be stationed at a card stop, and walk away from the raffle with numerous goodies.

FullSizeRenderTeam Gold is representing at the 2015 benefit ride–Chad is second from the right (blue jersey). I didn’t ride because I was in the middle of my cross country season but my mom and I were at one of the card stops along the route. My dad had the best poker hand at the end of the ride and won a Shimano XTR wheelset!

Like Son, Like Father

It all started last summer when I broke my frame. I put a big crack in the carbon on the top tube during a ride. With the race season over, I took my bike down to the Trek Superstore in Kearny Mesa to get my frame replaced through Trek Care Plus. (This is a wonderful program that fixes almost anything for a modest one-time enrollment payment, but unfortunately is no longer offered.) They gave us a Trek Fuel EX full suspension bike during the time that my bike was getting revamped. With the fast-approaching cross country season I was putting more miles on my legs than in the saddle. This left a cool loner bike sitting in the garage.

During my riding downtime Dad took up mountain biking more seriously on the loner bike. He had acquired a Trek 820 when I first started riding, but as a starter hard tail bike it was good for easy flat rides, but it was hard on him on the more difficult trails and steep climbs. The difference between the two bikes was like night and day. In his youth, my Dad was an extreme athlete climbing Half Dome, summiting South American peaks, and leading 21-day backpacking excursions. After years of working from home, his sedentary habits have caught up with him, but with the easier-to-ride Fuel EX he was determined to work on getting back into shape.

Fortunately I got a new frame for my bike, but unfortunately that meant in late fall my Dad had to part with the loner bike he had been consistently riding all summer. Since then excuses for not exercising from my Dad all alluded to the fact that he no longer had a good bike to ride. We finally put an end to these somewhat valid excuses two weeks ago when my dad purchased a brand new bike. Gone are the days of toothpick stantions and mal-shifting. He got a brand-new Trek Remedy 29’er. The bike is designed to be an all mountain bike providing my Dad with lots of cush on his rides.

Beyond the new bike, however, there is something more special going on. My Dad has developed a passion for the sport I love, and we are able to share that in common. This connection brings us closer because we are able to bond over bikes and being in nature. I can share with him my knowledge of trail tips or mechanical bike advice, and he can get in shape while spending time with me, especially since I’ll be on my bike a lot from now until May.  I look forward to the many shared rides to come.

IMG_0170.jpgWe broke in the new bike on a 15 mile ride up Rainbow Wash in the Anza Borrego Desert. While the rest of us got ready David took a quick snooze.

IMG_0213.jpgDaddy getting acclimated to the new setup. Thankfully we had just gotten a good rain so the sand conditions were good.

IMG_0228Standing proudly at the turn around point in the ride. The new bike served him well!

IMG_0237Our coach, Chad, and my Dad camping out in the shade and getting a bite to eat while David, Ryan and I explored the canyon.

IMG_0241Fifteen minutes of climbing up the sandy canyon walls led to this shot. I’m not sure if it was worth the struggle. It does, however, display the new frame Trek hooked me up with!

IMG_0238My bike also got swallowed up by the sand in the making of the photo above.

temp.jpgDavid also broke in his new bike!  ( Guest post coming soon from David about this bike.  Key word: sponsorship.)

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