Triathlon Tips From Ironworks Multisport: Is A Professional Bike Fit For You?

Bryan Sobey of Ride On Multisport

I’ve always been a little bit resistant when it comes to bike technology in triathlon.  After all, the most important thing is the engine, not the machine, right?  Well, these days, it turns out that the machine is pretty important too.  A quick look at any Ironman results will show you that while swim and run times have stayed fairly constant since the late 80’s, bike splits have fallen dramatically over the last few years.  Even more importantly, many athletes have reported having faster times on the bike with lower power outputs after refining their choice of equipment and position on the bike.  That means going faster with less work.  Who could argue with that?  So what’s a triathlete to do, rush out and buy a $10,000 super bike at the first opportunity?  No so fast.  One of the most common mistakes that I see among triathletes is picking a bike just by the price tag, assuming that more expensive means more speed.  But keep in mind that just because a bike costs a lot of money doesn’t mean that it’s the right bike for you, and no bike is going to allow you to achieve peak performance unless it fits.  The solution is to get some expert advice: seek professional help when you select your bike, and get a professional fit to ensure maximum performance on your new machine.

This past week I was able to observe a bike fitting for Jeremy King, an athlete that I coach, at Ride On Multisport in Anderson, SC.  The fitting was conducted by Bryan Sobey, who is a Serotta and Retul certified bike fitter.  This brings me to another point: not all fittings are created equal.  If you decide to go for a professional fitting, make sure that you’re working with a certified professional.  Serotta and Retul are two of the best certifications.  Bryan started the session by checking for anatomical issues and restrictions in flexibility and range of motion.  It’s important to remember that flexibility is a key factor in bike fit, and that you can only set the front end of your bike up as low as you can go while maintaining a flat back.  After Jeremy got on the bike we checked some numbers on the Computrainer and identified areas with room for improvement; with a few adjustments Bryan was able to increase his power output by about 10 watts.  We even threw on an Osymetric chain ring on the front, which was quite interesting, but that’s enough  of a subject for a whole other post.

This was just the first step in Jeremy’s fitting, we’re hoping to get him on the Retul in the next couple of weeks, and I’ll write an update after that session.  But after the initial step of the fitting I have to say that I would consider it an essential step for every serious triathlete.  If you invest your hard earned money into buying a great bike, and you invest your time into training hard to prepare your body, why not make the most of it?  Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for a follow up post on the Retul fitting!

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Ironworks Multisport Triathlon Tips: K-Swiss Blade Light Review

As busy as I stay with my coaching business, I’m still out training every single day, not only because I love the sport but because I find that it keeps me in touch with what’s going on in the triathlon world.  In my effort to help bring you the best free triathlon tips, I’m going to start to offer some product reviews of things that I like and use every day.

I’ve been loyal to a certain brand of running shoes for over a decade.  They sponsored my college track and cross country team, and I had a shoe deal with them while I was racing professionally.  I have to pay for their shoes now, but I’ve stuck with them for a long time because they supported me.  But I think I may have to think about switching.

Like practically everyone in triathlon, I’ve seen how many pros have been switching to K-Swiss running shoes over the past few years.  I grew up thinking of K-Swiss as purely a tennis shoe, so I guess I’ve been a bit late to jump on board with them as a running shoe.  Well, I’m glad that I’ve finally caught up with everyone else.  I just started running in the K-Swiss Blade Light and it might just be the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever worn.  Starting from the ground up, the material for the outsole is pliable, but firm enough for most surfaces.  The insole stays put even during faster tempo paced runs and speed work.  Where the shoe really shines is the uppers, which I love for what they don’t have.  I’ve been plagued by blisters on my arches for years because of all the cosmetic stuff that shoe companies feel that they need to plaster all over their shoes.  K-Swiss hasn’t put anything over the arch so there’s no stitching to rub the inside of your foot, and that means  your feet stay happy and blister free.  The toe box is roomy and comfortable, the laces are a unique design that stays tied and doesn’t slip, and the shoes weigh in at a light and responsive 9.6 ounces.  I find them to be perfect for training and also long distance racing. They do seem to run slightly large, so you may consider ordering a half size smaller than your regular shoe.

Thanks for reading my product reviews and triathlon tips, please be sure to come back soon for more great free triathlon training information!