Thursday, 20 November 2014

Getting (re)acquainted with #Rinnie

I bought #Rinnie last year for this season. She is a rather sublime Planet X Exocet 2 in matt black. After I bought her I had a bike fit but never truly settled in a comfortable position.

I spent most of this season tweaking my position to something I could withstand for a sprnt distance event. I thought my positioning was okay until at Brigg Triathlon when someone commented about my wandering left knee. There’s even a photo showing my left knee in another postcode to me and my bike.

After more tweaking ahead of Drax, I thought I had corrected my knee. Yay. However in doing so I lost all semblance of comfort that I had managed to obtain. Boo.

Enough was enough. After much deliberation, I decided I needed another bike fit. After spending many hours perusing the internet and asking for people’s recommendations. I decided to take a trip to Cannock to visit Bridgtown Bike and their level 3 fitter Mike Taylor.

Mike has fitted many top athletes including Chrissie Wellington and Tom Lowe and now he would be fitting me. I booked my appointment for a Saturday (yes they can fit in around your work) at 10am and made my way down to Cannock.

As soon as I sat down with Mike, I felt at ease and knew I had made the right decision. We talked about everything from my hip (the pin which I suspected was the root cause of my wandering knee) to my past life as a sedentary being. After about half an hour, Mike started to take some measurements starting with my feet, then loking at my cycling shoes and watching me walk and testing ankle flexibility before I was finally allowed to unveil my knee issue.

After cycling on the turbo, Mike immediately saw the problem (it wasn’t hard to miss) and said he knew how to fix it. HOORAY. Mike said e has to correct this problem about twice a year. Great trust my body. The problem was (drumroll please.........................) I have a wide stance.

A what?

A wide stance? Yes I know I have knocked knees but I didn’t know I had a wide stance and a high “Q Factor”.

Because of this, my feet when clipped to the bike and being forced out of their natural position and being forced inwards which was causing my knees to track outwards.

Mike fitted some spacers to my bike, between my pedals and cranks and told me to give them a go.He also had to fit some new pedals as the Look pedals on #Rinnie had the wrong fitting for the spacers.

After I got back on, my wandering knee was not wandering as much as it had been. Hooray.

Following some more iterations to my position including altering saddle, altering cleats lowering saddle, Mike then fitted some “shims” in my shoe underneath my insoles and for once I could feel where I was or was not applying pressure through the pedal stroke.

My knees now piston up and down rather than doing the Hokey Cokey. He gave me an exercise to do to relieve the tension in my back which has plagued me this season and resulted in numerous trips to the Physio to relieve the pain in my feet.

Mike then watched my pedal some more and was amazed at the differences he had made to my position and power output in the 3 hours. I felt so much more comfort on #Rinnie and didn’t have the aching quads I have become accustomed to.

My quads have been aching when pedalling because Mike theorises I have only been using a percentage of each (of the 4) quad muscle when pedalling because my knees have been tracking in and out rather than acting like pistons.

Because Mike paid attention to the unique biomechanics of me, I was so relieved and the level of service was second to none. During my previous fit, it was a bike fit by numbers and although I was fitted, I wasn’t comfy. Mike looked at everything from the ground up and I am hoping that the changes he made will allow some significant improvement in my bike splits next year. He was amazed I have managed to go so quick considering I had such a poor position. Brute force and ignorance does have its uses.

Now I just have to get used to this new position over the winter before the first triathlon of next year.

Mike said I can go back to Bridgtown in the spring for a follow up and he will further tweak my position to enable me to get the best out of my bike.

Considering that when I went to Bridgtown I had convinced myself I would have to trade #Rinnie in for a different bike as she wouldn’t fit me, I was pleased to be leaving with a bike which I finally feel comfortable on and only a small dent to the wallet (pedals, spacers and bike fit).

I can’t praise Mike enough. His demeanour was superb and he instantly made me feel at ease and he listened to me before using his vast knowledge (of biomechanics and cycling) to give me a bike fit which was personalised to me. Thanks Mike

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, 2 November 2014

2 years on

I can't believe it's been two years since I gave up smoking. At todays prices and given I used to smoke 200 cigarettes a week, I would have saved over £8000 if I'd put it all in a jar, but instead I found triathlon. And I am so pleased that I did.

2 years ago I wrote this blogpost
Last year I wrote this blogpost

2 whole years in a new relationship with my lungs and body. I can't believe how much my life has changed in those two years either.

I am now a triathlon coach, have helped set up a new triathlon club which now boasts nearly 100 members, have a love affair with triathlon, have completed triathlons at every distance and finally settled on the distance I enjoy most. I can't wait to see what the rest of my new life has in store for me.

Looking back on my life from two years ago, I spent a lot of time drinking in pubs, eating the wrong food and generally abusing and poisoning my body. Nowadays I spend most of my spare time exercising and I bloody love it.

I love challenging myself and pushing my body to work harder. Yes running is still not my favourite thing but two years ago I couldn't run to the end of the street whereas now I run three or four times most weeks.

The last two years have had their ups and downs but that is life. I am so much healthier since my decision to quit and really enjoy my new found love of exercise.

I am a proud ex smoker, I wish I had found triathlon sooner in my life and stopped poisoning my body sooner.

Every time I see someone smoking I want to scream at them and point out the damage they are doing to themselves and how with some hard work they can achieve one of the best things they will ever do.

Giving up smoking was a life changing moment for me. At times it was hard but it was so worth it. I just wish everyone else still stuck in the trap could see sense.

Thanks for reading,

A proud ex smoker