Three to four times a year I attend races not just as a competitor, but also as a sponsor/exhibitor. One such race is the Hell of the West, which is held in a town named Goondiwindi in Western QLD, close to the border of NSW.
I’ve been attending this event the past 4 years and it’s become one of my favourites.
In 2015 the Hell of the West committee asked me to stay an extra day and bike fit some of their members. Since then I’ve been fitting at the expo the day prior to the race, and this year, with a bit of forward planning, I booked people in prior to arriving in Goondiwindi.
On the Saturday morning, when I’d finished setting up, I had 4 pre-planned bookings. By 11am I’d taken another 5 and worked back-to-back with 9 clients for 9hrs.
At the expos’s I use video to help me analyse the riders position – I can’t use the Retul motion capture system outside in the sunlight. That, along with discussion and a generous serving of empathy, helps me determine what changes I should make to optimize not only their comfort and performance on the bike, but also how they might run off the bike.
At times we draw quite an audience, my clients and I. Some are intrigued by what we’re doing and add their names to the list. Other’s shake their heads in disbelief and pose the question – “Why on earth would you get a bike fit the day prior to the race?”
My answer is always the same – “The wrong position is the wrong position, whether it’s a day, week, month or year before the race”.
I meet plenty of people at races who dread getting on their bikes, that’s what gave me the idea of fitting at events in the first place. Some simply won’t change anything, for fear of what I’m not sure – the unknown?
Of the 9 people that I fit on Saturday, 8 were racing Sunday. I caught up with 7 of those on Sunday afternoon and all of them had positive experiences to report. Here are quotes from a couple of them:
“I like most was quite hesitant about getting a bike fit done the day prior to racing with the attitude of don’t try new things on race day, well I now believe this is the one exception! Thanks to Michael not only did I bike well but I was able to run better as well!!”
Jarrod was the first age grouper over the line and 10th overall. He biked 2:07:47 and ran 1:15:37. It is nigh on impossible to have a strong run off a strong bike if you’re not set up correctly.
“Thanks Michael, good weekend. Glad I “rolled the dice”, felt good. Looking forward to seeing some further progress on the bike with the changes. Might catch you in August at sunny coast 70.3 thanks again.”
Chris improved his 2017 Hell of the West bike split by 18mins and the run by 31mins.
Now I’m not taking credit for these awesome performances, but what I will say is what Jarrod and Chris both said – rolling the dice and getting a bike fit less than 24hrs before a race isn’t as crazy as it might seem.
So when is the best time to get a bike fit? Well I shall answer that one with an old chinese proverb:
“THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE WAS 20 YEARS AGO. THE SECOND BEST TIME IS NOW”
I fit one-on-one in my home studio on the Sunshine Coast. At various locations across regional QLD including Toowoomba, Hervey Bay, Gladstone, and Agnes Water (ask me – I may come to your town). At events I sponsor, such as the Hell of the West and the Hervey Bay 100. And remotely via Skype and video analysis with clients all over the world.
For further information email Michael at [email protected]