Should I get a bike fit if I have an event coming up soon?
Bike Fit with an event coming up
This is a tough one. You have en event coming up which you have been targeting for months if not over a year! Say you have been doing a load of training on your bike and all of a sudden either doubt over your bike optimisation creeps in or you start getting a niggle somewhere, or, simply you wonder if things could just be better? Often in this situation cyclists are left concerned that making changes so close to a targeted event may come with a raft of negative consequences making them wish they had just left things the way they were.
At Edinburgh Bike Fitting we offer a range of bike fit services that could help you out in any of the above situations but in this article we look to give you a clear idea of how to weigh up getting a bike fit with a big event round the corner by listing the Pros and Cons
It could be the best money you’ve spent on your bike
Consider the entry fee of your event, or the cost of your cycling holiday. this could be hundreds or thousands of pounds, not to mention the countless hours spent in preparation. If a couple of hundred pounds worth of bike fit is all it takes to make all the difference its very difficult to then put a price on the value add of the fit to your comfort and enjoyment of the event overall.
it could help you enjoy your day / week holiday
it could stop you facing the broom wagon
Tweaks may be all you need
If you’re having general problems such as sore hands or a sore neck these problems can often be easily be fixed sometimes with just minor tweaks to hood set up, saddle angle or cleats. If it’s too low raising the saddle height could unlock more power and endurance or shortening a stem could reduce back pain you may sometimes face after a few hours in the saddle.
It could fix you just in time
If theres weeks or even days to go and your facing problems such as a grumbly IT band, hot spots on your feet or saddle sores then it is possible that adjustments can make all the difference.
Ive personally seen the amazing, almost instantaneous effect of having the cleat in the correct position can have on someones knee pain, 1 adjustment can sometimes take care of a problem that months worth of physio hasn’t even touched. Now, thats not me saying that such adjustments have the same effect on everyone but its worth taking into consideration that most problems that you experience only on a bike are down to things that can be adjusted on the bike position
An opportunity for great advice
One of the best parts of a fit is the conversations that can unfold during the adjustments of your bike. During this period its a great time to get advice on how to get the most out of yourself during an event. Often fitters have spoken to hundred if not thousands of cyclists so have a great wealth of experience, tips and tricks to give to every level of cyclist on a range of areas in cycling. Chances are, if there is something you’re worried about, be it something mechanically wrong with your bike and a last minute check over things or advice on how to pace yourself on a climb, training advice leading up to your event or nutrition tips for the big day itself the fitter will be well placed to offer you advice or know someone who can. In most cases you will probably leave the fit with more knowledge than you bargained for as well as a good position, if all has gone well.
Short term muscle pain
There is no doubt about it, changing your cycling position days or weeks before an event may cause you to recruit new muscles that you’re not used to using on the bike. For example, putting the saddle up and reciting more of your hamstrings in the pedal stroke. The problem this could create is in the period it takes for your hamstrings, or any muscle, to adapt to this increase in workload they could not take to that up tick in workload very well and cause you problems such as fatigue, cramp or even DOMS.
The longer you have been training in a current position before the fit the longer it may take to fully adapt to the changes and more likely it will be that you will face challenges such as muscle soreness. if you’re worried about this and its your only concern then don’t delay your booking and do it as soon as possible if there is still time.
Mistake in the bike fit
Let’s face it, mistakes happen in life, and definitely in bike fit, either by accident, miscommunication or by lack of fitter knowledge or experience. Mistakes here could be your fitter putting you in an incorrect position, or a lack or experience causing maybe too much of a change in position for you to get used to in a short space of time leaving you worse than when you started.
This could play out negatively in 2 ways, either increased discomfort or injury, either way, if the above is the case and your event is only in 2 bike rides time, that may not be long enough for you to iron out the issues with the fitter or absorb the impact to your position leaving you scrambling to revert to the old position.
A good way to avoid this problem is to check out who your local IBFI fitter is as its likely they will be experienced and reputable. Another thing to consider here is communication is key. Make it clear your event is coming up and don’t be afraid to question. a good fitter should be able to present a case to al of their adjustments and not shut down and fold on basic questions around the reasoning for their adjustments.
A factor most fitters and shops would hide away from however it is an important factor. Say the bike fit finishes with you needing to spend on a new saddle, bar, stem and shoes. Will you drop your money all at once with your event coming up or go on your event knowing there are all these things you can do to improve with that seed of what could have been in the back of your mind all weekend? Make sure you have some budget available incase changes are needed.
Is a bike fit before an event right for you?
the only person who can answer this is you. how long have you been training in your current position
You could end up far more comfortable on the big day
A good fit could end up with you feeling more prepared for your event
leave time for revisions if possible
Use an IBFI fitter if possible, if not ask around for recommendations
Take note of your before position
Consider asking for tweaks rather than major changes