Blue Competition Cycles has graciously brought me on board for the 2010 season and has given me the opportunity to ride their TT/triathlon speed machine, the Triad. I met the guys from Blue out at Coeur d' Alene last year. Some of you may have seen the issue of Triathlete Magazine last year when they had the series of photos with custom painted themed bikes, well the Triad was the Nascar bike and it caught my eye right away. I had been very interested in the bike ever since. Fortunately I got the opportunity to demo the Triad earlier this year and all the things I had heard about the bike were confirmed. It is an awesome ride. Much is made about weight and aerodynamics in the bike world and companies make claims and throw numbers at us all day long. But few stand behind their bikes like Blue does. Not only are they an American company with exceptional customer service, but if you purchase the Triad SL (the Bike Andreas Realart rode to 3rd place at Kona this year), you get a free hour of wind tunnel time on their dollar. Wind tunnel rates are NOT cheap, but the fact that Blue will put you in there and give you the numbers, shows they believe 100% in their bike. I do too.
Above is a picture of my new rig just hours after it was delivered to the boys at Palos Verdes Bicycle Center. Dave expertly built it up lickety split and it was ready to roll that evening.
The picture above is the bike assembled replicating my old position. After a test ride, I was back up at PVBC for a fitting with Steve to work on that position. I had never had a "real" fit. Just some adjustments made here and there based on how I thought I "should" be positioned and comfort. Steve opened my eyes to a whole new world with the Specialized Body Geometry fit system. I have never been one to be too impressed by gadgetry, but this system is AWESOME. I was blown away at the thoroughness employed. Numerous physical measurements were taken, flexibility and anatomical characteristics were noted, injury history reviewed, all this and I hadn't even gotten on the bike yet. Steve uses a computrainer, motion capture video, various computer screens, and numerous measuring tools to fine tune the fit. It was impressive and informative to see in real time, independent pedal efficiency, power output throughout the pedal stroke, power, etc... Once we started making changes, being able to see the effect of those changes, and judge them not only in light of the numbers reflected, but to analyze the position relative to my physical/anatomical numbers and limitations was incredibly valuable and inspired a great deal of confidence in the decisions we made. I really think this system (that Specialized has spent mucho $$ developing and uses with its top athletes) takes some of the uncertainty out of a bike fit. That is to say that I feel that in many instances, a bike fit depends greatly on the fitter. While this remains true, the Specialized system removes some margin for error with the data and feedback that it provides. Granted you still need to find a trained and skilled fitter, but one who uses the system is a great start. Steve at Palos Verdes Bicycle Center certainly fits that bill (pardon the pun). He even teaches the system to other Specialized dealers. So, if your in the LA/South Bay area, or even if your not, and your in need of a bike fitting, make an appointment at Palos Verdes Bicycle Center.
I took some very poor pictures to try and depict the fitting room, but it doesn't nearly capture the full effect. I mean, this fit produced a 4 page fit sheet with 18 "before and after" motion capture shots. Its high tech and detailed. And worth every penny in my humble opinion.
I feel extremely fortunate and I am beyond excited to be racing with the support of both these fantastic companies as sponsors in 2010. It is truly humbling and I hope to do them proud.