How Much Of A Difference Does 2 Millimeters Make?
I’ve written a few posts on bike fit, specifically about the importance of how well my road bike fits to me (not the other way around), here, here, and here. While I haven’t tinkered much with my setup of late, I did raise my saddle the other day by about 2 millimeters because I felt like my butt was riding a little low. I have my seat post marked with a Sharpie so I can always get back to the proper height if one of the shop techs moves it, I couldn’t see the end of my mark so that suggested it indeed was a touch low. I assumed that it wasn’t tightened properly the last time I had it to the shop. Figuring that the post slid down a little, I raised it to the proper level so I could just see the end of my mark. To give you a firm idea of just how insignificant that is, it’s less than a tenth of an inch. I made this change after my 39 mile ride on Tuesday (after which I felt fantastic) and before my 16 mile ride on Wednesday evening. Riding on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was fine, but after my longer 30 mile ride yesterday, I noticed that my “hot spot” on my right sit bone is back – if I let this go, the soreness will spread all the way down my hamstring. So, to sum this up, I went from feeling great to having a hot spot on a sit bone because of 2 millimeters… That’s how important a proper fit is. I’ll be lowering it back to its previous position when I get home this evening and should be right as rain by tomorrow morning.
If you’re on a bike and it hurts, if your form is even close to fair, it’s more than likely your setup (unless you just doubled your mileage in the last week or so in which case you should expect to be a little sore).
That said, what led up to my misdiagnosis of a low saddle was actually a good change in progress – I was becoming incredibly comfortable in the saddle. Live, Ride and Learn.
PS: By the way, that just got me to thinking… I did write about slamming my stem a couple of weeks ago (along with changing the angle of my bars/drops/hoods)… That took a little bit of getting used to, but I’ve been stretching quite a bit to try and limber up to try to fit better on the lowered bars. It hasn’t been perfect, but I’m getting a lot better, and that really showed some positive results yesterday on that 8 mile trip headed into the wind… The location of my hoods is absolutely perfect and that’s taken some of the pressure off of my shoulders. Truth be told, it would probably wouldn’t hurt to raise that stem a couple of millimeters too – I’ll have to toss that one around for a bit.
I upgraded my Endomondo app on my iPhone this week – they’ve added interval training to their list of workouts. They’ve got three intervals pre-programmed and you have the ability to build your own in with three different intensities – Low, Medium and High. The first two Interval programs appear to be for running, you’ve got the Standard which lasts 21 minutes and starts with a 7 minute warmup followed by 1 minute on and 1 minute off intervals. The second is a pyramid set that starts out with a 5 minute warm up followed by a 30 second high intensity period, followed by a 1 minute recovery period, a 45 second high intensity period, another minute recovery, a 1 minute high intensity and another minute recovery. The middle of the pyramid is a 1 minute 30 second high intensity period and then the back side of the pyramid is the same as the front. The pre-programmed interval is for Tabata Training – 10 seconds off, 20 seconds on x 8.
I’ve already programed an interval workout for my 16 mile ride, but I won’t be testing that until early next week. I’ve got six days to go until my first 100k so this week I’ll be tapering in intensity until Sunday – I may even take a couple of days off.
In riding news, I went out for a 30 mile ride yesterday that I knew going in would be tough – we had 20 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 35 or 40 and I had a stretch of 8 miles dead into it starting at mile 18 and extending to 26. I saved myself on the first half figuring that stretch into the wind would be just brutal and I was right – though I managed to maintain a much healthier average speed than I’d anticipated – even while I was going through it. The wind was far too stiff to hear my Endo chick calling off the miles and time so I assumed that I was somewhere around 12-14 mph. I was wrong, it was more like 16-17.5, but I didn’t figure that out until I pulled into my driveway. When I woke up yesterday morning, I’d planned on my 35.5 mile loop, but amended that while I was cutting the grass earlier in the morning, and I’m glad I did – my shoulders are absolutely killing me this morning. I was tucked so low to beat the wind that I had to crane my neck a little bit more than usual just so I could see where I was going. Add to that the fact that I had to hang on quite a bit tighter to keep the bike from swerving into traffic with the gusts and I’m one sore puppy. Overall, I was glad to get out and I had a really fun time – for at least 18 miles.
Week in Review:
Last week was a pretty big week. I took a day off last Monday because of sustained gusts of 50+ mph, but still managed 131 miles on the week – fairly decent considering a 50 hour work week. I had my Tuesday evening group ride for 39 miles (including a 6 mile warmup), followed by 16 miles each day through Saturday and my 30 mile ride on Sunday. Total time: 7 hours: 8 minutes – or a little more than an hour a day.
Cycling Challenge: 588 of 16,289 (Top 3%)
Calorie Challenge: 1,191 of 24,223 (Top 4%)
Coming into the last week of this month, I couldn’t be happier with my ranking – when I get into these challenges, I’m hoping for a Top 10% finish – keeping in mind that we’re talking about the top 10% of people who go to the trouble of actually tracking their workouts, a group more intensely focused than your average “I go for a 20 minute spin around the block” person. With a career and a marriage and a couple of young ones to look after, in my opinion that’s pretty good.
This Week’s Plan:
For this week, I’m ratcheting the intensity of my rides way back so I’ve got some stored aggression for Sunday’s ride. I’m planning on 16 today, a day off tomorrow (or maybe a short spin on the fat tire bike), 16 on Wednesday, a 4 mile run on Thursday, an easy spin on Friday (13 miles) followed by a short, easy run on Saturday – somewhere between 5k and 5 miles. That Saturday off the bike is going to be a big deal. Saturday’s are my fun ride days, so I should be raring to go Sunday morning.