Cycling

Never once suspectin’ what the final result would be

Yesterday I bought myself a little present.  I’m sure there are more economical ways to do what I did, but it’s a present.  And it will change the quality of my life.  And it was totally worth it.  Yesterday, at the request of my chiropractor, I went to PK Cycling and got my bike fit.  For those of you who don’t bike, that may not make a whole lot of sense.  I mean how freaking hard is it to adjust the seat on the damn thing anyway?  Well, apparently, harder than it looks.  Really any moron can adjust the seat, getting it right is a whole different matter. These guys have made an art and a science out of the minor adjustments on a bicycle.  And they’re damned good at it.  As a matter of fact, these guys are one of three in the world who are being credited with creating the art of fitting a bicycle.  That’s kind of cool.  Chris Kautz did my fitting.  A great guy full of knowledge (and he smells nice too).  I was impressed with how well he conveyed what he was doing and how it affected my body on the bike.  It’s all about angles and position.  In the end he dropped my seat almost a centimeter, changed the angle by 1.1 degree, moved the cleats on my shoes forward about a centimeter, brought the handlebars back about 4 centimeters and down about 1.5 centimeters.  It doesn’t sound like a lot, but but it feels like a lot.  I’ve been having two major issues on these distance rides, one, my feet hurt.  A lot.  My right foot has a neuroma in it.  Back in the 90’s I had the same problem.  It took a lot of PT and finally three different sets of shots into it to make it go away.  Unfortunately, my awesome Podiatrist back then has since retired.  The little bastard is my age and I find this to be wrong wrong wrong.  One because he was one of my favorite Doctors ever, and two he really knew his shit.  I had a plantar fascia release within a week of another woman in the office.  I was walking in about a week just fine and running again in a month while she was still hobbling in a boot.  He was a gifted surgeon.  I could use him right now, but he’s retired.  The other issue is my hands and shoulders get fatigued.  The adjustment he made to the pedal should end the foot problems and increase the power I deliver to the pedal stroke.  In my brain that translates as more bang for the buck in the effort department equals better performance.  Equals YEA!  The adjustment in the seat will also help deliver more power to the pedal stroke.  More YEA!  It also centers and balances me more on the bike.  The handlebar adjustments bring the handlebars back in closer to me.  I’m less stretched out, or over stretched is a better word.  It tightens up my position putting less fatigue on my shoulders by allowing my arms to be in a relaxed position most of the time.  I asked him about the drops since I rarely go into the drops, really on descents and occasionally to build up some speed.  I was wondering if I shouldn’t go to bullhorns.  He said most riders only spend 5-10% of the time in the drops.  That’s about what I do so I’m going to leave that alone.   Then yesterday got out of control and I couldn’t go out and play and get my speed work in.  I’m supposed to do hills today, I think I might go a little longer and get both workouts in.

I asked Chris what his degree was in.  I figured with everything he knew it had to be some sort of exercise physics or something bizarre.  Actually, his degree has nothing to do with what he does.  He was a professional cyclist and was going to school at the same time.  He wanted to keep being a cyclist but wasn’t making enough so he went to school too which helped him get by.  He and a buddy were sitting around one day trying to figure out how to get faster and essentially extend their cycling careers.  Since they were in grad school by then, they really knew how to think in the esoteric grad school kind of way.  They figured that to maximized efficiency on a bicycle the could enhance performance.  They did the research, wrote protocols and got noticed.  They adjusted bikes for a few friends and it just grew from there.  Cyclist who have had their bikes adjusted by him have won things like the Ironman and some of the world’s best cycling events.  They’ve been written up numerous times in Bicycling and other cycling magazines.  Chris told me he did Levi Leipheimer’s bike several years ago.  I’m a Levi fan so I thought that was pretty damned cool.

They also build bikes there.  Everything is totally custom.  There is no point in my life where I could ever justify these guys building me a bike, they run around $11k each.  I can sit there a look at them and say “That’s really pretty”.  And this is very pretty.  I’ll never be a big enough dog to justify owning something like this but how cool is it?

guru

PK Cycling is a wonderful story about following your passion and it makes me happy to see that there are folks out there that get to do a great job while making a good living.  And thanks Chris for making my little present to me happen.

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