As I was riding my bike today AL Pacino’s speech from “Any Given Sunday” came into my head, “Inch by Inch”. If you have heard it you will remember it, if not check it out. Pacino talks about how Football is a game of inches. Well, if that is the case, Triathlon is a game of millimeters! One millimeter too far back you lose power, one millimeter too far forward your back hurts and you lose more power. For me,this is something that I kind of knew, but honestly didn’t really understand the full benefits or the science and skill behind it until the other day! Something happened. For the first time in my life, when I jumped on a bike, it felt like it was part of my body. Sounds crazy but that is the easiest way for me to describe the feeling after Kevin Saunders of KGS Bikes built my new Parlee TT.
Let me take you back a few weeks when I walked into his studio; a confident rider and pretty happy with the way I have been getting it done on the bike at triathlon. As soon as Kevin told me what he could do for me in terms of eliminating my lower back pain, making me feel more comfortable on the bike, stay in the aero position for all of the race and allow me to put out more power while still been able to throw down a fast run, I was fascinated and wanted to know more!
Kevin smiled and said “Let’s get to work.” He spent hours on every aspect and detail, making sure we get it right. He double checked my power output and my comfort level as my optimum position revealed itself. I started thinking “Why haven’t I done this earlier? All the time I have been giving my competitors an advantage.” But as luck would have it I managed to meet one of the best guys in the business and now advantage is back to Wade! I have never seen another fitter work like Kevin and though he told me what he was doing, I realized he was letting my body tell us both where to put the saddle and aerobars. This is the real difference, as there was no prior plan, just the truth of the watt meter combined with my comfort.
We ordered a Parlee TT and I could fit on a Small. When it was finished, I could feel the power and efficiency in my pedal stroke. I also felt relaxed in the aero bars and if you are going to be racing for 56 or 112 miles you need to be able to stay relaxed and comfortable, and you really need to stay in the bars the whole time. Speed and feeling relaxed should go hand in hand in endurance sports but I have seen lots of pros who are not that comfortable.
Speaking of speed I couldn’t get over my first workout on the bike. I was able to zip though the corners while staying aero and on the flats I could hold a much faster pace during my standard tempo workout. My legs also were a lot fresher doing my runs off the bike. I can’t wait to jump on this machine at my next big race.
As a pro, I am used to seeing athletes get what other pros get without paying much thought to the bike that would suit them best. I also see pros ride horrible positions just because they were sponsored. My advice is to see Kevin and even consider getting a money sponsor, but don’t compromise on the bike. Both the bike leg and the run leg will improve and I had no idea that a custom bicycle at this level would produce this improvement.
Feel free to email me with any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tell you more details. You can buy speed, but you have to get a real expert to advise you. I am so glad I did.