Comfort, power and aerodynamics are the keys to going faster, says Matt Steinmetz, who’s bike fitting clients include numerous Kona champs and age group athletes of all levels. TriathlonWorld.com catches up with the bike-fitter to the stars.
January 17, 2017 | TRAINING|
I was always say that athletes work so hard to get better at moving forward, but pay little regard on the forces that inhibit forward motion. The human body makes up 80 percent of the resistive forces of us moving forward on a bicycle. We talk a lot about aerodynamics, but in reality what we are really talking about is speed. Speed is comfort, plus power, plus aerodynamics - athletes need to pay attention to those resistive forces or they are putting themselves at a disadvantage.
Comfort is the number one thing that an athlete is after when they come to me. They don’t want to necessarily say that – they usually say “I want to be aerodynamic, or I want to be able to generate more power.” But speed is comfort. Comfort is the ability to sustain your position for the duration of your event. Many athletes fail to do so. I don’t mean just stay on the aero bars. I mean to sit on the bike in a way that allows you to be comfortable and powerful and aerodynamic.
Comfort sounds like you’re a wuss. “Do you want to be comfortable or do you want to be fast.” If you’re not comfortable you’re not going to be able to hold your position. Or your not going to enjoy the sport. If every time you got on a bike and you’re uncomfortable you are not going to continue with the sport.
The difference between age groupers and professionals is, at some level, our morphology, but it’s also how often we ride our bikes. The TT position is not all that natural, and it takes some time to adapt to that position. If anyone has ever taken a big break from their TT position will know what I mean – you might have been totally fine in your TT position for six hours, but if you then spend a year on your road bike and come back to your TT position you’ll probably find you struggle to hold that position for 20 or 30 minutes. Our time to adaptation takes a bit longer for age group athletes vs. pros – if they’re only riding twice a week.
4. Find the right fitter
Bike fitting requires eduction. It takes a lot of practice. I think the consumers are starting to understand that they will be happiest on their bike with a good bike fit. It’s a great investment, too. Don’t make the $10,000 mistake. The ideal way to make a bike purchase is to do a bike fit and take the coordinates to find out what the best bike is for you.