This season I have vowed to not cut any corners in my Ironman preparation. I have got the nutrition gear I need to fuel properly, I have bought new racing tires, a Specialized TT2 aero helmet, and I also invested in a bike fit.
I have been thinking about a fitting for a while now, despite having reasonable success fitting myself. I just felt I needed it to be spot on. A lot of fitters just eyeball it with a static fit. Essentially, as you go through your pedal stroke, they stop you at different intervals and look at the angles your body is making. It is good, but it is still cutting a corner. Biking is a dynamic motion so to truly get a proper fit, it should be a dynamic fitting. Basically this means the angles are measured as you are pedaling.
I figured a static fit was something I could do myself. I needed the best dynamic fit that I could find.
This is where Retul comes in. It is a company based in Boulder that is making noise in the tri industry and fitting a ton of pros. Retul is a bike fitting system that incorporates three-dimensional motion capture technology to provide what they claim is an incredibly accurate dynamic fitting solution. In theory, the result is that the rider will have a true fit to his or her bike, maximizing efficiency and performance while avoiding discomfort or injury. Sound good? It did to me but I was skeptical.
I set about looking for a Retul fitter in my area. Luckily my favorite shop, Win’s wheels, offered Retul. Win’s wheels is an amazing shop with phenomenal mechanics who don’t miss a thing. They have done everything for me from gluing tubulars to total drive train overhauls. I love the work they do so I was thrilled that they offered what I was looking for.
I set up a time and went in. Win’s wheels has an agreement with Franco Bicycles, a shop in Malibu, to bring Julian, a certified Retul fitter, in. We talked for a bit and then I hopped on his Cycleops Powerbeam. I warmed up at 180 watts, dialed in by the trainer. He had set up 8 sensors on my body that measure points in 3-dimensions and set about examining the numbers as I pedaled. After talking about it, we made some significant changes. My seat went up, my aerobars were swapped out, and my stem came in. My hip angle was the major difference. I initially felt super open and could breath with ease. I was still skeptical as I felt like a sail being so high in the air.
The truth would be told out on the roads. To date it has been about a month of putting the fit through the motions. Immediately I noticed more glute activation and felt super smooth, and powerful. I was very comfortable. It was an incredible night and day feeling. My eyeball fit wasn’t bad, but the Retul fit was mind-blowing. I wondered if it would translate to speed… My thought was it may have compromised some aerodynamics which I wasn’t too pleased about.
I did a few TT’s and, to my surprise, things were looking good but only racing matters.
I recently raced Rev3 and when I hopped on my bike, I felt like I was floating. The speed was coming! I biked my way from 5 minutes back in wave 2 to the front of the race. I couldn’t believe it. I had the 2nd fastest bike split, only back by 3 seconds to a guy who biked 4:45 at Ironman Florida! The crazy thing was how easy it was. The effort was SUPER controlled and I felt smooth and efficient the whole day. I guess this Retul thing works! If you spend 2 grand on a bike, spend another couple hundred and make that thing work for you. It is totally worth it. Don’t cut corners!