The Importance of Fit

"You walk toe heel."

Truth be told, it wasn't the first time I'd walked across the floor of a bike shop in just my socks, but it was the only time that it was actually for my benefit.  And I was also impressed at just how quickly Mark, the professional fitter of Velotech, noticed something that many people tend to overlook.  Then again, that's the reason I was there.

A few weeks back I got new shoes.  They are wonderful and I love them, but after the initial glee of riding with shiny new Sidis wore off, I noticed a bit of pain in my feet.  The honeymoon was over.

After trying a few suggestions that I found online for foot pain while riding and having zero luck, I realized I'd be much better off going back to Velotech and having the experts fix me up.  Velotech was the shop that fit me to my dream bike and I'm still shocked at just how amazing that bike feels.  After plumb lines, pedal stroke analyzing, checking the bends in my joints, and using the eye of a trained professional, that bike fit me like I had been born with it.  My mind was blown.

Also they have some pretty bikes.
Now that I was back at Velotech, I was put on the trainer with my bike so that Mark could look at my pedal stroke and see what's going on.  Cleat placement itself on new shoes can make a huge difference (especially on someone like me where one foot skews outward naturally) but there are also other things that can cause or solve problems.  As it turned out, not only were my cleats themselves on a bit wonky, but the tiny change in the size of the sole required that my saddle height be readjusted.  Mark made some small changes, carefully analyzing my pedal stroke and checking my measurements after each change, and then sent me on my way to make sure all was good.  

So I rode around a bit.  And a few days back when I was out enjoying a fall ride I noticed something - nothing.  My feet were fantastic.  My everything was fantastic.  I was purely enjoying the ride and not thinking about anything else - it's perfect.  

It was a really nice ride.
I'm no fitter.  I can do a basic set up and some troubleshooting to get things to work right, mostly using the power of the internet to help me.  But there really is nothing like going to a professional and getting everything fine tuned.  Really, I can't stress enough how much of a difference even the smallest things can make.  A few millimeters can ruin your day or make you feel so much better, and pain while riding is not something you want to ignore.  If you've never had a fitting, I really can't recommend it enough!

As for the toe heel thing?  I wish I could tell you if that made a difference in my cleat positions, but I'll leave that to the professionals.  

[On a side note - if you're in the bay area and need a fitting, I really cannot recommend these guys enough.]

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