Bike Fitting with a Sports Science DR.
I had been riding for a little under a year and was starting to develop some knee pain in my left knee. It was time to get fitted to see if I could curb this obnoxious knee pain.
I was disappointed that my local bike shop did not include a fitting with the purchase of my new bike. However I was excited that I was about to get fitted by a Sports Science Doctor that was a part of a Tour de France team. I had found out that my insurance company would cover the bike fitting and appointment, but I was going to have to pay $100 dollars out of pocket for the Lactic Acid Test. I was totally fine with this as a fitting at the local bike shop would run anywhere from $80-$200 dollars depending on what I wanted included. I made an appointment for the wifey and I and we got started.
First off, let's talk about what is all included in this fitting. The Cycling Lab would include the following skills below and claimed to help you become a better cyclist in less time with less injuries (something I was for sure interested in). In just a few hours in the cycling lab, they would show you how you can:
- Get faster
- Improve power
- Prevent injuries
- Train more efficiently
- Be properly fit to your bike
- Enjoy cycling more
What you get at the Cycling Lab:
Musculoskeletal Functional Analysis- an in-depth physical exam of your body’s strength and joint flexibility. They look at leg length differences, muscle imbalances, joint condition and other physical conditions to assess your injuries and possible risk for future injuries.
This part was pretty cool. The Doctor, weighted me and took me back into an exam room. I laid down on the exam bed, and the Dr. began to stretch my legs and knees around in different positions to see if it would trigger pain. He checked my knee for damage and water on the knee. There was not any, however he said that i had minor tendonitis. He checked my balance and the length of my legs. My left leg was slightly longer than my right.
They specialize in medical bike fitting that not only puts you in a comfortable, ergonomic position, but one that will help with your specific injury or medical condition. They also conduct a dynamic bike fitting using video analysis. They examine joint angles and body position during the peddle stroke to optimize efficiency and power output. Based on your measurements and biomechanics They adjust:
- Saddle height and set back
- Handlebar height and reach
- Cleat position and alignment
So i have to say, this is kind of where I started to become a little disappointed in the appointment. Above it says that they conduct a "Dynamic bike fitting using video analysis". This never happened. Since my insurance was paying for this, it was still an easy pill to swallow.
If you ride a bike longer than just a stroll through the park, or down to the gas station for a treat.. You will want to be fitted. A properly fit bike will help you avoid low back pain and neck pain from being in the wrong position. It also helps prevents injuries that may develop in the hips and the knees. Hand and Feet numbness that many cyclists complain about can also be corrected with a properly fit bike.
The next part was the Performance testing. This is the part that the insurance did not cover and would cost $100 dollars out of pocket. You got to pick between a Lactate Assessment or a VO2 Max test.
The VO2 Max tests an athletes maximal oxygen consumption. A VO2max test can determine the endurance and cardiovascular fitness of an athlete during exercise. The results of a VO2max test helps to determine an athlete’s target training zones, which will help to guide your training and improve athletic performance. Find out more about VO2 Max here.
The second option is the Lactate Threshold Test. As you advance in your training it is important to periodically monitor your body’s fitness level. Determining an athlete’s lactate threshold is one of the best methods for monitoring fitness changes due to training.
A lactate threshold test helps you:
- Estimate your fitness level
- Establish your training zone
- Adjust your training schedule
- Train your body to clear lactate more effectively
- Improve your endurance and overall performance.
A lactate threshold test is performed by taking a small sample of blood at various stages of a work out. This is usually preformed by taking small blood samples from your ear at various stages of your workout. They measure the lactate levels in your blood and compare them to your power output and heart rate. Lean more about Lactate Thresholds here.
I chose to do the Lactate Threshold Test....This is where I become even more frustrated with this process. This was the part that my insurance didn't cover and the part that I had to pay $100 dollars out of pocked for.. They never preformed this testing...Some might ask why I didn't say anything? Well im not the type that likes to make a scene in public. Looking back... I wish that I would have made a bigger deal about it so I could have received my money back.. This whole test would have been free to me if I would have done that... Should've, Could've, Would've...Right?
The Performance tests also included:
- Optimize training zones for more efficient training
- Get faster
- Improve power
- Improve endurance
This part was probably my favorite part of the test. They hook your bike up to a trainer and have you ride on it (also how the bike fit is done). This takes place after you have been fitted. You start to ride at a fast paced cadence on a low gear. They ask you to keep a level 3 of effort (Lvl 1 being sitting on the couch and lvl 10 being your about to black out and cant hold a conversation).
They keep increasing the levels and resistance. This is how they come up with your heart rate training zones which to me is very important and other than the fitting, was the most important thing that I took away from the Cycling Lab.
So in the end was it worth it? I'm still pondering that question myself and I'm still a little biter about the Lactate Threshold testing. All and all it was a good test and the main reason that I went was to get my bike fit and that had been accomplished. I was now one again with my bike. I started to train hard working on my heart rates, climbing and just over all millage.
I would love to say that this solved my problem... However it did not. Within a month I would Develop the worst case of Patella Tendonitis I have ever had..
Comment below and tell me about your bike fit. Have you had any training setbacks?
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