What is FIST, you may ask? It is a system for fitting a rider to a triathlon bike, devised by Dan Empfield at Slowtwitch.com – you can read more about the key principles here: http://www.slowtwitch.com/Bike_Fit/index.html
Anyway, I was fit on my triathlon bike roughly four years ago by an upscale bike store in central/West Toronto. Four years ago, I was a lean/mean machine, weighing almost 10 lbs lighter, with greater flexibility – of course, with age, you lose a lot of the fitness, leanness, and flexibility. This has a direct impact on the comfort level and efficiency on your bicycle. In addition, triathletes are usually put in a very, very specific racing position to take advantage of aerodynamics in non-drafting courses. Throughout the years, physiological changes may make what used to be a good bike fit become disadvantageous.
In fact, the positioning got so bad that I was having severe cramping and soreness in my back, neck, and lats, and, also, I developed a serious case of folliculitis, in a place that is not very convenient (read: saddle sores). My passion for cycling had decreased even more, which I thought was impossible, as I never liked cycling to begin with (it IS a necessary evil of triathlon).
I had several options when deciding on my next bike fit – should I go with a practitioner who believed in the Serrotta method, or a road cycling expert who fits a rider based on his/her own years of experience? Both has its pros and cons. However, as I mentioned before, triathletes usually require a very specific racing position — so why wouldn’t I opt for specificity and find a bike fitter who understands the demands of a triathlete? Enter Rick Choy – he’s finished dozens of Ironman races, and is FIST certified (Dan Empfield is a triathlete too).
We made several adjustments. He took the time to adjust my cleat positioning. We replaced the saddle. We repositioned every part of the bike ever so slightly to accomodate my changes in body composition (read: beer gut, haha). We took some power readings. We did further adjustments, very miniscule ones, just to dial in the position.
So far I have noticed a day-and-night difference in comfort levels. It used to be so bad that I couldn’t get into the aero position for more than 8 minutes at a time when I’m hooked up to the trainer. I ended up doing 45 minutes straight in the aero position. The chafing and abrasion in the lower half of my body seemed to go away.
Only time will tell whether the fit will really allow me to perform better, but I can safely say that I am definitely enjoying cycling a bit more these days! I have to credit Rick for being so knowledgeable and experienced, and also for being so patient with my questions. He is definitely one that is open to discussing things, to see different points of view.