If you ask any experienced triathlete what's important when starting out one of the first things they'll tell you is to get a proper bike fit. It sounds like common sense, but I think you'd be surprised how many people (including myself) sort of ignore that advice.
When I picked up my road bike I asked what size bike would fit me and based on my height I ended up with a 56cm. As I started looking in to Tri and TT bikes I got mixed answers sizing. What it comes down to is getting a proper bike fit.
I'm going to be riding a one of Felt Bicycles TT bikes this season. Luckily Running Away Multisport is not only a Felt dealer, but they also have one of the coolest fit systems around the GURU DFU (Dynamic Fit Unit).
I met up with Fit Specialist Brian, who went over every detail of what was going to happen. After taking my measurements and outfitting the DFU with a set of Felt TT handlebars, Felt seat and a pair of SpeedPlay pedals it was time to clip in and get fitted!
What makes a fitting on the DFU different is that the unit is equipped with motors that allowed Brian to adjust the seat and handle bar position while I was riding. At no point do you have to get off the bike during the process. At the front of the machine are two laser levels to give your fit specialist an easy way to determine if your knees are in alignment (mine were not).
Brian determined that it may be an issue with the cleat placement on my shoes as well as the length of the stems on my pedals. As it turns it out was a little combination of both. After a few adjustments Brian began setting the seat and handle bar positions for optimal aerodynamics as well as comfort. He explained that while having proper aero position is important, if you're not able to stay in that position for 70% of your ride then the bike isn't set up correctly for you.
By making several small adjustments and comparing them much like an eye exam (which feels better #1 or #2), we found the most comfortable aero position to provide the most efficient ride.
And as if a specialist standing next to you watching your every move isn't enough, the DFU utilized a video camera and laser pinpoints at your ankle, knee, hip and shoulder to precisely dial in your fit!
Brian was able to play back the video from my fitting showing those pin points and explain not only what range he was looking for but why it was important. He pointed out that I have some unwanted rotation in my hips and then told me a few ways to correct it including exercises and foam rolling.
The whole process only took a couple of hours and in the end Brian determined I would have no problem fitting on a Felt 54cm bike. Right now the team at Running Away Multisport are building my new ride to the exact measurements from my fit!
Brian said I'll have to come back a few times between now and Ironman Wisconsin for some small adjustments, but for right now I'm fit perfectly!
A big thanks to Brian for helping me out (and taking all these pictures!)