I had a bike fitting done a month ago by Eddie O’dea of 55Nine Performance in Atlanta, Georgia. I had no idea that a fitting could change the way you handled your rig while on the single track and especially climbing. Climbing. Yeah, so, I’ve got this little race coming up called the Trans North Georgia Adventure (The TNGA) and it’s got a paltry 56,000 feet of climbing in it. So I’ve been a little nervous about conquering such a feat with my very heavy bike which now is coming in at 48lbs with water (yikes!). I like climbing okay enough, it doesn’t really bother me, but when my muscles fatigue it’s game over for me. As you can guess, my muscles fatigue. I arranged a time with O’dea and drove on over to Atlanta.
Eddie’s bike fitting service includes him meticulously going over your body measurements, your bike’s measurements and then using frikkin’ lasers. Seriously, my bike was lit up like a rave party at one point during the fitting. Eddie talked about foot and sit bone placement and how it’s extremely important to have both of those set for your bike. He also talked about how to use more of your bones in motion than stressing out your muscles. We spent several hours getting me setup on my bike. I could get into all the technical details but I wanted to give the highlights.
Eddie had me stand up, sit down, stand on my head, do the hokey pokey and a barrage of other things to get all my measurements correct. Then he moved over to my bike and started calculating everything there with lasers. It looked like something from a rave techno club with all the lights bouncing off every where.
Eddie went over several things including your legs’ bones and the pedals and how it should work like this: And as you can guess, I was looking like this: His explanation was that you want momentum and inertia to be your friend, not mashing the pedals. I excel at mashing pedals as that is the way I taught myself which is completely and utterly wrong for biking, especially long distance. When you mash, you’re using up precious energy that could be used hours later. Eddie used some medical feet and hip bones to show how you should sit on a bike and how your feet should work on the pedals and where. It was some pretty interesting stuff.
The last thing we talked about was pedaling and how to do it correctly. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know very well that I’m about to tackle some pretty tall mountains and anything I can do to streamline my pedaling would be great. Eddie talked about the motion you should use to pedal and then gave some really cool tricks for maximizing climbing. Actually, one trick he showed me was sort of jaw dropping and it has changed the way I climb now.*
I’ve done a series of training rides lately putting Eddie’s bike fit and pedal tutorial into practice. The result? Well I’ve gotten up some pretty steep grades and still had energy to spare when I got to the top. I don’t go anaerobic nearly as bad as I’ve done in the past (in fact if I think about it, I can keep in the low part of “Zone 3″ while spinning up a hill). There was one hill I was climbing with a serious grade and when I put all of Eddie’s tactics into play, I swear there for a few moments I was not even feeling any burn. Just wow.
Eddie O’dea is in Atlanta and his rates are reasonable for a quality high-end bike fit. If you ever consider getting one, you will notice a huge difference with him. Since most of my readers are in Birmingham, it’s not that far to go over there and get it done. If you’re seriously working on becoming a better biker to compete, Eddie is your guy. Oh, and about that * I put up there about some of Eddie’s tips and tricks. Well, it’s worth the price of admission to go see him and find out. You can find out more about Eddie at 55Nine Performance.