Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Real, Professional Bike Fitting @ 3d Bike Fit in San Francisco

I have some fun stuff to post about tonight so I'll get the standard material out of the way quickly.

Food: strictly ok

I came home last Sunday and did weight training in my living room until midnight. Tri training is not normal so why should my activities be? Wednesday I rode the upright bike for 25 minutes (and increased to level 9 - woot!) followed by legs/shoulders/PT exercises. Thursday I did a 30 minute outside run and called it a day. Friday I rode my bike outside for 25 minutes followed by back/biceps/PT exercises.  But Friday is where it gets interesting so...

Guess what I did? I've been talking about doing this for months, if not years, and it's been suggested to me that I do it for at least that long... No, I did not fly to Mexico for a tummy tuck...I got a professional bike fitting. And when I say professional, I mean professional, as in, the two other people being fit at the same time as me were looking like hard-core serious type cyclists. And there I was.

How did this come about? You might remember me complaining about my hands going numb during any bike ride over 5 miles. It's so irritating. Every time I mention this to practically anyone that rides the first thing they ask is, "Have you been fit to your bike?" And no, they don't mean at the bike store where I purchased my bike. So after another frustrating bout of hand numbness I sent Neil a text asking where I should go, "Best bike fit, 3d BikeFit in SF." Done.

I arrived for my 3d Body Geometry Video Fitting (how fancy does that sound?!) with all my gear as instructed - bike, socks that don't cover the ankles, sleeveless top, bike shorts - and met my fitter, Ryan Moore.

How cute is Ryan?! Ahem, that's not relevant here.
Ryan is a bona fide serious cyclist who has been fitting bikes for about 5 years. We started with an interview, he asked about my riding habits, pain/discomfort issues, etc. He asked me how much I ride and I said, "Not much, I mean hardly at all really, maybe 10 a week." He responded by saying, "That's respectable," but I later came to believe he thought I meant 10 hours a week instead of 10 miles. Ha!!

Meanwhile I asked him about 3d BikeFit. He told me it was started by Kevin Bailey, who he calls the "Obi-Wan Kenobi of bike fitters." I had to say hi and snap a picture of him in action.

Uh, I think these people are a bit more serious about this whole cycling thing than I am :)
So after the interview Ryan started with the physical assessment part of the fitting. This is where I got schooled on why my form and fit on the bike is so, so wasteful (in terms of energy).

He showed me how my pelvis is supposed to be resting on my bike seat, that is, tilted forward and not on my butt bones.

Then he measured how far apart my butt bones actually are.

Turns out my stock bike seat will not allow me to rotate my pelvis forward like that, so a new seat was my first purchase of the day. And then he got to talking about ankles. Ankles are apparently an important issue in this whole cycling thing.

And feet, let's not forget about those. He measured the space under my arch and eyeballed assessed my feet and ankle parts from all angles.

He did some other stuff too but honestly, I can't remember. So then I got on what looked like a massage table (but sadly, no massage) and he measured my flexibility and whatnot.

Seriously, how official does all this look?! The best part was when he grabbed both my ankles and yanked, something about to see if both my legs did something-or-other the same. They did. In fact in most ways I was pretty normal in terms of anatomy and flexibility.

So, all this information in hand and I readied to get on the bike, all set up with my new seat.

Tillie gets an upgrade!
He also temporarily put on an adjustable handlebar thing so he could fine tune the bars on the fly.

When I said earlier this was a professional fitting I was not exaggerating. Before I got on the bike he placed markers on my joints - ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, wrist...

and also fitted my shoes with inserts that would stop my feet from rolling around inside my shoe (which, apparently, is not good)

and then finally had me get on the bike. So I'm on the bike and he fiddles with the computer a bit and then I see this...

First off, I have to admit I've been a bit emotional lately. But this almost made me teary. Who is that woman? Those arms, those, I look not like I do in my mind. This fitting turned out to be more than just a fitting, but a multi-hour dose of reality in terms of my size appearance.

During breaks in riding I was a bit preoccupied with my own image on the screen...

Bloggers have to be a bit self-involved right?
Anyway, I refrained from an emotional breakdown and instead told Ryan about my weight loss and blog and showed him my before pictures and then rattled on a bit about weight loss, food issues and body dysmorphia. Fun topics, I must be such a blast to hang out with, you know?

So the rest of the day was spent making adjustments, taking video and measuring, teaching me proper posture, more adjustments, more video and measuring, etc.

He had me ride at an easy resistance as well as more challenging and taught me more than I'd ever thought I'd need to know about being on my bike. And then voila! We were done.

I talked Ryan into a selfie with me...

before he took some final measurements...

and then I changed and spent more time staring at myself on the screen...

Alright, enough with the preoccupation with my body. Here's what I came for, a fit that doesn't put so much weight on my hands, that has me using the stronger parts of my legs and is kinder to my neck, shoulders and back...oh, and that also makes me look like I know what the heck I'm doing. Here's a before/after video of me on my bike.

The left (with no headband) is before, the right (with headband) is after. Notice a difference? My back, my elbows and shoulders, even my head position, all much improved and all intended to make my rides more efficient and easier on my body. Ryan had also recommended I switch to Shimano cleats and pedals but that kind of change is not in the budget right now. The good news is, when/if I do make the switch, he'll get the fit right for me.

Some take home notes from Ryan...
Your sacral angle was +10 deg and I was able to better match that with the rotation you are now achieving on the bike.  As you ride, try to focus on being mindful rotation the pelvis from the sacrum up to ensure that you have a neutral back. 

Remember these steps: 
1. pelvic rotation 
2. elongated back (shoulders back, clavicle up) 
3. Good elbow bend

For proper pedaling form, imagine that there's an egg under your forefoot and applying too much downward motion will break it, this will give a more efficient nice longitudinal pedal stroke with proper plantar flexion (but not to much).

So I left the shop and hopped on my bike to ride the one block back to my car and woah! I felt like I was riding on a cloud, almost no weight on my hands at all, it was an amazing difference. I couldn't wait to get on my bike for a ride. So that's what I did, I came home and went on a 25 minute ride (it's all I had time for) and then did some back exercises at the gym before it closed. The bike will take some getting used to, I have to use muscles I'm not accustomed to using. Because my fit was so off before I used weaker muscles, now I can use stronger ones, like my glutes, more. But they need to build up more strength to meet the demand. Not sure it was the best idea to make this big change just a few weeks before the tri but I'm sure I'll be fine, it's not like I'm Serena Williams with a new racket.

So Friday was also Myra's birthday and we had a big party for her today. I'll have to write about that in my next post because it's getting late. Hope you enjoyed reading about my bike fit! I sure had a good time getting it done. Thanks Ryan and 3d BikeFit!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Fun

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Just a quick post to say what an active day I had. We really wanted to do something with the kids outdoors to celebrate summer...Miguel wanted to fish and I wanted to rent kayaks so a lake visit seemed ideal. I researched a bit and found Spring Lake in Sonoma County. This place has it all, including a 3-acre swimming lagoon. Check this out!
Enjoy the 3-acre swimming lagoon with sandy beach and concession stand. The swimming lagoon is staffed by lifeguards and is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Spring Lake's swimming lagoon is treated with chlorine and tested weekly, and water samples consistently exceed all state water quality requirements.
I couldn't fit the length of it in one picture so here's a "stitched" photo. This is no small lagoon.

Spring Lake Swimming Lagoon
You know what I was thinking when I saw swimming lagoon. Swimming! So I packed my goggles and cap and hoped I could sneak in some swim time during our outing. When I read about the lagoon on the website I thought it was a roped off portion of the lake (and I wondered how they treated it with chlorine and all). Turns out it's a separate body of water.

It's perfect for tri-training. So while Miguel took the kids fishing in the lake just across the way, I swam for about 45-50 minutes. Funny thing, I forgot my swimsuit so I had to swim in the bikini I was wearing. I was nervous but it turned out fine. The swim was great! I was getting tired toward the end, noticing my hands were sometimes grazing the water during my stroke, but otherwise I was good. So happy to get some tri training in! Plus I'm going to do some quick pushups and tricep work as soon as I'm done with this post.

After my swim we rented a paddle boat and took the kids around Spring Lake. I was cursing Miguel for renting the paddle boat instead of kayaks like I'd wanted. Serves me right for sending him to the rental window alone, "I thought it would be better for your training." Ugh, my legs were hurting! But we pedaled those kids around the lake for almost an hour and had a great time watching ducks, egrets and scaring the kids into thinking a floating piece of wood was a crocodile!

After the paddleboating we all got ice cream and then drove home and had burgers for dinner. I had a burger with bacon and avocado and a few of the kids' fries. Between that and the Drumstick I think I ate all my hard earned swimming calories and then some. The good thing is, so far, no evening snacking. And I feel strong - it's not going to be a problem tonight!

Another fun thing happened today... I was walking with the kids and Miguel to the car when I heard my name called. Turns out someone recognized me! Heather from Rohnert Park...hi Heather! Whenever someone spots me I always offer to post a pic on the blog with them and she was up for it!

Hi Heather - so fun to meet you!!

Heather was there with her family squeezing in a lake day. She's on her own journey and we spent a few minutes discussing that as well as how important it is to love the body you have. Listen people, you won't get issued a new body when you get to your goal weight. And chances are you'll have a long list of dissatisfactions with your body, even at that magical "goal" weight. So you have to start learning to love your body now, as is, imperfections and all, or you'll get to goal, never be happy, and eventually fall off the wagon. I've been there and done that so take it from me, start loving that ass and those hips and that stomach today!

I'll get off my soapbox to share some other fun pictures from today. Hope you enjoy!

I am a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for weight loss and maintenance. I have an office in Marin County, CA and I'm also available to see people via Skype. To learn more please visit my professional website at 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Parties and Running

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Tri training is continuing at full speed. It's only 4 weeks until the big day! I'm happy with how training is going. Despite things not going exactly as planned all the time I feel confident that, barring accident or injury, I'll be ready come race day. That's a good feeling.

So, what have I done this week to prepare? Tuesday turned out to be a rest day. I wanted to go to a track workout - which I have yet to experience - but couldn't find a babysitter. Wednesday was an outside run, 3 miles, followed by the gym - legs/shoulders/pt exercises. My back is so-so these days, probably related to not doing my PT exercises often enough. Thursday was another gym day. I was really pressed for time. I only had time for 20 minutes on the upright bike so I upped the resistance to Level 9 for the first time. It challenged me but I did it. That was followed by back/biceps/PT exercises. I was there for a grand total of 43 minutes but managed to get most of my weights stuff done in that time and felt good about what I did on the bike. A goal half-met is better than a goal never set.

Thursday evening I went to a women's cycling information night at a local bike store (Mike's Bikes in Sausalito) where Heather Nielson, a pro cyclist and coach, talked about cycling for women. It was geared toward beginners so a lot of the information was not new to me but I still learned a few things, like how lucky I am that I don't chafe in the most sensitive of places. I still need to get better at descending and cornering and might work with Heather for some 1:1 coached rides.

Heather explaining all the parts on a road bike

Friday turned out to be another rest day. The rest days were a few too many this week but life happens, right? I hopped on the scale in the morning, 141.2 pounds, up from last week. Saturday was a kid day. We had back-to-back birthday parties lined up. I've been eating, ahem, too much lately so I planned out my food so as to avoid a full day of party food. I took snacks and a turkey avocado sandwich with me with the goal of skipping all the party food.

Turkey avo sandwich, cuties, a string cheese, fage yogurt and an apple.
Party #1 was at a gymnastics center and except for a handful of pretzels (oh, and a handful of popcorn), I skipped the party food (most notably the cupcakes).

My big boy on the big swing

My monkey girl with her beloved Mimi (Mimi was their daycare provider and they still LOVE her like crazy!)
Party #2, a pool party, was up next. I got there and was feeling a little drained (Miguel had been working on a project all morning so I was flying solo) and when the wonderful hostess offered me a glass of wine - well, I didn't decline. Miguel arrived and as far as eating is concerned, it was all downhill from there. I never do well Historically alcohol has made it difficult for me to make healthy choices. I need to work on that one. So I had a variety of snacky foods - chips, crackers, cheese, olives, etc and one yummy cupcake. Andtwodinnerrollslaterathome,withbutter. All those snacks were pretty much my dinner. So I made it halfway through the day eating my healthy foods. Again, a goal half-met... (is better than a goal never set - in case you forgot).

Aaaanyway, the pool party was great and we had fun catching up with friends and playing in the pool. I also enjoyed some fun chats with other fitness oriented mamas. Oh, can I mention what a miracle it is to go to a pool party and not fret about my appearance?!

Myra (mid-jump), me and Marek (swimming) at the pool party!

Ms Sassy Pants and I

Ah wine...we don't meet nearly often enough.
My party animals
So, fun day Saturday. By the time I went to sleep I could barely keep my eyes open. And I needed a full night sleep because Sunday was a long run day. I had plans to meet up with some other tri folks to do an 8 mile run from the Point Reyes Bear Valley Visitor's Center to Arch Rock and back. I've done this trek a number of times on this journey and it's always given me huge returns.

We met up at noon (though I was a few minutes late and only saw the other runners on the trail) and given the holiday weekend and the midday start time, the place was CROWDED. I was worried I might also get too hot but with the breeze and mixed shade it was perfect. I started out a bit on the slow side but eventually picked up the pace some.

At the most gorgeous turn-around point ever.
After a few moments to take in the view, and two ShotBloks, I turned around for the run back. It wasn't easy and I didn't run my best but I still had the best day. Miguel had the kids covered and gave me the green light to get a pedicure, and boy was I overdue. But going for a pedicure after a long trail run is a bit embarrassing, my toes were so dirty!

Ok, gotta go, my daughter needs me to color with her.

ps - I'm eating too much. Can I blame tri training? Not really. Must get it together asap.

I am a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice offering Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for weight loss and maintenance. I have an office in Marin County, CA and I'm also available to see people via Skype. To learn more please visit my professional website at