I am lucky to be able to work with a lot of fast athletes – the pointy end of the age groupers, and some pros. Of course it is gratifying to help them get even faster. What many folks don’t know is that I work with many other kinds of athletes too. And just because they aren’t necessarily looking for a Kona slot doesn’t mean it is any less gratifying to achieve good results.
Take Maryann G for example – she will be moving to the 70-74 age group this season, and has been racing about 15 years with the last 10 focused on long course. Unfortunately she has missed the bike cutoff in her last two Ironman attempts. Nothing to be ashamed off, especially when one of those races was Lake Placid (I know a thing or two about not finishing that course).
I had worked with her son Marc both online and in the studio, and he sent me some videos of Maryann, with the goal of getting her more comfortable and powerful on her bike so she can easily make the cutoff this year. When I saw her video, two things were immediately apparent. She was very fit and flexible, but had a terrible bike setup. To my eyes, it was her fit that was holding her back – nothing else.
Maryann has a road bike and a new tri bike was not in the cards this year, so we would make do. I felt it would be possible to improve both her comfort and power while keeping her reasonably aero. Even though she will be riding at mid-teens speeds, I felt there was no reason to have her set up like a door going down the road – there are plenty of spots on the Placid course where aerodynamics would help her achieve her goal. But my first task would be to get her comfortable and able to put full power to the pedals. I could clearly see that her saddle was very low, her seat angle too slack, and her hip angle too tight, so plenty to improve upon.
After a few back-and-forths with Marc, a switch to an Adamo Typhoon saddle, new stem, and much tweaking, we got her into a much better position:
Maryann has been riding her new setup for a while, and here is some really great (unprompted) feedback I just received from her:
“Up to this point all your communications about me and my bike fit have been with my son Marc. Well I’ve been riding more and more since the final adjustments and just have to let you know how comfortable I am. It’s not only comfort. I just feel stronger, that’s the only way to express it to you. I’ve said to Marc that now all I have to do is put in the time to make it pay off. So thank you so much. I’ll be doing Eagleman 6/12; Tupper Lake 6/25; and then Lake Placid 7/24. I’m 69, but as you know will be racing 70-74 – so time will tell. I just wanted to let you know personally, how very much I appreciated your expertise in my behalf.”
After receiving that email, it has to be a great day, even if it is cloudy foggy and damp for the 30th day in a row here in New England! We will be in Placid cheering her on, and I think she has a great shot at doing it this year. Thanks Maryann!