Friday, December 4, 2009

Slam That Stem!

Its not a new hit by the I ripped it off of Ryan Kelly...not sure of its nexus...its part of our vernacular at this point and its been tossed around by so many of my friends when referring to PRO bike fit that its almost a cliche. I finally got myself checked out on the cross bike by Adam Myerson. I went to his camp wayyy back in the beginning of the season and was hooked! I have been itching to see just what changes he'd make to my bike if any. My position felt pretty good this year. A touch upright. Couldn't get in the drops like evah...but I am not really a drops guy. No pain. Pretty fast with zero hammy problems. A huge improvement over past years. But still I wondered what someone with 20 decades of cross knowledge would think of my DIY position. Granted I did use his blog article on the fit so I was hoping I was close. My two goals or hopes were to see if I could get in a better position to drive the corners better and to slay dragons...well maybe Unicorns in the hunt for more speed....
We met up at International Bicycle in Newton and set up in the back on a pretty cool fit stand. It had a front fork mount so you could clamp the front fork right on to the trainer. But instead of the usual drum trainer set up it had mini rollers. Very cool and it really did feel super smooth once you were up on it and spinning. Adam did a bunch of measurements asked me a ton of questions and then took a few steps back and just looked at me pensively. He watched me for a long time in thought. He kind of reminded me of a cross between Jackson Pollock staring at a canvas or one of my old martial arts teachers. I had an old school Chinese Sifu who would watch me do punch after punch after punch without saying a word.

Then he would just light up and become animated and adjust my arms trajectory a mm or so, show me how to flick my wrist over just so as the knuckles would be striking it was total Zen in motion. That was pretty much Adam. After much thought he basically said "you know you could leave it...or we could try this"...and he slammed my stem! Slammed is so relative with cross as there is the cable hanger to consider but we dropped that stem as low as it would go, and he moved me forward a scouch and voila! Cross Nirvana! 
After the fit we kitted up and rolled out on the cross bikes with road wheels. The bike felt much faster. Really like a different bike all together. Crazy how such a subtle adjustment could reap such dividends. When I jokingly said he slammed my stem the reality was it only changed my drop 1 cm. I went from having 2 to 3. My reach pretty much stayed the same. My setback changed a touch. So in reality it was a tiny shift forward and kind of a rotation. But man the power and control on the bike was just what I was hoping for! We had a great ride through Dover doing the CRW 19 mile ride. There were some hmmm adventures on the road but aren't there always.
The best part of the ride other than just getting the opportunity to ride with Adam and to get to chat with him was the reward at the end of our ride. Adam read about a new coffee shop that opened on Walnut St in Newton Center called Taste Coffee House. We rolled up and walked in. It was a very unassuming hole in the wall but with a lot of charm. Especially in this cookie cutter coffee universe of Starbucks and even gasp...Peets. The dbl cap I had was not only gorgeous to look at but was hands down the best cap I've had since I moved back to Boston 5 years ago. What a great day...thanks to Adam for taking the time out of his crazy schedule to help out a slow masters racer eack some speed out of his old bones. 

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