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Be Bike Smart, Take it From Me

Posted Mar 20 2013 5:49pm
So here it is, 10 days out from the first big race of the year. The hard work for O-side is in the books; taper is beginning.... for the most part, it's been a smooth ride in 2013 so far. Fitness is good, with plenty more to gain as the year unfolds.

Today I want to tell you a little story about my experiences with my Shiv so far, and offer some tips for anyone who's in the market for a new bike. My situation has been a bit of a rollercoaster so far. It happens, so maybe by writing this I can help others out there to avoid some of these issues or simply get motivated to be more bike savvy? Who knows...

I'll start off with the obvious: the Shiv is fast. I am not just saying that. My data as of late brings a smile to my face. And this is where it gets interesting because right now my setup isn't even ideal for me! Seriously! Turns out I ordered too big of frame. Yup! They were going to send a small, but then just to be sure I used Specialized's online calculations to determine my bike frame size, and I placed myself in a medium -- this was based off measurements on my Felt, by the way, so that begs the questions: Was the Felt too big too? Anyway, I got the medium and long story short: It works, but it is hands down too big. We all agree I should be on a small frame -- my bike fitter, Lucho, etc..... It's a bummer. Specialized is doing all they can to hook me up with a small, but let's just say there aren't a lot of Shivs just chillin in a warehouse somewhere.

I'm kicking myself for making the mistake of thinking I'm a medium and not doing more "homework" before making that final call. Looks like a lot of people are sizing down on the Shiv. Hell, even Crowie is on a small frame! And Jordan Rapp is on a medium -- safe to say I think he is a bit taller than I ;) Since this all started going down it's been bitter sweet. I love love love the bike, but I've had frustrations with the size issues and in dealing with that my bike knowledge has really been tested. If you read  Beth's recent blog , I can kinda relate to that with my current situation. In a world where every millimeter counts and there are a million different little details that play together... well... oh mannnn....it can be overwhelming when you're no expert. But I guarantee I will come out of this experience knowing a lot more about bikes and bike parts than ever before. A good thing for sure!

Plus there is good news. First off, like I said, Specialized is one my side; they care about ME and want to help resolve this even if I'm no Leanda Cave. Second, in the interim with the current bike, I have an awesome bike fitter who's done his best to put me in a good position. It's working. That said, I just wish I had seen my fitter sooner because I did a couple rides impatiently on the bike prior to his fit (aka no fit at all) and might have done a little tweakage to the ol' bod -- my fault entirely. It's not too bad though so I don't even think it's worth going into. (That said, let me just emphasize that a good bike fit is everything. Don't go without.) Third, I have a great relationship with Shimano so they are helping me out with some things too... more on that soon. Overall I am grateful beyond words for the great team of folks who are helping me this year... we will get it right! I look at it this way: There are too may positives right now to dwell on the negatives. Things may not be ideal with the bike, but they sure as heck are a lot better than I even ever imagined them being just 6 months ago!

Bottom line: Take it from me, I highly recommend getting to know your current and/or future bike in the greatest detail possible to figure out how it all works in order to maximize the ride experience. If you're in the market for a new bike, do diligent homework before making any final decisions. Ask questions, read forums and articles, browse books, talk to the companies, find an expert fitter, talk to others, etc.... you can never take it to far when you're dealing with this stuff!

The most important detail I can't overlook is that I have a little 70.3 coming up. I will not let the bike stuff mess with my mojo for Oceanside! It didn't Monday... my last hard ride before the race in which I rode 57 miles through parts of the O-side course and Pendleton with 2 hours of that at half-iron effort. I was in the zone and it went well for sure. I ran off the bike too, and that felt smooth (even my little tweakage issue wasn't acting up). One big thing I notice with the Shiv is that t-runs don't hurt as much and I usually am going faster now.



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