Bike Fit Philosophy, with Dr. Andy Pruitt, Colby Pearce, and Todd Carver

With the help of three of the great minds in bike fit, we discuss bike fit philosophy and how science plays in role in shaping that mindset.

Dr. Andy Pruitt conducts a bike fit.
Dr. Andy Pruitt conducts a bike fit.

Bike fit was once purely a quote-unquote “philosophy.” In the old days, you may have experienced getting a so-called fit by a guy at a bike shop with a plumb line and a theory.

Now, bike fit is a full-fledged science—there are video cameras everywhere, 3D modeling, and so on. Yet bike fit is a science that is still influenced by philosophy—what each fitter brings to the exam and analysis that impacts his or her perspective.

In this episode, we’ve gathered three of the great minds in bike fit to discuss this complex and extremely important aspect of cycling:

  1. Dr. Andy Pruitt is the Director of Sports Medicine here at Fast Talk Laboratories, and one of the pioneers of the study of cycling biomechanics.
  2. Our next guest has appeared on Fast Talk many times before, and he also continues to host his own podcast, “Cycling in Alignment.” Of course, it’s Colby Pearce.
  3. Finally, making his Fast Talk debut is Todd Carver, co-founder of Retül and the head of human performance at Specialized, which now owns the Retül fit technology.

When we sat down to discuss the topic, to no one’s surprise, our expert guests spoke for hours, so we have split this interview into two parts.

In Fast Talk Episode 187, we begin with a discussion about the philosophy of fit, and how science fits into that philosophy.

In Fast Talk Episode 189, we’ll conclude with a discussion the practical implications of bike fit, from the debate over aerodynamics versus power, to our guest’s feelings about technology versus experience and intuition.

What do each of these experts say about their bike fit philosophy? What’s the goal of a fit?

Let’s get you fit… and make you fast!

References

  • Beer, J. (n.d.). Cycling Equipment: The effect of aerodynamic and drag on cycling performance. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/cyclingequipmenttheeffectofaerodynamicsanddragoncyclingperformance40874#
  • García-López, J, Ogueta-Alday, A., Larrazabal, J., & Rodríguez-Marroyo, J. (2013). The Use of Velodrome Tests to Evaluate Aerodynamic Drag in Professional Cyclists. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(05), 451–455. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0033-1355352
  • García-López, Juan, Rodríguez-Marroyo, J. A., Juneau, C.-E., Peleteiro, J., Martínez, A. C., & Villa, J. G. (2008). Reference values and improvement of aerodynamic drag in professional cyclists. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(3), 277–286. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/02640410701501697
  • Heil, D. P. (2005). Body size as a determinant of the 1-h cycling record at sea level and altitude. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 93(5–6), 547–554. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-004-1256-5
  • Jeukendrup, A. E., & Martin, J. (2001). Improving Cycling Performance. Sports Medicine, 31(7), 559–569. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200131070-00009
  • Martin, J. C., Milliken, D. L., Cobb, J. E., McFadden, K. L., & Coggan, A. R. (1998). Validation of a Mathematical Model for Road Cycling Power. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 14(3), 276–291. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/jab.14.3.276
  • Rose, T. (2016, January 16). When U.S. air force discovered the flaw of averages. The Toronto Star. Retrieved from https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html

Episode Transcript

Introducing The Roundtable

Chris Case 00:00
Hey everyone welcome to another episode of Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance performance, I’m Chris Case. Bike fit was once purely a quote-unquote philosophy. In the old days, you may have experienced getting a so-called fit by a guy at a bike shop with a plumb line and a theory. Now, bike fit is a full-fledged science, video cameras everywhere, 3D modeling, and so on. That being said, it’s a science that is still influenced by philosophy, what each fitter brings to the exam, and the analysis that impacts his or her perspective on that fit. Today, we’ve gathered three of the great minds in bike fit to discuss this complex and extremely important aspect of cycling. When we sat down with them to discuss the topic, to no one’s surprise, they spoke for hours, so we’ve decided to split this conversation into two parts. Today we start with a discussion about the philosophy of fit, and how science fits into that philosophy. In part two, we’ll discuss the practical implications of bike fit from the debate over aerodynamics versus power to our guest’s feelings about technology versus experience and intuition. Our guest’s immense experience and influence on the world of bike fit cannot possibly be captured in a single sentence, but that’s just what I’m going to try to do right now. Dr. Andy Pruitt is the Director of Sports Medicine here at Fast Talk and one of the pioneers of this study of cycling biomechanics. Our next guest has appeared on Fast Talk many times before. And he also continues to host his own podcast cycling in alignment. Of course, I’m speaking of Colby Pearce. Finally making his Fast Talk debut is Todd Carver, co-founder of Retool and the head of human performance at a specialized bicycle company, which owns the Retool pick technology. What does each of our guests have to say about his fitness philosophy? What’s involved in a fit exactly? What’s the goal of a fit? Stay tuned. Let’s get you fit and make you fast.

Chris Case 02:30
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Chris Case 03:27
I can’t believe we haven’t done a Fast Talk episode on the subject of bike fit ever, Trevor.

Trevor Connor 03:34
Yeah, that surprised me. Last night getting ready for this, I went back through all my Villa news articles, I went through all our episodes of Fast Talk. To find what we had said about bike fit in the past and we don’t have one.

Chris Case 03:45
Yeah, it’s amazing.

Trevor Connor 03:46
Never done it.

Chris Case 03:47
We have touched upon it here and there. But today we’re really going to dive into this subject. It’s so important. We’ve got- I’m gonna say it.- We’ve got three of the great minds in cycling gathered in the studio with us today. Dr. Andy Pruitt is the Director of Sports Medicine here at Fast Talk and one of the pioneers of the study of cycling biomechanics. He’s currently building out a number of workshops and articles on our website about the topic of bike fit, so check those out as well.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 04:20
Thanks, Chris it’s always great to be here.

Chris Case 04:22
Our next guest has appeared on Fast Talk many times before, and he also continues to host his own podcast, cycling in alignment. Of course, I speak of Colby Pearce. Hi, Chris.

Colby Pearce 04:33
Hi Chris, Thanks.

Chris Case 04:35
You’re welcome, Colby. And we have the co-founder of Retool a technology I’m sure most people out there know Todd Carver. Welcome.

Todd Carver 04:45
Hi, Chris.

Chris Case 04:46
So, bike fit. It’s a big subject. One of the things that’s really interesting about bike fit is there are multiple ways to do things. There’s philosophy, philosophy informs methodology informs some philosophy. I want to maybe start the conversation with that question, what is your philosophy, and Dr. Pruitt, I’ll start with you. You’ve been doing this since the late 70s? I guess you would say.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 05:19
Probably longer than most of your listeners are old.

Different Philosophies Of Bike Fit

Chris Case 05:22
I was born in the late 70s. So you’ve been doing this a while. Tell us about your philosophy.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 05:29
Well, I see in the outline, you said, could I explain my philosophy in one line?

Chris Case 05:34
Yeah, try

Dr. Andy Pruitt 05:35
So I will, but then I won’t stop. My one-liner,- I think it’s well known in the industry- is I think the bike needs to look like the rider. But you got to give that a little deeper thought. And I think that if I think about my first early bike fits, they were done in the athletic training room at the University of Colorado. So my mindset at the time was solving injury problems, right. So if I watched a football game, and I saw a guy get hit, I knew what ligament he tore, before he hit the ground, and I was on my way to him. So that’s really how I studied sport. So when sore knees etc. Started to show up in my training room, I attacked that sore knee in the same way I tried to watch them ride and figure out how they got hit. Like what caused that knee to hurt. Was that the bike’s fault? Or was it their fault? So to make the bike look like the person, you really have to think about the brain, the central nervous system really coordinates this whole thing. It’s the respiratory system- the cardiorespiratory system- and the neuromuscular systems they are all coordinated, right? So bike fit really is a place where your respiratory system can work efficiently. And your neuromuscular system can work without compromise. And compromise usually leads to either bad performance or injury. So that’s how the bike ends up looking like the rider. That is one long sentence.

Chris Case 07:01
Very good, I didn’t hear any punctuation in that sentence. So

Dr. Andy Pruitt 07:05
Period.

Chris Case 07:06
There you go. Colby, tell us about your bike fit philosophy.

Colby Pearce 07:15
For me, bike fit is about balancing a couple of different tensions, we’ll say. On one side of the spectrum, we have the physiology of the rider how they present to you at that moment. Do they have an injury history? Do they have postural tendencies? Do they have habits on the bike? How is their posture on the bike? How’s their posture off the bike? What are their muscle tension relationships? What is their mobility? What is their strength? Had they been training in other mobilities? What is their sports history? Do they come from Greco Roman wrestling or American football? Most of the time cyclists didn’t go down that pathway first, or tried it very early and discovered they weren’t in that channel and up in cycling instead. So you have to consider all that. And then on the other side of the equation, we have what are the demands of their event? Are they training for GranFondo? Are they just trying to be more fit? Are they training to win the Colorado State Control championships, all very different demands? So you have to kind of put those two in a pile and a lot of times they can be sort of opposed to each other diametrically opposed. So you have to evaluate where’s the rider now? And where are they trying to go? And then the bike is kind of in the middle. And so we have to blend those things together and come up with an outcome. And for me, I’ll say that a big part of fitting that I’ll say I don’t see in a lot of other fitting methodologies. But I use that sentence very cautiously because of bike fitting- actually learn this from Todd, it’s easy to sit around at a coffee table or having a beer after work on a Friday and say Yeah, I fixed this other guys fit, fixing other people’s fits, right?- Fitting is a weird world because it’s sort of positively self-reinforcing in the sense that I have lots of clients who come to me and say, Man, you fix this, and I went to eight other fitters and they couldn’t do it. And then I saw you and it was amazing. So I get this happy, little positive spin-up of how great I am. But most of the time, most people are not very confrontational and they don’t prefer to come and slaughter you. Every once and a while you get someone who does that. But I know there are riders out there who I’ve worked with who my methods weren’t successful. And I don’t hear about that most of the time. I might hear about it roundabout, it comes around the rumor mill or whatever. But you don’t get a lot of that. It’s easy to be on this high horse and say I fix someone else’s fit. But I think that’s a very precarious place to put yourself. And we always have to respect other people in the profession and try to understand that we’re all doing the best we can to solve what is really ultimately, the most complex thing you can possibly imagine, the human body. It’s this infinite fractal of complexity and just the deeper you go the more layers you find. I think I imagine that other fitters at times don’t necessarily consider the context of education in fitting, I think that’s becoming more popular now. But I’ll say, an old school fit or maybe a less experienced fitter, might just sort of see a client, do some assessments, make some changes on the bike, and then send them out the door. But for me, that doesn’t equate to a service, that’s going to make sense, because if I change your contact points, if I change the distance from your saddle to your bars or saddle to your pedals or all the other minutia we can do, but then I don’t educate you about how to make power in that position, or how to sit with proper posture in that position, then you’re going to go out and do the same thing you did for the previous 30,000 pedal strokes, or 1 million pedal strokes, or however long you’ve been riding your bike in that position, and nothing’s going to make any sense. And you’re not going to understand it. So what I’m saying is, education is a big part of my fitting process. And that’s why my fits can take quite a while. Also, as you may have noticed I can talk.

Chris Case 10:58
You can take quite a while to make a point.

Colby Pearce 11:01
sometimes,

Chris Case 11:01
alright,

Colby Pearce 11:02
I’m a long-format kind of person.

Chris Case 11:04
Well, we’re going to get into a lot more of this stuff, too. So let’s turn our attention to Todd.

Todd Carver 11:10
I think in a nutshell, it’s less about me and more about the rider. So I think the most important part of the fit is the interview. And figuring out why someone’s in there. Because I think all too often you can get caught in your own world of how you want someone to ride a bike, how you ride a bike, what your preconceived notions are of what’s good, what’s bad. But the riders coming in your door, have totally different goals, they want to solve usually one or two problems. So really doing a good interview, sticking to the goals that the rider has in the session and addressing those. And if there’s something beyond that to improve, let’s make an attempt. But at the other hand, don’t force my thoughts of how I want to ride on other riders. Just try to help them.

Chris Case 12:00
Mm-hmm. Very good.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 12:01
You know, and if I can tidy this up being the old guy. I think we’ve all three said the same thing in different ways.

Chris Case 12:08
Yeah, I would agree.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 12:09
It’s really about the ridder and making them functional at a high level. Yeah.

Todd Carver 12:14
And also to add on this it’s very rarely a one and done thing for fit in the best- Colby, Andy, I know, you know this too- the best ones are the ones that either live in your town or are there for a little while, you can do an initial evaluation, do a quick data capture, or whatever you want, make some changes and get them out on the road or trail and get some feedback and have a follow up a week or two later. And that’s where if you do two or three sessions with someone, I think you arrive at a better outcome.

Colby Pearce 12:47
That’s such a good point.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 12:48
And you know him better to at the end

You Must Update Your Fit

Colby Pearce 12:50
You know him better. But also, there is maybe a perception between some of the consumers from the interviews I’ve done and the discussions I’ve had that bike fit is sort of a thing that’s like this is my saddle height. And, they tend to think that every dimension is sort of fixed. Once I get my archetypal perfect fit, that gets me every watt, then I lock that in stone. And every single bike I build from now for the next 50 years will have that same fit. But of course, that’s not the way it works for multiple reasons. One is the human body’s always adapting and evolving to its environment. It’s always searching for homeostasis. But one winner you lift a lot more and you do a ton of heavy compressive lifts like squats and deadlifts. And the next year, you decide weight training stupid and you just ride your bike more. And then the next year you decide cross country skis is the new sliced bread and you do that so your body always changes based on these and that impacts your physiology and how you present on the bike. But then, also, there are some aspects of bike fit that are very,- I would say, pretty firm recommendations from my perspective,- there are other aspects that are very much trial and error, wait and see, fluid, you have to say, Okay, I’m going to lower your bars on your mountain bike. And I want you to go on a trail section and try it. But here’s what you have to pay attention to. And then we’ve got these tiny five-millimeter spacers, you can go trail side into a 10-minute section of trail with a little dissent. Then you can lower it five mils and try it again and lower five mils and try it again. And you can come back and give me feedback. And then two days later, we can have a discussion about it and say, What did you observe? Did you find a breaking point where it was like better, better, worse, worse, worse? Did you fall off a cliff? Not literally just in terms of sensation, hopefully not. So there are aspects of bike fit that require trial and error. Another perfect example is saddled. If you put someone on eight saddles in a session, they pick what they think is the best one. Then you send them out the door and say go ride this for three days. Come back and tell me, here’s what I want you to observe about saddle nose angle. If it does this, we need to go a little more nose down. If it does that we need to go a little more nose up. If you feel this, we might need to go one size narrower or whatever. And then they go ride for three days and come back. So I mean you bring up a point that’s- like I have people fly in to see me fits- and I often encourage them to stay for a couple of days if they can and go right over the weekend and come back on a Tuesday and check-in. And that’s the best-case scenario. It’s not always possible, obviously.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 12:52
I always have my out-of-town patients be seen on Friday, that way they could spend the weekend in Boulder, and I’d seen back on do the follow-up on Monday, and they got written all weekend. But I want to touch on a couple things that Colby said that are really connected. One is don’t throw the previous bike fitter under the bus. And I’ll tell you why in a second. But the real reason is that bike fit is like an x-ray it’s one photograph of that individual and their bike at that moment, and how they evaluate it at that moment. And it could be different tomorrow. Right? How they slept, the bed they chose, who they slept with, odd bed, blah, blah, blah, so the not throwing the previous fitter under the bus because you’re seeing a different person.

Chris Case 15:33
They might have been quote-unquote, right at the time.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 15:50
Yes, of course,

Chris Case 15:50
Right.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 15:51
And you don’t know what the person was thinking, you don’t know the input that the rider gave that other person at that time. So I have a great example, I had a patient that I had seen 10-12, maybe even 15 years ago, and fit him. And in a big chunk of time passed and he went through, having AIDS, he had leukemia, he had significant weight loss, he was trying to get back on his bike. And he appeared in my office and we changed computer systems. And I’m thinking this guy looks kind of familiar, but had no previous record of it. And I’m going through his current fit going through his exam, I am thinking God who fit this bozo. It was me. So like I said, don’t throw the previous Fitter under the bus because you might get hurt. Yeah, it was me. And he was such a different person at that time.

How Has Bike Fit Evolved?

Trevor Connor 16:43
I remember having an athlete call me quite annoyed and upset because I had told him to go to CU sports five years previously to get a bike fit. And so he was calling me because he got a new fit. And they’re like, Well, this is all wrong for you and changed it. And he’s like, You told me to go to CU sports, it was all wrong. And I said it’s been five years.

Colby Pearce 17:06
You’re different human.

Trevor Connor 17:08
Of courses, it’s not right now.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 17:09
They think they paid a couple 100 bucks, therefore it must be the gospel. You know, it’s not.

Trevor Connor 17:14
So I have a question for all of you. I had my first bike fit in the 90s. I remember this, I was living in Boston, there was a big bike shop there. And people are like, Oh, you have to go get fit, and I’d never even heard of being fit on your bike prior to this. So I went to this bike fitter it was actually pretty expensive. And basically, he had a plumb line. He had his own philosophies on how bike fit worked. He had not been trained, and this is not a dig on him, there was no training back then. So my question for you, because I have certainly experienced completely different bike fits since then. What has changed what has happened with the science of bike fits since those early days?

Dr. Andy Pruitt 17:59
Well, I’ll start because I was the early days. I mean when I started there were less than five true bike fitters in America. And most of them were European-based and using numerical formulas, which we’ve now basically thrown out the window and made our own formulas. But at least our own formulas are based on some science and some fairly deep databases. But we were really flying by the seat of our pants, you know, the Italian cycling Bible published by the Federation at the time, I think it’s published 1976 basically said, here’s how you should ride a bike and it was a description of how their best Italian racers sat on a bicycle, long, low the whole thing. And then there was two other chapters about all the difficult things about bike fit, back pain, saddle pain, anything, with absolute zero solutions. Here’s all the caca that’s going to happen to you.

Chris Case 18:56
caused by putting you in a position like these pros.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 19:00
and that was the Bible that everybody used. So we started from there. I have my beat-up copy. And I think it’s gone through- I mean, I’ve got an undergraduate degree in anatomy, a master’s degree in sports medicine, a doctor degree in public health, education. -I think that’s what’s happened. I mean, I think Colby’s well educated, obviously Todd’s well educated. I think the true high-end bike fitters in the world now have a solid understanding, if not a formal education, of how the human body works on the bike. That’s what has changed.

Chris Case 19:40
Todd, maybe since technology is now a big part of bike fitting, and it wasn’t when Trevor was sitting there with a guy with a piece of string and a plumb line no offense,

Trevor Connor 19:52
This technology. So I’ve done the 3D Bike cameras with you, his technology was he would just walk around me crouched down sit there, stroking his chin for a couple minutes, and then just kind of go aha and then walk over and make a change. That was his version of the 3D camera.

Colby Pearce 20:07
That sounds kind of like my method, actually today.

Todd Carver 20:10
I think though, what’s changed is, a deeper understanding or a better understanding of what affects your performance. So your power and your efficiency and your aerodynamics, when back in the day, everyone thought, if you want to go faster on a bike, you put longer cranks on your bike.

Colby Pearce 20:30
Oh, yeah,

Todd Carver 20:31
Things like that, right? Wherewith the advent of technology, and being able to record this stuff, and more people doing it, we kind of broke down some of those myths. And now we’re actually putting people on shorter cranks on their time trial bikes, rather than longer ones. On all their bikes. So I think it’s stuff like that, that’s changed. We just understand performance a little bit more now. And we all learn from each other. and there’s a lot of data out there to reference and break some of the old myths.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 21:03
Some of the old equipment, Trevor, was so hard to adjust. Think about the old quill stems, all you could do was go up and down.

Colby Pearce 21:10
Wait a minute, wait a minute, but what about today’s modern stems?

Trevor Connor 21:12
I was gonna say

Colby Pearce 21:13
Like integrated hydraulic cables.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 21:14
Woah, well the integrated bar stem,

Colby Pearce 21:17
right?

Dr. Andy Pruitt 21:18
Yikes

Colby Pearce 21:19
Bike fit nightmare.

Trevor Connor 21:19
My brother bought a bike where to raise or lower the handlebars, he had to take it to the bike shop. Couldn’t do it himself.

Colby Pearce 21:26
That’s most modern bikes now to be honest. It’s a couple of hours to move your bars,

Dr. Andy Pruitt 21:30
We’ve gone through this big wave parts, such as crank arms should be part of a bike fit process. Right? I mean they are fitting tool they’re not a performance tool.

Chris Case 21:40
Coby, you said something after Andy had said what he was saying there. And you were like, well, that’s kind of how I do it. – or maybe it was what Trevor was saying.- A friend of ours actually once described your fit process as taking one of those sticks that bends, based on what the weather is about to do?

Colby Pearce 21:41
A divining rod?

Chris Case 21:42
Basically, yeah.

Chris Case 21:44
He said that, Colby basically just takes the stick and he goes around your aura bends in different ways and that’s how he does his fit. So I want you to, obviously, that’s not what you do.

Colby Pearce 22:20
no, that’s it. That is pretty much it.

Chris Case 22:22
Why didn’t you say that was your fit philosophy? That’s much shorter.

Colby Pearce 22:27
Because I talk too much.

Chris Case 22:29
But no, let’s take it a little further. How much are you using technology? How much are you using experience in your eyeball?

The Complications Of Bike Fit

Colby Pearce 22:38
Right? Yeah, I would say I’m heavily reliant on eyeball. And there are a few reasons for that. But I gotta rewind for a second Todd what you said about myth. I think that’s super important. How I described it- I actually did a podcast on this recently, I think I titled it something that’ll probably upset some people, something like 99 Italian myths about bike fitting that need to be assassinated. Was my title that aggressive?- but it’s true, how many of them can we think of like, there’s the usual the length of your forearm to go from the tip of the saddle to the stem, there’s the fist from the saddle bar drop, there’s the point the rear bar at the rear brake. Which when brakes A) used to be on high on the frame and B) frames were made with level top tubes. There’s like 85 more of them. And there’s like three or four that are actually like, yeah, most of the time, this works out. The handlebar, front hub thing that one actually works, right? But 99 of them need to be assassinated, as I said. So it’s a good point. And also, I’m just going to dress this to save you guys like 18 paragraphs of forum questions. Here’s the bottom line Cliff Notes on crank length. The old myth of them is longer cranes equal more power Because you have more torque. That’s like a third-grade way to look at what’s a PhD level problem. You can skip all the steps in between if just know this 99.8% of all riders need shorter cranks, the 0.02%, I would say,- tell me if you guys disagree or agree with this- the 0.02 who are justified in possibly pushing the envelope on crank length are if you get paid to ride your bike, and you’re trying to win the Volta, because at that moment, the Volta every year has half a dozen finishes that are at 25% gradient. And at that moment, every single rider will go faster when they’re out of gears going at maximum pace, on a really steep climbing, and the demands of their event are heavily torque dependent. Right then, the longer crank you have, the faster you’ll go. But you have to drag that long crank length around for all the other 18 stages before you got to that point in all your training rides and for 99.8% of all riders. That just causes a truckload of problems.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 24:39
The caveat is the tall guy.

Colby Pearce 24:41
Yes.

Colby Pearce 24:43
Yeah, that is a good point.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 24:45
100-200 millimeter crank, right? Yep, those guys are out there for sure.

Colby Pearce 24:49
They can make that work and that could be a good advantage.

Todd Carver 24:52
But if you go off of the data in that your optimal crank length is 20% of your leg length. Everyone’s on too long of lengths.

Colby Pearce 24:59
Way too long cranks especially like the five foot five Colombians. Yeah, they’re way too long. Yeah. So that’s not the right way to look at the problem. It’s all about pelvic stability and SI joint

Todd Carver 25:10
Like I said, crack arm lenth is a fit tool not a bike tool.

Colby Pearce 25:12
Yes, well said.

Trevor Connor 25:13
So why are people on to longer crank?

Colby Pearce 25:17
Tradition. and Because they haven’t assassinated these myths

Trevor Connor 25:20
I’m actually asking the physiological question of why should a lot of people be going shorter? What is the issue with a longer crank?

Colby Pearce 25:27
Increased patellar shear is one right? More acute hip angle at the top of the stroke, which a lot of riders struggle with, right? It’s just the same thing as going in the gym and squatting past the point of the wink. Or when the sacrum decouples from the lumbar spine. So you ride around that position all the time. And you’re pretty much guaranteed to have strain on the ligaments of the posterior spine and strain on the lower lumbar musculature.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 25:49
It’s a far slower cadence with a longer crank arm, which again leads to the patella shear.

Colby Pearce 25:54
But with a bigger circumference. So increased neurological demand. People don’t understand when you increase your crank length, you’re increasing the radius of a circle. So if you keep your cadence the same, you have to produce the same amount of force over a bigger path, but with increased foot speed. So every time you increase your crank length, it’s like a triple-down on demand for the athlete. So it adds up unbelievably fast. That’s why when you even go five Mills, the difference is actually quite large.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 26:21
And you have to measure the top and the bottom. So it’s double.

Colby Pearce 26:23
right.

Chris Case 26:24
The question I was gonna ask you say 99.8% are riding too long of cranks?

Colby Pearce 26:30
Yeah,

Chris Case 26:30
How much is too long, if they dropped from 172.5 to 170. Would that be enough?

Colby Pearce 26:37
It is a case-by-case basis. But you know, when you look at someone who comes in and you’re watching them from the posterior view, meaning #I film butts for a living, right? Because no one can see their own butt when they ride a bike a bike. So you show them a video of their hips and they’re like, huh, who’s that?- like, you know, do the shorts make my butt look big?- But we’re looking at the stability, the SI joints and whether or not one or both hips has excessive motion in any given plane, right? Transverse, sagittal, etc. So we’re watching this and when someone’s got this huge lever at the bottom of the chain, right at the distal end or the feet, they’ve got these 180s or 175s, or whatever they’re pushing, the chance of you keeping a stable pelvis are zero, or they go down. So the question becomes, what is the person’s injury history? Do they have chronic low back pain? You know do they love to climb and do five-hour rides with tons of steep climbs, like we have here- super Flagstaff, half-hour climb, average, whatever it is 8% percent,- if that’s their style, that’s their demand, but they’ve got chronic low back pain or chronic knee pain, and everything else is tidy, cleats are in the right place, you know, ect. You look at it and you go, Well, your crank arms are causing this struggle for you to generate the leverage you want to generate at a high torque situation. So you have to make a judgment call. And unfortunately, just like you pointed out, Andy, it should be a fitting tool, but it’s not, especially in modern bikes, because the industry has just destroyed with a nuclear bomb. Any capacity for easy equipment change. It used to be was it NGS Foursquare tape or a Campy? It can’t be that was it, You know, those were your two crankarm options. Now there’s like 8 billion bottom bracket standards, so we can’t just say, go try these 165 for a week, not very easily, not without a ton of time and expense and mechanics. So you have to use your fitter crystal ball and go, okay, look at the science and say, You’re on 175s. I’m quite certain you’re going to feel good on 170s and then inevitably get the email, well I can’t get 170s, but I can get 165s, should I go to those? And I just have to be honest, look, everything I see says that there’s a really good chance you’re going to be happy on 165s. Assuming you put your saddle in the right place once you get those on. Most of the time I think there’s two riders that don’t do well when they go shorter. One is that old school person who just loves to cruise along at 72 RPM and really muscle the gear and their hips might be annihilated. And they might have all this core challenges.

Chris Case 27:08
Trevor is rasing his hand.

Colby Pearce 27:44
Well, they might be working to getting up to 72 RPM.

Colby Pearce 29:12
Yes, they might have trouble with it.

Todd Carver 29:13
But you guys asked for a number, and by my calculation the average rider on each sized bike is over cranked by about two to five millimeters. Okay. Yeah.

Trevor Connor 29:25
So industry standard, except on really small bikes. They come with 172.5. Is that too big?

Dr. Andy Pruitt 29:33
above 56? That might come with a 175

Todd Carver 29:36
For a rider riding a 54? The average rider riding a 54 That’s too big. Yeah,

Dr. Andy Pruitt 29:42
Yeah. So this is a really good example of where the fit bike with an adjustable crank arm length comes into play. Yeah, instead of fitting them on their bike. We put them on a fit bike which has adjustable crankarm length. That’s a really good place for that tool. Todd and I are spoiled from protein camps because we’ve got a mechanic stand there with a multitude of crank arms ready to go, right? I think these are done, and my second one is done. It is like a NASCAR pit stop and boom, he’s got shorter cranks. We’re very spoiled in that situation, in Colby’s situation, and Todd’s in the clinic. Thank God i’m retired.

Chris Case 30:17
You don’t have to deal with that problem anymore.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 30:19
But to me, that’s a really good place for the fit bike, if you’re not in the protour situation where you got to mechanic stand there with a multitude of crank arm lengths.

Todd Carver 30:27
And you also asked, what is the downside of too long of a crank? I know a lot of people think it’s efficiency loss, but according to the data, its power loss. So you will lose the ability to generate peak power, which every rider does. You don’t have to be a sprinter coming out of a corner. Anytime you’re accelerating, you’re better off with the right size crank rather than one that’s too long.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 30:51
So why isn’t that done? You work for a bike company?

Todd Carver 30:54
I do

Dr. Andy Pruitt 30:55
You should do something about this? I mean, don’t engineers come to you? I know the answer obviously.

Colby Pearce 31:01
First of all, no one can get crankarms right now anyway.

Trevor Connor 31:04
You can’t get anything right now.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 31:05
But Todd does have the ear of the product managers at a big company. So what’s it take to get them to listen?

Chris Case 31:17
What’s your data?

Todd Carver 31:18
Yeah, they do want data because they’re smart people. And that’s it they don’t just want my opinion, they want support for that. So we do have that data now and we are starting to make changes.

Dr. Stephen Seiler 31:36
Hi, I’m Dr. Stephen Seiler. I gotta tell you, it’s a thrill for me to have the opportunity to go in and see a whole collection of my lectures and webinars all in one place, free of charge for the members of Fast Talk and the broader sports science world. And not only me, but other sports scientists have collected their work in Fast Talk Laboratories is presenting it for all of you to use and learn from every day.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 32:12
This will be well known Todd is the head of human performance for specialized bicycles and S-racing their pro tour arm so he works with the best of the best.

Todd Carver 32:21
I worked for Colby, just for the Garmin team.

Colby Pearce 32:24
Yeah, the Garmin team was cool I learned a lot there.

Todd Carver 32:26
We did many fit camps together and learned from each other.

Colby Pearce 32:30
Okay, I gotta tell the story. You get ready for storytime?

Chris Case 32:32
Yeah.

Colby Pearce 32:33
Okay. So I won’t name the rider but famous rider on the Garmin team who had won lots of really big important races. And we’re doing the fits, we’re standing there. And to be fair, Retail was a sponsor of the team that year, if I remember correctly, so you were there with Ivan. Yep.

Chris Case 32:50
Ivan O’Gorman?

Colby Pearce 32:51
Yes, thank you. I was there as a technical part of the sport science team. But also it’s just like any World Tour team except you know, Sky OS like pretty much any other team people wear multiple hats.- So they were like, hey, you’re not out in the car following riders around today. Come to the outfit. Okay, cool.- So we’re standing there. And this rider gets on the trainer, and I’m watching him pedal. I’m looking at him for a second. I’m kind of second-guessing myself. And then I realized my jaw was on the floor. I went to Todd I was like, Am I mistaken? Or is his saddle like not even in the right zip code? It was like 35 mils too high was my rough thumb guess. And this is a person who’s like I said, paid to ride his bike, Rode his bike a lot and won some really important bike races that you have definitely heard of. Todd’s like, yeah, man. I’m trying to get into lower his saddle for four-season.

Chris Case 33:17
I think I’ve heard this story. I know who you are talking about.

Trust Your Bike Fitter

Colby Pearce 33:46
Yeah. And it just goes to show you this is one of the Italian myths about bike fitting, -or I’ll say one of the more common myths- is people watch bike races on TV, they watch what the pros are doing. Right? And they go, but this person rides like this. So therefore, it’s what I should aspire to.- And I’ll just do my best to dispel this at the moment. Love to hear you guys commentary on this- But, look, if you’re watching bike racing, just because someone’s winning a bike race at the world level does not mean that their position is optimized or that their biomechanical function is optimized, or that they are any sort of example of what you ought to strive to ride like or be like, their posture, the way they make power. You got to understand like to think two ways to break down that misconception. One is these people are either the super freaks of all humans, and you could put them on a tricycle and they’ll still win races at a really, really high level. They’re just that much of an exception. And you can’t believe how much of a high level compentator some of these athletes are. And then the other side of it is these athletes just have enormous aerobic engines and capacity to produce power aerobically, but everything else is a complete junk show and they’re held together literally by super glue and duct tape and they’re barely hanging on and every day, they’re in the massage room for an hour. And then they’re seeing their team physio or their Cairo and they’re doing foam rolling and upside down yoga in their room or whatever they’re doing to try to barely keep it together. And then they still occasionally win a bike race because they’re incredibly determined and their body is paying a massive price to that. But you shouldn’t infer just because they’re performing at that level that they’re any kind of example or model to strive for.

Chris Case 35:23
I think that- just to chime in. -I think that that’s true, not just for their bike fit, but for their training, too. And we talk about that on the program all the time.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 35:23
I love the client that comes in with a picture from the magazine. And that guy is in a switchback, right? Putting out 500 watts. And he says, I want to look like this.

Chris Case 35:45
I want to look like a pro rider. Yeah,

Dr. Andy Pruitt 35:47
I mean, I can tell you dozens of stories about I want to look like this.

Trevor Connor 35:52
If you want look one look like that train for 30 hours a week for a couple years and then come back.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 35:56
And you have to be a genetic freak. Like Colby says, I mean, these guys are from another planet. When I first went to work with Bianna Reese, the very first time that somebody, an European team, was actually embracing having some fit advice. You’d ask the rider so what size bike do you ride? No clue. Here’s your bike, go ride it and they rode it. Right? I mean it was an endless story. They had no idea what size bike they rode.

Chris Case 36:25
Todd, you were gonna make a point. I think that follow up on what Colby was saying?

Todd Carver 36:28
I was just gonna add on to Colby. So I remember that session like it was yesterday. Yeah. And that particular rider and it was funny because he’d always come into the fit stand, even though he was going to do something different. But what he liked was, he would get the saddle height we would set and then raise it. I think he said 10 millimeters, but who knows. So basically, he used retool as a standard, and then just adjusted for himself

Colby Pearce 36:53
More is better

Todd Carver 36:54
But, every year he would come in and do that.

Todd Carver 36:56
And your jaw was on the floor right? Because, yeah, you had watched the rider ride, but never I think in the fit stand. Not in that detail, it was just yeah, holy cow. In the pros fit is a suggestion for them, and they take it seriously. But at the end of the day, if they’ve adapted to a different way to ride a bike than we think they should, they’re going to go ahead and make the change anyway.

Colby Pearce 36:56
Interesting.

Colby Pearce 37:21
That’s a good insight. I mean, you show up to a campus of fitter, you got about 30 writers to work with plus or minus right? You have to look at this mathematically. Like I think it’s easy for people to assume that when if the team sponsored by Retool, Todd’s gonna go and tell them all, this is your position and they’re dialed, that’s not the way it works at all. Most of these guys have already been riding their bikes for 10 years, maybe five years if they’re a young pro. And they’ve already had someone they’ve been working with a mentor, you got a ride from Portugal, who has his bike fit guru, you’ve got a rider from Australia, who has his or her bike fit guru. So they come to camp, they meet you at dinner the next morning, 10am their bike is there, you’re looking at them. And they maybe they feel a sense of a critical eye. They want to defend what their relationship they’ve had. They’ve been riding for five years successfully. They don’t want to mess with their stuff. But now the director told him you have to show for a bike fit.

Chris Case 38:11
So why should they trust Todd Carver?

Colby Pearce 38:14
Exactly, they just met you at dinner last night, they don’t know you from whoever, Tom, Dick or Harry. So it’s this relationship. This is also something I learned from you Todd, it’s about developing a relationship with a rider and assuring them that you don’t have an agenda, To change their stuff and be saying this is my way you have to do it this way or you’re a failure or you’re not going to be a good bike rider, you’re not going to make enough power. I mean, that’s not what any of us think anyway, I would gather but also, it’s not gonna be constructive to helping the rider ultimately, you’re just there to help the rider. And like you said be invisible in the interview.

Todd Carver 38:50
Yeah, right.

Colby Pearce 38:50
That’s something I learned from another mentor. When you’re listening to the rider, be present. Really listen to them don’t try to have your agenda about how they should look on the bike or what their STEM drop should be or whatever, you have really to listen to their problems and say what does this person need? How can I help them, it’s ultimately just about helping people, really we’re just glorified waiters.

Todd Carver 39:11
That’s right, And the success of a fit is trying to find that one thing that can help them and will hit home with them. and if you can make one little tweak or one little change to help them.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 39:22
You may have three on your list. right? Pick your battles, and you win that battle and next year, you get to win the next two. Pro rider or Joe Blow off the street.

Colby Pearce 39:32
Yeah, doesn’t matter. It’s same thing. Yeah, good point

Trevor Connor 39:34
This is an important lesson and I think one of our first take home for this episode, which is you do your research, find a good fitter, but if you are seeing a fitter, who has a reputation who’s well trained that you think is a good fitter, trust them. Remember the fact that our bodies don’t like change, even change for the better. You’re gonna have a negative reaction to it. So you’re not going to generally leave a bike fit get on the bike and go, Oh my God, that feels amazing. You’re gonna get on the bike and go, that feels weird.

Colby Pearce 40:04
And that depends on the situation. Sometimes people are sitting on a hatchet and they don’t know it, you put them on a different cell and their head explodes.

Trevor Connor 40:12
Yeah.

Colby Pearce 40:12
And they’re literally like I had no idea.

Trevor Connor 40:15
But the point that I’m making is trust the fitter, even if it doesn’t feel great initially. Give it time, ride on it, learn it, see how it works for you. Don’t go and pay for that $300 bike fit and then go yeah, I don’t think they got it right and jack your saddle up or do something else. Right?

Dr. Andy Pruitt 40:36
Sometimes medicine tastes bad.

What Is Bike Fit?

Trevor Connor 40:38
I want to take us a step back. I have another broad question for the three of you. And let’s get the broad answer. So it’s concise as possible. But the simplest question of this whole episode, what is a bike fit? What is involved in a bike fit? Is it just changing the saddle, change the handlebars and out the door? Or is there more to it than that?

Dr. Andy Pruitt 40:59
Well, if you go back to all of our philosophies, there is a whole lot more than that. It’s a global view. I said in one of our videos recently that if you’re interviewing potential bike fitters, and they don’t do a thorough interview, and pre-fit evaluation, don’t go there, period, don’t go there, save your money until you find a guy who has a reputation for listening for a thorough physical examination, then you proceed to the fit. And you may even get off the bike and continue that evaluation once they’ve seen you ride. So it’s a very global thing. It’s not just a satellite throw.

Todd Carver 41:40
You’re there to be their positioning coach, they’ve hired you to be their positioning coach. And yeah, sometimes it’s like a fastball right across the center of the plate, and you fix someone right away. And they’re just like, that was amazing, all my problems went away. That doesn’t happen very often. But it does. And other times, it’s very subtle. So you turn into a positional coach, and they’re contacting you if they want to get new shoes, and they’re like, hey, you know my biomechanics, what shoes are good for me? So you become this kind of resource for them. And also, I feel like a big part of fit is an inspiration. You can really inspire people to do more, during a bike fit and I learned this from one of the PTs at BCSM when I used to work for Andy. On the way out the door, he would always say, I expect big things out of you now, like Jeff Ghera. And I’m like, That’s awesome. And you know, he would get people to buy-in, and they would go out and improve, just because he inspired them. So as a bike fitter, you’re in a perfect position to do that. So I think that’s a big powerful part of being a fitter. And as a rider getting a fit, it’s getting the inspiration.

Chris Case 42:56
I want to plug the video you were mentioning Andy, all about the cockpit and its importance in bike fit. And that’s where you go into some more detail about the physical examination that you would do before a bike fit. So check that out on our website.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 43:10
Yeah, mainly, that was the small pieces of a physical exam that had a direct correlation to drop and reach.

Trevor Connor 43:18
Continuing with what’s involved in a bike fit and just getting back to the very basics of a bike fit. A lot of good fits are expensive, it could be 250-300 or even more than that. So a pro might get fit a couple times in a year. Most people might get fit every couple years. What is the right timing? Now I’m going to give you my advice. I see athletes that take their offseason, don’t touch their bike for a month, then first week back on the bike, go and get fit, which to me is the wrong timing to do it. So somebody says I’m going to get fit this year, but I’m only going to get one fit. When is the best time to go in.

Todd Carver 44:00
I would say my rule is anytime- well, you should always get fit if you’ve never been fit. But then when do you get fit again,- I say it’s anytime your bike or your body changes significantly. So if you get a new saddle, it might not be a full fit, but get into the fitter and get that thing set. New cleats, or new pedals. You crash, you get hurt, you get hit by a car. Yeah, so stuff like that, anytime your body or your bike changes, you should get refitted

Dr. Andy Pruitt 44:31
I’ll use myself, so as a young 30 something-year-old racer at a high level I had a criterion position. My job was to get the guy through the crowd and getting to the front in the last two laps. That was my job. So I rode really narrow bars and a really low front end and all on a teeny little bike to fit through that little hole. So then I move on to my next part of my career, which is, clinical medicine and, I’ve got 20 years of rolling around on a rolling stool and my body changed, right? So my stem kept getting higher and higher and higher. And Serato builds me this bike with this giant head tube extension on it and then I retire and my goal is to get really fit again. My position today is back to my 30-year-old position. I think bodies go through these career and life style changes. So yes, there’s injuries, but there’s just life that gets in the way of a good position sometimes, too. I mean, I wish people would just come in on an annual basis at a minimum. I wish it was a subscription and you got one fit a year or something.

Colby Pearce 45:40
That’s part of what Todd is saying, hopefully, when you have that initial fit, and you learn the person and you do the interview, and you’re taking good notes, then you develop that relationship. And then six months later, they’re like, Hey, man, I crashed and ruin my shoes. And those ones didn’t work that great anyway, what shoes do you recommend? You become a resource, and that is kind of your subscription, in a sense.

Chris Case 45:59
I’d never heard the term positioning coach before. But that is interesting. It’s a dialogue that continues. It’s not just,

Colby Pearce 46:07
It’s a relationship.

Chris Case 46:08
Yeah,

Todd Carver 46:09
As a fitter you need to charge- I don’t want to get into all that. But- you should charge enough to be able to do that.

Colby Pearce 46:16
Yes.

Todd Carver 46:16
Right. Because you don’t want to nickel and dime people every time. But if you charge enough upfront, then you can be a resource for them for the rest of the year.

Colby Pearce 46:28
ongoing. Yep. I would add to what you guys said about timing, I get this question a lot. In particular, you always get the July email, like, Hey, man, my whatever, my knee, my back is really bothering me. And so I kind of want to have a fit. But also, I’m racing next weekend, and then the subsequent six weekends after that, and then my peak event is in seven weeks. So what do I do? And that’s a great conundrum.

Chris Case 46:46
Yeah.

Colby Pearce 46:52
And there’s a couple of points to make. One is that first of all like you said, Todd, it’s very unusual. But, occasionally get the home run across the plate where someone comes in- Like, I had one woman whose back was driving her nuts, and she couldn’t figure it out.- Turns out is the simplest thing on the planet. I did 20 or 30 minutes worth of work with her, I’d already done an evaluation, so I kind of checked on some things looked at that, then measured saddle height. And then looked at our cleats, and one of her cleats had just twisted on the shoe by, 30 degrees, it was way off. I was like, Okay, here’s your problem. And I fixed her cleats. She was like, It’s a miracle. So okay, you get about one of those every four years, maybe. But most of the time when we’re talking about a knee injury or back injury, how long have you been dealing with that injury? How long has the cultivation of events led to that injury? Probably longer than you think. And so, changing your saddle height, or adding a footbed or a wedge probably won’t help, in some cases that can, but most of the time it won’t. But then also, you’re talking about a fit mid-season. If somebody comes in, and I think their positions way off, maybe they haven’t had a fit for a while, or maybe they’re just one of those mechanical train wrecks, and they’re saddled dropped 20 mils, they didn’t know it, or who knows what the circumstances are. And you’re going, Okay, you’re under high load right now, a lot of volume, a lot of intensity, you’ve got important race goals coming up. And I think we need significant changes to your position. There’s two ways to do it. One is go cold turkey, and make a prayer that things won’t explode. Because, as you said, Trevor sometimes even when you make a position that optimizes someone,- a change that optimizes their position,- there are consequences for that. Efficiency and power production, short term are one of them. But also you can even injure someone if their saddles are 20 mils too high and you lower it, even though it is a far better height for them to not have too much excessive knee extension at the bottom of the stroke, then they can have,- especially if they go hammering right away,- they can end up with interior knee pain,really quickly. So the second way to do it would be say, Okay, our goal is to lower your saddle 12 mils. And this is what I recommend to our rider back in Garmin camp is we’re going to learn the saddle in very tiny increments. I recommend about three mils per week. That’s kind of a good baseline, like three mils is enough to notice it, but most people will adapt to that curve. And if you run into a sticky point, pause, make sure you’re looking after yourself. Make sure you’re doing all the things to look after your soft tissue and then let things settle in. So big picture I’d love to see people annually, but if they have a significant life event that impacts their physiology, definitely time to go have a fit. If you get on a team and now you’ve got a new saddle and a new shoe and a new cleat. definitely time to go see a fitter and take all your old stuff, if that makes the fitters job easier. Fitting is holistic, and when you’re looking at someone holistically, it’s always about context. So people ask me that all the time I’m flying across the country do I have to bring a bike or do you have a fit bike? Well, yes, I have one. But the best-case scenario by far is for me to see you on your bike, I can replicate every dimension possible. I also have a fit bike with adjustable crank arms -to answer the technology question which was like three hours ago. I have one of those and it’s a very handy tool.- So I can do that. But it’s still not going to be your bike. It’s always best to see you in your native environment. How are you accumulating stress?

Dr. Andy Pruitt 50:02
Sattle wear, there so many little stories that tells you such a story. We kind of drifted into the medical versus performance. Right?

Trevor Connor 50:13
So let’s go into these questions. Okay?

Who Needs Bike Fit?

Chris Case 50:15
Wait a second. Wait a second now, Todd said something that I want to ask a question to. He said, If you haven’t had a bike fit yet, go get one. Does everybody, every cyclist need a bike fit?

Todd Carver 50:29
Well, I guess I say that because you could be lucky and be in a perfect position and have no problems and be the biomechanical 10. Right?

Chris Case 50:40
That is a phrase I have heard before.

Todd Carver 50:41
Yeah. There’s very few of those. So usually, there’s something that you can improve. So that’s what I mean by I think everyone should have a bike fit. And we get more and more of those riders in now. And those are the hard fits really, because when I used to work at the Sports Medicine Center for Andy we’d only get the train wrecks right? People had problems, right?

Colby Pearce 51:02
Land of misfit toys.

Todd Carver 51:03
Yeah, those are easy fits. Because you can always change something right?

Colby Pearce 51:07
And you can always help the rider.

Todd Carver 51:10
You can always help them. The hard fits are when people come in, and say I have no problems, I’m perfectly happy. I’m just curious about bike fit, and what it can do.

Chris Case 51:19
You’re describing me

Todd Carver 51:21
I am describing you, Chris. Yeah, that’s right. I think when you came in, I think we changed your saddle to millimeters. Right?

Chris Case 51:26
Yeah because you didn’t want to charge me if you didn’t change anything right?

Colby Pearce 51:31
that’s an excellent point, because the consumer has an expectation that you’re going to do some something, but sometimes there is no do to do. I saw you, Chris, I believe I made zero changes to your fit, we ended up having a conversation about tucking the head and the chin for aerodynamics and about pacing for your hour record. Right?

Chris Case 51:47
Right, yeah.

Colby Pearce 51:48
I was like i’m not changing anything. And, I would say it takes a bit of spine for a bike fitter to look at an athlete and do all their things and go, this is fine the way it is. We need to change nothing. And I’ve had that happen with a few athletes, but more women than men.

Todd Carver 52:03
Yep. I think your point is you should still charge because you’ve gone through the process. And you don’t pay by the millimeter.

Colby Pearce 52:11
Sure.

Chris Case 52:12
That was not my point. But to get into the consumer’s mindset, Hey, I just paid 300 bucks and he didn’t quote anything, right? That’s not the right mindset.

Dr. Andy Pruitt 52:22
you didn’t do nothing you assured them. And you did a full physical examination. No, no, no, you assured them. I think most people who flew across the world to see us, they are very satisfied to go home. You don’t need a bike fit, you need spine fusion, you don’t need a bike fit, you need an arthroscope, you need physical therapy. We’re going to leave this where it is, you know, that kind of thing. This is so off the mark but, we’ve said bike fit so many times. I think back to my early career, it was the athletic training room and you answered the phone, “CU athletic training” thinking this is stupid, we’re educated. I changed it to CU sports medicine. We were the first people in the country to change our training room name to sports medicine. The name bike fitter is so annoying to me.

Colby Pearce 53:10
It’s pretty antiquated. Yeah,

Dr. Andy Pruitt 53:12
It is so demeaning. I got eight years of college that is so demeaning. Right, you’re a biomechanist at a minimum. So when they come to see you and you charge them 300 bucks for a couple of hours or whatever the going rate is, they’re paying for expertise. Now if it’s Joe Blow, they just came off a three-day course and it’s his first fit, that is a whole nother story.

Colby Pearce 53:43
Yeah, you’re right. There aren’t as many letters we can put behind our names now.

Chris Case 53:47
there’s no hierarchy here.

Colby Pearce 53:49
Yeah, well, which skips ahead to one of the end questions. But how do you find a good fit or the resources?

Chris Case 53:53
Let’s save that.

Todd Carver 53:54
But back to the bike fitter thing. It’s the same with other professions. Like, my wife works for the oil and gas, she does communications. My kids think she works at a gas station. And when she used to work for the roads, there like oh you’re out there moving those barriers around. People don’t know so they just say bike fit. Yeah. They don’t know you’re a doctor. Right?

Trevor Connor 54:16
There’s another good point. Because I can tell you as a coach, I get asked all the time where I’m out riding with athletes. And they go, Oh, can you look at my fit? Is my fit good? So here’s the thing, If we’re out on the road, and I can look at you and see that your fit is bad, you are a train wreck. Most of the time- so anybody tells you Oh yeah, I can see what’s wrong with your fit while you’re riding together.- they’re selling you something, don’t trust that. So you don’t know whether your fit is good or bad until you go and see somebody like you who has that education and experience that can get you into the studio and take a look at you and as you said there’s always that risk that they’re going to look at you and go it’s perfect there is nothing you need to adjust but you can’t just tell that without a fit.

Chris Case 55:08
That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast and be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual. As always we love your feedback, join the conversation at forums.fasttalklabs.com to discuss each and every episode. Become a member of Fast Talk Laboratories at fasttalklabs.com/join to become a part of our education and coaching community. For Dr. Andy Pruitt, Colby Pearce, Todd Carver, and Trevor Connor, I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening.

 

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