Comfort is King

by rchackman

What is most important for you triathletes and cyclists out there? Comfort on the bike? Aero position? Do you necessarily have to sacrifice one for the other?

When I started riding longer on my bike last season, I found that I would get pain in my neck and shoulders. Sometimes the pain in my right shoulder would be sharp and other times my neck would just constantly bother me once I passed the hour and a half or two hour mark on the bike. However, as soon as I would hop off, my neck and shoulders would stop bothering me almost immediately.

I fixed the problem by adjusting my seat forward so my torso would be closer to the aero bars.I no longer had pain after the adjustment. I must have been stretching in the areo position and putting pressure on my neck and shoulders. Adjusting my seat forward took away those pains.

With that in mind, I was wondering if I sacrificed my aero position and if this led to less speed on the bike? Also, I wondered if this changed the leg muscles I use on the bike and if it had an effect on my run?

I have read many times that I should NOT make changes to my seat position so near a race. However, I thought it was certainly worth taking the risk in my situation. I had about a month to adjust to my new seat position before my iron-distance race last season.

Moreover, I found I was seriously more positive on the bike. I went down to Homestead after I made the adjustments so I could roam the empty streets of rural Miami. The ride felt great! I hopped off the bike after a 5.5 hour ride feeling fresh and ready to go for a short jog. I did feel some twinges in new places while I was riding but otherwise my legs were feeling good. This has led me to believe that comfort is extremely important on the bike. Nagging pains can take a mental toll on a rider, especially when you have to get off the bike and run.

This year, I plan on getting a Retul bike fit before next season! This should help me find my optimal position on the bike.