Friday, April 6, 2007

True to Form

There's little that can compare to the feeling of being "bike fit".
(No, this is not a nod to the black art of body positioning.) Instead, "Bike Fit" is a term I use to describe a level of fitness your body reaches after 4,800 KMs or so. This level is different for everybody. For riders who are forced to face the changing seasons, this fitness usually arrives in late June or early July. Once the body has had a chance to adjust to miles in the saddle and you have put in the mandatory 1,600 KMs in the small chain ring or preferably on a fixed gear bike, your body begins to morph into a a cyclist's body. Higher cadences are possible, regardless of the gear you are trying to turn. While riding with a group, you're able to soft pedal and time your pedal stroke in a way that requires no brakes (no matter how squirrelly your riding buddies are). The feeling becomes intoxicating and allows you to reach a level of fluidity. Seth, from Zonebaby, wrote an article describing this type of feeling. His thoughts center more on the messenger vibe than the straight-up road cyclist, but this sensation is the same in any form of the cycling discipline.

The sensation that strikes me most when I reach "bike-fit" mode is how my position on the bike seems to change. By this I mean, my machine becomes as stable or responsive as I want it to be. The way my body sits on top of the machine changes, too. The top tube feels shorter, the bars seem higher, and the seat feels lower. The muscles in my legs, lower back, upper back, and neck are all working together and functioning in a fluid, supple way. It is this type of fitness that allows the true PROs to descend mountain passes at 95 kph, while drinking from a bidon.

It seems funny to reflect on this fitness in April, but I'm beginning to log the miles and I am looking forward to reaching fitness. But like I mentioned in my article Hunkering Down, part of the fun that comes with the fitness is the work required to get there.

In season's past, I begin to feel this form come on in July, just as the summer temps begin to soar and the group rides are at their fastest.

Until then...

Photo courtesy cyclingnews.com

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

So true.... Especially about the way the bike feels. Everything is easier. Flanders this weekend, alllrighhttt.
Erik

Anonymous said...

That is so funny you mention this on BKW today. Me and Krack'swell went to the first training race of the season last night and my form is coming around and saw a glimmer of mid-summer fitness, albeit a short glimmer. The new machine is P-R-O.

Mike said...

Is it just me or is that pic photochopped? The bike looks a bit tiny...

Radio Freddy said...

Mike - The photo is untouched. That is the beauty of it. It really captures the feeling of mid season form.

Serge said...

Only just now discovered your blog. What a shame. The 'only now' aspect, I mean. Have been cycling for some time now, but never to the extent of reaching the fitness levels you describe. Guess I should turn up the number of kilometers. Let's make that a late new year's resolution. :-)