Ah, performance. Everyone is trying to get an advantage. Obviously it starts with great fitness but short of that its enjoying yourself on your bike and when having fun, ensuring that every pedal stroke has meaning and is putting all of what you need behind it. Nothing wasted. To ensure that, you need to be properly 'fit' for the bike. There's more to it than just ensuring your stand over height is 'seemingly' correct. And further, its WAY more than just being fit when you are sitting there...static...on the bike. You move...and the bike moves. Dynamic. To be fit with THOSE dimensions in mind is key.
Over dinner at our dear friends house this weekend, my bud, marketing guru and fellow bike geek Ted of Anthem Branding here in Boulder mentioned that he was getting a fit for a new bike he received by Todd Carver. "Hmm. Really?" I say. Looked like a perfect opp for a "5 Questions With". Todd now is involved with a company known as Retül (say: re-tool) which is applying mad science and technology to work with cyclists of ALL types (from Pro racers to daily commuters) to make their riding experience better....where 'better' may mean better performance, less pain and fatigue....ultimately more a more enjoyable ride.
At 11Am sharp I showed up to Boulder Cycle Sport, one of Boulder's premier shops which provide Retül services...and lucky enough to have Todd, himself, so close!...to watch what goes down on a Retül fit to help you learn more about it. Todd and I go way back as he and I love to throw the gauntlet at each other in cross races. My boy is "fit." Trust me on this. Today I learned a LOT of the reasons why....
M & C: Todd! First, congrats on all the excitement around Retül! Yet another Boulder success
story. You make me all misty eyed with your success. Can you fill me in on the genesis of Retül? When did it form as a company and what was the inspiration?
Todd: Thanks Greg. The product was developed by Cliff Simms, an engineer at Boulder
Innovation Group and fellow MTBer, and the cycling-specific spatial model and biomechanical analysis were enhanced by me. We have also teamed up with Franko Vatterot, formerly of CAT and TriDubai, for business development, marketing, and sales. The inspiration was to give more fitters access to motion capture technology so that more riders have access to a top notch, research level, biomechanical analysis in their home towns. We have also created an open-forum communication fitting network across the nation that is only possible with the collection of accurate, objective data. Old fitting techniques were too subjective. Motion capture, and maybe video someday, is the way of the future.
M&C: Bike fitting has been an artisan trade for what seems like centuries, mainly done by rotund Italians with gray hair, cigarette dangling from their mouth and a string with a weight on it as about the most scientific apparatus they have during the whole process. What do you think has been the single greatest milestone improvement in bike fitting in the last 25 years to improve an athlete’s performance?
Todd: Without a doubt, dynamic fitting. As it's name implies, dynamic fitting records data while the rider is pedalling under normal, physiologic loads. Simply put, we are fitting riders to ride bikes, not sit on them. When a rider transitions from sitting to pedalling, or when a rider transitions between workloads (power) and cadences, things change. And they change dramatically. Also, the motion of the pelvis and frontal-view knee tracking have been implicated as big players in the development of leg power and the diagnosis of overuse injuries. It does not good to record anything statically.
M&C: There are a number of fairly scientific methods now to fit a riders body to maximize performance. What makes Retül bleeding edge? Why should I opt for Retül versus other approaches as a cyclist?
Todd: There are two things here Greg. We, as a company, have two different business models. First, if a bike shop or physical therapy clinic want to purchase a system for bike fitting, there are other options. The other options are mostly video-based systems which offer great visual benefits to the fitter and rider. Hook up a video camera to the laptop and the rider becomes an image on the computer screen. That is called 2D. 3D actually creates a spatial model of the rider's TRUE 3D motion (through 3+ camera angles) and takes the recordings from that stick figure. 3D is known industry-wide as the gold standard of accuracy. Second, if you want to get a fit done and are deciding between options, you should not only factor in the technological capabilities, but you should choose a fitter that has a good reputation. As much as we hate to say it, some of the finer details of fitting is still an art. And there are good artists and bad artists. It usually comes down to how the fitter uses the technology, and interprets the data.
M&C: So Todd, assume I come into my local shop and get a Retül fit on my road bike. How does this translate to my mountain bike or my cross bike? Is it desirable to have specific fits per discipline and the equipment used for each?
Todd: Absolutely. Each position is different and all equipment will be different. More importantly, you will pedal each bike differently. Between a neutral road/MTB position and the TT position, we see HUGE changes in the 3D kinematics such as joint angles of the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow. Unfortunately for the rider, there is no good way to transfer the position between bikes other than actually fitting each bike. I guess that is good for guys like me.
M&C: OK, Todd, the ‘big’ one: Vervecken or Boom?
Todd: Well, I guess I have to say Boom.
Todd, thanks so much for being part of "5 Questions with!" I have learned TONS by watching your fit today with Ted and with the answers to my questions above. I am sure it'll help our readers!
Note the following as well!:
As Todd mentioned above, each discipline of cycling ranging from road to mountain to cyclocross requires a specific 'fit'. To supply the huge demand of 'crossers growing here in Boulder, Boulder Cycle Sport in conjunction with Todd Carver/Retül and Brandon Dwight will be offering 'cross specific fits this coming season. Stay tuned!
If you are interested in Retül and where this dynamic fit system is located near you, or perhaps you are a shop interested in providing this service to your customers, click here to find a dealer or general product/service info.